Patron Saint for Runners?

St. Sebastian Patron Saint of Sportsman
St. Sebastian

I was baptized as a Catholic, I was partially raised Catholic, I took Catholic Communion, but I am NOT Catholic. Why then, am I tempted to pray to Saint Sebastian?

It all started a few weeks ago. It was a frigid, rainy day in Sandy Oregon. I didn’t at all feel like running 8 long miles barefoot on the rough and icy streets, not only because of cold, but also because the city was doing roadwork, filling the streets with the infamous tiny pebbles I have deemed “pain pyramids”. The stone triangular spikes must have been formed in the very bowels of barefoot-runner hell.

After watching some Youtube videos, sitting in front of the heater, and pretending to myself that I was not procrastinating, I finally convinced myself to put on my running clothes and hit the streets. As soon as I shut the door, the skies did not open and the sun did not peak through revealing a lovely rainbow, instead fierce black clouds swarmed above, an arctic blast surged over me, and the first biting darts of sleet struck my tender feet.

For the first few miles, my hands trembled and I wondered what the hell I was doing outside, then I noticed that according to RunKeepr, my last mile was a two seconds faster than the previous mile. Even though I was miserable, the encouragement from runkeepr boosted my pace–at the very least running faster would get me out from cold dark clouds faster. Around mile 6, the nerves on my feet were telling me they needed more skin. I ignored the pain. At mile 7.5 I stepped on a slice of glass or a metal scrap or a rusty nail. But I didn’t stop because I had only half of a mile left! I would treat the cut later.

When I finished my run, I wasn’t all that shocked to see blood prints behind me. I could see my life juices swishing with the rain and swirling peacefully into the gutter. When I examined my foot, I didn’t discover a shard of glass or even a gash on my foot. Instead I gazed into the tiny hole I had run into it.

Luckily, I was able to bandage the wound and run comfortably with sandals. I even comfortably ran 10 miles three days after the injury. Unfortunately,  the bandage must have altered my gait because I developed a pain deep in my ankle. It felt like a sprain, but worse. My foot swelled so I decided to take it easy until it healed.

As soon as I got back up to 11 miles for my long run, I caught a wicked chest cold. Cough cough cough, no phlegm just a hacking dry cough and not even dreams of sleep for about three days. I rarely get ill, but this virus sneaked past my defenses.  Maybe that’s because I weakened them by running barefoot through a storm.

I am well again. I am once again on my feet. If I were to pray to Saint Sebastian for anything, I think I would ask him to protect me FROM MYSELF.

 

May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you live with ease.

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