This morning I did something I haven’t done in over twenty years. I woke up before the sun…to run! Nine others showed up to beat the heat at 6 in the morning. The temperature was already in the 70’s and the sun had barely shown her face. I was excited to know that I was going to push past my longest run to date and do four miles. The excitement of this run was turned around when I discovered that this run was NOT going to be four miles. The complete run was going to be eight miles. I wasn’t sure how I had gotten the information SO WRONG. I decided that since I got out of my bed in the dark and I was already there, I’d do the best I could. As we started our trek on the course I had never been on, I discovered something else. Not only was I going to attempt to push myself to a greater limit; I’d be doing so running across bridges and up and down hills AND stairs. I wondered what I had gotten myself into.
During the intervals, it seemed that every time I felt I couldn’t do any more, the two people in front of me would yell, “walk”. I wanted to hug them every time they said it, but my legs couldn’t move any faster to catch them. When I’d make it to a downhill portion, I was excited; until I realized for each hill I went down I’d also have to come back up. At four miles, i was happy for two reasons. 1. I had gone a further distance than all of my previous runs. 2. This was halfway and I wasn’t dead.
On the way back, there were signs indicating the distance to the finish line. At 1.5 miles I wanted to cry as I knew the only way back to the end was to keep going. At 1 mile to the end I cussed in every language as the 1 mile marker was at the bottom of the most ridiculous hill. After about 15 strides up, my legs felt like jello and I couldn’t run one more step. I walked briskly to the top…in pain. My legs hurt on the outside and my pride hurt on the inside because I just couldn’t do it. When I saw the .50 mile marker, I was excited to be near the end. But I was also nervous as i saw signs indicating that the stairs were near. I felt confident that the stairs would be easier to conquer than the monster stairs. I imagined myself doing a Rocky victory dance at the top. Just before I put my foot on the bottom step, I heard the call…”RUN”! I was certain that they deliberately waited to make this call when they knew I was at the bottom. Shame on those girls, They knew this was my first time. As I began my climb up, a passerby coming down cheered me on. She said, “Keep it moving. The top is closer than you think!” I was grateful for this friendly stranger. But halfway to the top….I WAS DONE! I walked up the last flights of stairs and thanked God for getting me there.
As hard as this run was physically and emotionally, I was glad that I went. 8.02 miles….I DID IT!