Saturday, September 26, 2015

Send Me An Angel

Next Saturday, I'm running a 76-mile relay race with seven friends.

We're taking the day to trek from Omaha to Lincoln, Nebraska by way of shoving one person out of the car at a time to run 3-5 mile legs that slowly but surely get us to the finish line in roughly 10 hours.  It's a super fun experience traversing the landscape, taking in the sites, cheering your team mates on, laughing your ass off at the creative costumes and car decorations and then of course, the thrill of earning your free beer and band time at the end.

My contribution to the mix will be 11.7 miles and so, dutifully for the last several Saturdays, I've been running 10 miles to keep me in the game.

This morning was my last long distance training run and let's just say that it wasn't my favorite.

If we're being honest with each other...running is mother fucking hard.  Every runner knows that the battle resides in your head, not in your legs or feet.  You win or lose based on how you choose to keep pushing yourself mentally long after your body has decided that you're a fucking deusche for putting it through 10-miles of misery.

And after having done this for a bit, I've learned a few things about myself.  I don't like running in any form of heat.  My ideal run temp is 50-55 degrees.  I prefer cloudy or overcast weather and I play the shit out of my tunes. I wave at passer-byers, but overall, I try to drown out the world and sink into my own as I tackle the mileage.

This morning, I did everything wrong.  I slept in and didn't leave the house until after 10am.  I didn't eat enough.  I didn't drink enough.  I didn't hydrate from the wine I consumed the night before.  And after a long week, my body had nothing left to give.  But I refused to give up.  This was to be my last God damned long run before the race.

Until I thought, oh shit, I'm going to hurl up this hill.  I was literally half way up trying not to stare directly into the blinding fucking sunlight fiercely wiping the salty sweat out of my eyeballs, thinking please, please, please dear God...I can not do this...and then, I saw this old guy.

At first I was totally confused because this was blaring at gazadly loud decibals in my ears...

Then I realized that the dude was screaming at me...not a random behind me.  And I pulled an ear bud out of my left ear to hear...

"Let's go...Come on...Get after it...

You got it...Push it...Push it...

Don't stop...You're almost..."

And then I was, there.  I'd arrived.  To him.  At the top of the hill.  And he had a huge smile on his face.  And I don't know why he did it.  I got choked up because I really needed it and appreciated it more than he knew.  But also because he stopped and did something that no one does and made a difference.  He made an average, semi-shitty run, a positive experience for a crazy ass girl that he'll never see again...all because on a Saturday morning he decided to spread his contagious joy to me.

The rest of the run, I started thinking about how important it is to be an angel or at the very least a beacon of kindness for another.  It's so easy to do it for friends and family....but I think it means more when you do it for someone who will never repay you.  It's the deepest form of generosity.

And so today, in the middle of my Bieber bitch of a run...I got an angel in the form of an elderly man coaching my tired 40-year old ass to get the fuck up the hill because at the end of the day, both he and I knew I could do it, if I just believed.

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