I bolt upright at the first sound of my alarm, adrenaline pumping furiously.
I fly into my clothes, quickly gather my hair into a sturdy knot, and begin lacing my shoes.
You can do this. It will be fine! Great cause. Good weather. Nothing to prove. And think of the personal fulfillment!
I inhale deeply, stomach churning.
Who are you kidding? What were you thinking?! You are going to die! People train for these things!
I exhale and set off for the race.
A couple stretches, a quick prayer--Lord, have mercy!--and the gun sounds. No turning back.
I break into a slow, easy jog. People pass me on both sides. Four miles of this? How will I ever make it?!
I turn up my music and fall into a steady rhythm. My rhythm. Left, right, left, right. Just keep going.
Just me and the open road. My calves begin to ache as I start up the hill. Stay steady. Focus.
Halfway now. A quick drink as I run past the cheering crowd. A quick smile as I pretend I belong. If you only knew...
Left, right, left, right.
Shirt drenched in sweat. Muscles screaming. Lungs burning. I consider stopping-- just for a little bit?--but then, from the sidelines, "You're doing great! Don't give up!" Maybe just a little further...
So close yet so far. Each step feels like a mile. Left, noIcan't/yesyoucan, right, butIhurt/justbelieve.
And just when I think I cannot go any further--
The final stretch. A roaring crowd. A finish line.
Praise the Lord.
A much-earned breakfast.
(With much-preferred company.)
A fresh perspective.
...More than worth it.