I went out of my comfort zone this weekend; ran in a city I've never run in; signed up for a half-marathon on a whim a few weeks ago; and dragged the family out of town and on to new adventures.
It started as a sea of runners. As far as I could see behind and in front of me, runners were lined up, and we were jam packed like sardines for the first mile; all of our running heads bobbing in unison; our stomping and clomping of feet and ins and outs of our breaths; we were all running as one, and it was a sight, one I won't forget for a long time.
And the crowd thinned as it most often does; and my mind wandered as it most often does; and the thankfulness set in...because not everyone can do this; this running thing. I am one of the lucky ones; and I think where would I be without it? And I think how lucky I am that my family puts up with being dragged all over for the sake of a race; the getting up early to see me finish; the cheering me on; the earful they get afterward of me babbling on about this and that and during and before.
And then there was The Hill. And yes, I meant to capitalize The Hill, because it was one of the steepest, longest Hills I have ever run. Just when I thought I was done with it, becoming flat for a block, it inclined even farther, and then I thought I was really done and we turned a corner only to go up again. I had to dig deep; deeper than I ever thought I could; and I started chanting inside my head I will not walk I will not walk I will not walk and I didn't, but I got mad at that Hill, and may have sworn under my breath while my lungs and legs were burning in unison, but that Hill was not going to bring me down.
I compared that Hill to parenting, because that's what my mind wanders to when I run sometimes. Sometimes, when I'm ready to give up and call it a day and throw in the towel, because Holy Crap I can not clean up another glass of spilled milk today! I just dig deep and breathe deep and hunch my shoulders down and only look a few feet in front of me, because looking at the whole Hill is way too overwhelming...little steps, baby steps, until finally I'm at the top and I did not walk; I did not surrender. Hill? You've got nothin' on me today...and neither do you, spilled milk.