Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tests

While in the throes of running my hill circuit back in the Carolina Beach State Park Saturday morning, the thought kept popping into my fritzing brain "don't give up because it's hard."

I'm out there by myself. No one will know if I take the next one easy. No one will care. No one will question me. But I'm there. I will know. I will care. So I don't give up because it's hard. I ask God to help me get up the next hill and I go. I wail. I let it out. I gasp for air. I sometimes dry heave.  I have spittle all over my chin. I think about wiping it off but I don't. It's momentarily funny in a sardonic way that I should be concerned about appearances. I flash back to the end of a 5K six, seven years ago... a friend gently telling me I might want to wipe my chin.

I give thanks on the down hills as I count them off. I attempt to regain a brief semblance of control. But as I come back through the circuit a 2nd, and 3rd time...the periods of calm, the breaches in the storm, become less and less and less...

But I still don't give up because it's hard. Not today. Tomorrow?  I'll face those tests when they come.

I know what it's like to want to give up because it's hard. I nearly did and nearly gave away my life. I couldn't stop it. Not for a day. Not for an hour.

Close to ten years have passed. I'd like to think I've hardened a bit. At least in the running sense. Maybe it's all just one big test, broken into a series of smaller exams.

But they shape us. They shape us as people, and as runners. And hopefully make us stronger as both.