I was supposed to meet her. Honestly I thought she was just eager because it was her first 5k, but when I checked the details of where we were starting I realized I had it all wrong. I thought the race started at 8:30am. It started at 8:00am. Uggh!! How in the world did I miss that? Failed before starting.
I arrived a little after 8am which would have been fine except there was nowhere to park. Even the obscure illegal spots were gone.
Once I finally made it to the 5k area I saw the Finish area but I didn’t see the Start area. I asked a friendly looking lady. “You mean the 5k we just finished?” I checked the time 8:25am. “That would be the one.” She pointed in the direction where a crew was busy dismantling the Start gate.
I run over and he radios ahead to let “them” know he has another one. He smiled and wished me good luck. Now this is where I had slight anxiety. There was no other soul in sight. It was 8:28am now and they would soon open the roads for traffic. I had no clue which way to go. Forest Park is huge, you take one wrong turn and you won’t be found until 2019.
I go. Rhythmic breathing and a steady pace. About a quarter-mile in I spot 3 ladies walking and I am over the moon. ‘Cause at least the 4 of us will be lost together. Once I am in sync with them I realize my pace is a little faster, I move ahead. Further up the road I see the tail end pack. Whew! I started last but I won’t be last or lost. I feel comfortable in my stride.
That’s when I notice this lady:
Tears came to my eyes. My God! Determination in physical form. She was MOVING. How awesome was that. I don’t know her. I stopped to take a pic because she was motivation in motion. Now I was fully bawling my eyes out. I don’t know her story but it involved losing a leg and she was giving it all she had. She inspired me to do the same.
I focused. Turned up my music and went for it. Just music and breathing. It wasn’t too bad. All of a sudden I could hear the announcer. That meant I was close to the finish. Once out of the straight away I could see the finish mark to the right but this dude was telling me to go up and over to the left. Torture. I just wanted to be done already. Some finishers were crossing in front of me. I just kept going. When I finally get to the turn of the finish line. One lady was cheering like crazy. I asked her the time. She yelled behind me – 9:08! WHAT? No shit?!
Unbelievable! I had not participated in a 5k in over 10 months and I had never completed one in 40 minutes. I was hyped and I was looking for the one-legged warrior to thank but I never saw her again. I don’t think I will ever forget her.
This morning I weighed and I am another 2 pounds down. A total of 9 pounds since the book signing.
“If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”- John Rohn
Until next time….