Every year, my college friends and I get together on New Year’s Eve. Normally we just sit around and chat about our husbands, kids, work, etc. This year someone had the bright idea to move the conversation from what we normally would have discussed to setting a resolution. So instead of talking about what our husbands did not buy us off our wish list, how our kids are at times ungrateful for the things they have, or how our careers have added more gray hairs to our heads, we talked about what we were going to do differently in 2014. I was pumped. I was ready for the world. I had a list of things I wanted to do. I was anxious to hear what my friends had on their minds. My list included things like returning phone calls timely, spending more time with my parents, finding the next vacation spots for our annual girls’ trip, etc. With this type of list, I figured my friends were thinking like me. Oh no! There is always one out of the crowd who has to think in left field. This time it was Dana, the more sensible girl out of the group.
Dana has always wanted to exercise with the group. She really didn’t have a need (in her own eyes) because she’s naturally thin with a very productive, high functionally metabolism. In Dana’s world/mind, she thought of the bright idea that all her friends should run a marathon with her. She wanted to start small – just a 5K and then gradually more to a full marathon. We all groaned and moaned. We don’t mind running around the track a few times. We don’t even mind attending kickboxing class. Now she wanted us to run – like really run! We talked about the disadvantages of running – bad on the knees, bad on the back, it’s too cold. We tried to use every negative thought we could think of. It didn’t work. So of course we signed up for this indoor race. Dana thought we would be happy with the race being indoors. We weren’t! But we signed up anyways.
Every other day, Dana either texted or called to make sure we were training. I had my good weeks and my bad weeks with the training. She still texted or called. She just won’t give up. So I kept training – even when I did not feel like moving my legs and sweating like a hog.
We all met at the race. We even got there early to make sure we prayed. Husbands, kids, mothers were all present for our big day.
We stretched and stretched. We encouraged and encouraged. Then it was time to line up. We all looked at each other and at the same moment thought, “I can’t do this.” We couldn’t turn back. So instead we got in line and waited for our turn to go. Every two minutes another group of runners took off. Poop! People ran. We just looked. Poop! Another group ran! We just looked. Poop! Yeap, the next group ran. This was group ahead of us. Now my heart is racing and I am beginning to sweat. I look for a way to escape. There were too many people around me. Poop! Now I’m running. My friends and I are keep the same pace. We are not talking just running. Running! Running! That’s all we are doing. No one is talking. No one is looking. I stop. My friends look at me. I tell them I going to walk. Instead of staying with me, they tell me to go ahead and walk – they will keep running. I do exactly as they say.
As I am walking, I look around to check out my competition. I notice I have a sizable following behind me. But I really notice an older gentlemen who had a slight slant to his body. He was not running but more skipping. I was not worried about him so I kept my pace. When I got bored with the walking, I ran. When I was tired of that, I walked. I kept looking at my competition behind me. I always noticed that the older gentleman was not close to me at all.
As I neared the finish line, I began to ponder if I should run across or walk across. I turned around again to notice my competition. The older gentlemen had begun to catch up to me. He wasn’t running, just sort of skipping. In my mind I am thinking he won’t catch to me. So I did a fast walk – not an actual jog – I just quicken my pace. I looked up and noticed the finish line is ahead of me. Less than an 1/8 of a mile. I turn my head ever so slightly. To my amazement, the older gentleman is almost side by side with me. He could have stretched his arm and tapped me on the shoulder. That’s how close he was to me. In mind I was thinking I could not let this older gentlemen beat me. No way! I did what I should have done along, I ran. I mean I took off running like someone was coming to get me. I ran like there was a dog on my tail. I crossed that finished line as fast as I could. I was huffing and puffing. My heart was beating like crazy. The older gentlemen, who I would not let beat me, crossed the finish line in the same fashion he ran the race – skipping. He was not breathing heavily. He wasn’t even sweating. Amazing!!!
I learned a few things that day. The first thing I learned is how competitive I am. Watch out world!! More importantly, I learned it is not how you get across the finish line but that you get across the finish line.