Sunday, July 27, 2014

Digging deep, deep down

I'd given up on my run when I saw them. I got up early -- just not early enough, apparently -- to run on the Gettysburg battlefields tour. It was supposed to be my version of a "rave run."

The forecast called for a little bit of rain, which I expected would cool me. Instead, it was hot, humid and the sun cooked my scalp.

My water bottle, nearly empty, called my name. But not as much as my car, parked about half a mile away. I was ready to quit. I'd run three miles. Schedule called for 10k. I was OK with half that. Right?

Did I mention I was hot?

That's when half a dozen Army soldiers in fatigues poured out of their van and walked toward a monument right in front of me. The oldest caught my attention. "Great day for a run, huh?" His words struck me. They almost shamed me. Here I was, decked out in some of the best wicking gear I own, water bottle belt around my waist and perfectly good shoes. They, in long sleeves, hats, boots. Working. For my sorry butt.

"Yeah, it really is a perfect day, sir," I managed to croak. He was obviously a runner because he kept looking my way with a look that said he'd rather lace up. One of the other soldiers was already going through the location's defensive strengths, the others taking notes.

Batteries recharged

So I ran. The whole 6.2 miles my plan called for. I didn't regret it, even as I struggled.

That's not the first time I've had to force myself to go "just a little longer." Or "just to that tree." Or even "just to that lamp post."

Sometimes running is plain hard. It would be much easier to quit. But I won't. Because not running is worse.

When I first started running, I just hated it. Then I hated it a little less, but I didn't really like it. I ran only because I could no longer do tae kwon do. Then I had shoulder surgery. And I had to sit the whole running thing out for more than three months. That's when I really fell in love with running.

It was all I could think of. I even joined a gym so I could run on a treadmill when the doctor reluctantly gave me the OK.

I usually think about those months when I'm having a particularly tough run. Today, I thought about those soldiers in their fatigues. And I prayed for their safety. I got my rave run, after all.


  1. Awesome! I love this post. I had a moment like this when I felt like I wouldn't make it to the finish line of a 10K race then someone fainted and race officials had to rush to her aid. There I was, still upright, still feeling relatively good. What was I complaining about. I put my head down, pushed forward, and finished the race that this girl probably wanted so badly to finish.

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Missy. I'll be thinking about those soldiers for a while. Wish I'd at least asked them where they're from!