Man, that race was not easy.
It didn’t even start out pretty. If anyone’s interested, you can lose a lot of fitness in three weeks. Like a lot. (I wouldn’t particularly recommend trying it). And the second half got even uglier when my back became super unhappy and was aching with every step.
But that’s not what this is about. It’s certainly NOT about persevering over pain or anything heroic-sounding like that, because I did not persevere. For real, this is the first race that I really felt like I could have quit- and I can almost guarantee that I would have if it wasn’t for Pamela. And no way was I in anywhere near the worst pain out there. Right after the race we saw a girl with her knees completely taped up. My friend Joe (who I hadn’t seen since 2005!) ran with the race with an ankle that had been hurting for weeks. For goodness’ sake, we saw a blind man. Running alone. With a cane. Come on, that’s awesome. That’s perseverance.
What this is about is the importance of friends- or more specifically, wonderful friends. I’m pretty sure Pamela didn’t drive 7 hours to run a race with me silently gritting my teeth 90% of the time. I’m pretty sure she didn’t plan on us having to walk for “just a few seconds” several times in the last few miles while she- literally- pressed on my lower back to take some of the pressure off (who does that? Amazing people, that’s who). I’m pretty sure she didn’t plan on having to walk me through some visualization exercise (“we’re on the trail through Georgetown. We’re coming over the Key bridge”) just to get me to keep running. She could have left me a million times over and it would have been more than understandable- expected, even. Instead, she put up with me at my worst and pushed me to continue and finish. The kindness of that almost brings me to tears- probably more than she even knows!
Anyway, the girl is awesomeness personified. No matter how many races I run I think I’ll always remember how my amazing friend was there for me when I was really sucking it up and just how much that meant and will always mean. I only hope I can return the favor in some small way one day although I hope I never have to at the same time!
For anyone who’s concerned, my back seems no more worse for wear than it was last week, so no permanent damage done. In fact, as soon as I got home and used the heating pad and took some ibuprofen (should have taken it before- forget that whole kidney damage situation- just kidding!) I felt like a new woman. So it’s still improving and I’m going to get back to yoga (core-strengthening and all) to hopefully avoid this happening in the future!