The Home Stretch: Finishing Well

I will let you all in on a little secret. I’m not a runner. The closest I’ve ever come to running a marathon was a 5k turkey trot one of my more fitness-keen friends convinced me to run with her during my freshman year of college. She said it would be fun, we’d take it easy, and it would just be a nice way to stretch our legs before the Thanksgiving meal. It certainly started out that way; when our group of runners was waived off the starting line there was lots of cheering and hoopla and nice shot of adrenaline that made me wonder if running might be kind of fun after all. Cut to two miles into the race. I am dying as I struggle up what I’m convinced is the tallest hill in the notoriously flat prairie state of Illinois. My friend, bored by my slow pace, has abandoned me. My lungs and legs are protesting, reminding me that I have not run more than a mile since my last high school gym class. Parts of my body are sweating up a storm while others feel like they are carved from ice.

Running. Outside. In Chicago. In November. This is not what sane people do for fun.

But, like it or not, I was out in the middle of an ice-covered forest preserve, and there weren’t many other options open to me other than carrying on that didn’t involve frostbite or looking totally pathetic. So finish the race I did, determined to at least it give it my all for a last sprint down the home stretch. It probably looked more like a sad shuffle to my cheering parents and obnoxiously unwinded friend, but it felt like a sprint to me. And, surprisingly, I crossed the finish line smiling. Had I already sworn on the life of my goldfish Fatty Lumpkin that I would never, ever run a turkey trot ever again? Of course. It’s a resolution I hold to even now, when Fatty Lumpkin has long since passed on to fish heaven. But it still felt really good to put everything I had left into that last sprint.

Here we are, at the beginning of June, the very last month of our Write 100 challenge. With so few days left, we really are entering into the home stretch, and I encourage you to do everything you can to finish this challenge well. I’m sure that you’ve had times during this challenge when you felt like you were running up the largest hill in the state on a frigid November day. I certainly have. But it’s time to put any exhaustion, disappointment, or reservation behind us and just go for it as best as we can for the few days that we have left. Push yourself for a last sprint, and give it all you’ve got. So much of what we remember about and take from challenging experiences is defined by how we finish them, so please. No matter if you’ve loved participating in this challenge, have sworn on the life of your pet goldfish never to do anything like it ever again, or are somewhere in the middle, take a deep breath, then go finish well. I’ll be shuffling along right beside you.

As always, thanks for reading.

Laura signature

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