Welcome to my blog! As you can see, my blog is a lot like my thoughts: disjointed and random. It's all here -- the good, bad and the ugly -- as I try to deal with balancing work, home and raising kids while trying to keep my grasp on my own identity as I embark on my new life as a single mom.
"All endeavor calls for the ability to tramp the last mile, shape
the last plan, endure the last hour's toil. The fight to the finish
spirit is the one... characteristic we must posses if we are to face the
future as finishers." ~Henry David Thoreau
One mile. 5,280 feet. 1,760 yards. 63,360 inches. 15-20 minutes of your life. Sounds easy enough, right? It's far from impossible for most people. I mean, anyone can do a mile.
Unless that mile is at the end of 12.1 others. After already completing 63,888 steps. Then that last mile may as well be a million. Every footfall is an argument with yourself. Testing your will to see if you will give up or go on. Your will gives up long before your body ever will. And you can even push yourself past that point and survive. I know - I did it.
The medic van followed our group. We were the last ones allowed to finish. About a dozen of us that persevered and didn't give in to the temptation to just ride to the end. It would have been so easy just to do. The van was right there; ice cold Gatorade and a plush seat just waiting to transport me to the finish line. I fought that urge every mile past mile 7. Glanced at that van and just wondered, "what if?"
But I wanted that medal. That damned medal. It wasn't much, really. 5.9 oz of some cheap metal painted to look like cowboy boots. But that medal was a symbol for everything I have given up on these past few years - including myself. I couldn't stop now. I just had to keep pressing on. If I got on that van, I would make it to the finish but I wouldn't earn that medal.
Step after step. Houses and buildings became a blur. Each movement forward brought me one step closer to that finish. My new friend Rachel and I taking turns wanting to give up. Our bodies were well past exhaustion. Our will power gone - thank goodness never at the same time or we might still be sitting on the side of the road. We pushed ourselves further than we ever had. Then we pushed some more. Legs cramped. Hands swelled. Muscles twinged and gave out. And yet we still walked.
After mile marker 10, the signs disappeared. We wouldn't see another one until 13. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise. We had no way of judging exactly how far we had left. So therefore, we had no way to know how much more sweat and soul we would have to leave on the pavement.
At 11 1/2, someone told us we only had a mile and a half to go. One mile and some change. Less than 8,000 steps and we could be done. It no longer mattered if we were the last people to cross. It didn't matter that the water tables and musicians had long since packed up and left little behind but some trash. The only thing that mattered to us was crossing that finish line.
I couldn't even tell you what the scenery looked like during those last miles. I'm still not entirely sure I walked it. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. Every single movement I made was done with the intention of moving in a forwardly direction and reaching the finish line. I took the shortest route possible. I skipped stopping for refreshments so I wouldn't waste any precious steps. I just kept moving. I just did.
So, that's how I managed to make it through that extra mile. I never before pondered what that meant. Now I know. It's going when every fiber of your being screams that it's ok to stop. And taking the next step. And the next. And yet another. It's not riding the bus the last few miles to the finish line. It's you becoming battered and bruised and still going forward. And it's you crumbling in a puddle of tears at the end knowing that no matter how many lies you told yourself, you did it. You finally finished. It's sitting on the curb amongst the dirt and trash and weeds and never feeling more amazing and beautiful. Knowing there are still many steps in front of you that you have yet to take and also knowing that there will never be any more important than the ones you just completed. Because you finished. Because if I ever had hope to face the rest of my future, I needed to finish. And I did.