Sunday, May 15, 2011
We Started Out Together
We started out together.
Jesse and Claire in the lead. Michael by my side. We said from the start, run your own race, so early on, I was left in their cheetah dust, as Elizabeth likes to say.
I found myself running alongside a young girl with a pink ball cap pulled down over her eyes. She barely came up to my waist. Her Dad was in front of us, running backwards, encouraging her on.
See the finish line, Shannon, he chanted.
Shannon said nothing, arms swinging, eyes forward.
At some point I lost them. I was running my own race, seeing my own finish line, down Main Street, past cops holding up cars and kind people on the sidewalk offering cups of water.
Run to the next corner, I negotiated with myself.
Long before the turn-around, shirtless young men and strong, lean women, flew by, already on their way back to the stadium and the finish line.
Run to the next light.
Run to the old J. J. Newberry's store.
Run up the hill to the school.
I ran up the small hill near the elementary school to the half-way mark, touching hands with Michael, Jesse, and Claire as they ran down the hill.
Run to the turn-around.
Run back passed J. J. Newberry's.
Run to the light.
Run to the stadium.
Run to the finish line.
I spotted Jesse's purple shirt ahead of me as I ran into the stadium. People were shouting and clapping. Loud music blaring from speakers.
Inside me, silence; heart pumping, legs moving.
Down the final stretch, I ran very fast.
kick it kick it kick it kick it kick it kick it!
It felt so good to do this thing, to run like a kid
to cross the finish line, heart racing, face flushed,
And in the crowd, my family, waiting for me.