It was there in her vision, yet so far still in the distance. How many steps would it take to get there? How much power for each stride?
She needed to pace herself. This she knew. Yet, what pace?
There was no competition – this was just her against herself. She would be the victor. Why was this race so tough?
“Don’t look back!” she remembered her friend advising her. Yet, it was so tempting to wear the emotion she carried at the starting line. She longed to feel the desperation. She longed to feel the pain once again as she was terrified to forget what it had been like. She wanted to never forget. It was through that pain that she learned to live.
Her lungs hurt. She was unsure of herself. She had never raced this hard in her entire life. Questions and self-doubt shrouded her in chains that dragged her ever more slowly. “Push on, Stacey!” she fought, “push on!”
A quick glance to the side affirmed what she already knew. There – within arms reach – sat her cheer-leaders of all shapes and sizes, ages and sages. They had been so loyal – so kind – so very much present through the tough times. They had understood. They had listened and encouraged and supported and lifted her up. Would she have been that “present” for them? She hoped so. She owed them a debt of gratitude which she felt she could never repay. “Do it for them, Stacey”, she thought, “Do it for them!”.
She turned her eyes once more straight ahead. Her body ached. She was full of doubt. Yet – she was determined. “Don’t look back,” she heard once again. Runners who look back slow down. She did not want to slow down. She did not want to waver. There was too much to risk. She had put so much into this race already. So had everyone else! If she lost – they would all lose. There were no other choices than to look straight ahead.
Three hurdles stared her in the eye. If she took them one at a time, they may not burn as much. Would she recover enough from each to be able to cross the finish line? What toll would each take on her already stressed muscles, joints, and bones? “One day at a time,” she thought. This had helped her to get to this point. One day at a time would help her to cross the line.
She lifted her head.
She got ready… got set…. and didn’t look back.
(Thanks, Gwen, for your pearls of wisdom today. I needed them.)