Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Strong Finish

Everywhere I look lately, someone is racing. There are 5Ks, 10Ks--Special Ks, even! There are bike races, pennant races, and most the most obvious rat race.

It's almost more than my tired brain can handle trying to keep pace and not break stride.

A long, long, LONG time ago, when I used to run (not to catch a toddler-on-the-loose or to catch the barista before the coffee shop closes) I remember an annoying habit our team's coach had. It seemed that he thought it appropriate, at the end of a leg numbing run, to shout out in the final stretch, "FINISH STRONG!"

It would have been inappropriate at that moment to stop running only to head over and give him a piece of my mind--what little I might have had left by then. Fueled only by adolescent fury, I did exactly what my frustrated teenage mind tricked my exhausted teenage body into doing---I finished strong.

I didn't know then where I found the strength.

I am quite certain that during the last 100 meters my legs would have been better served by a tall, handsome masseur (hey, I was in high school!) than a chain-smoking, psychotic ex-runner screaming through a bull horn.

As my body was pushed to the brink, muscles were being built in my legs. And somewhere deep inside, far beneath any calf or quad development I could see, a lesson was being learned and a virtue was being developed.

With each season of life, there seem to be more and more races to be run. And there are no shortage of annoying distractions on the sidelines.

But with each race we grow stronger.

And with each race, if we permit the voices of the crowds cheer us along, we come closer and closer to crossing the finish line.

"I know that the education of this child will be the distinguishing event of my life, if I have the brains and perseverance to accomplish it."

-- Annie Sullivan "The Miracle Worker", teacher to Helen Keller


Anonymous said...

I had forgotten about your running days!

Sarah said...

I love that quote. Amazingly true. Not to give up - to keep going. Awesome.

Laura The Crazy Mama said...

Good one!