Thursday, July 7, 2011
Who am I? How would I describe myself? Once,when I was in my early fifties, a wrecker driver picked me up when my car broke down.He then got on his phone and told his dispatch person that he had just picked up an elderly woman.He wished he hadn't,when I finished with him.I think it went like this."Listen Bubba,I ran three miles this morning,did you?"
The 43 year old woman is slumped forward in a chair in an Atlanta suburban backyard.Her auburn hair hangs limply and her brown business suit is wrinkled and damp.It is July 20,1986 and her 37 mile commute is over but the four hungry teenagers need dinner and the laundry is piled high.She prays:"Help me,Lord,I don't want to live if I have to be this tired."In the humid silence, a whisper,"Run".
Oozing snark, she thinks,"Oh sure,one more thing on my hideously loaded plate.One more thing to wear me out.Again,"run".So she drags herself upstairs and finds old red and white tennis shoes, goes outside and runs up the block.In 8 minutes and 34 seconds, she has run a mile and with a satified smile and brighter eyes, she starts to make dinner.And so it began.
One foot in front of the other,mile after mile:in pelting rain,snow,through woods ,up hills,with her dogs,kids,friends and several times with 60,000 other runners through the streets of Atlanta on the Fourth of July.
Mostly though, she plodded alone, battling discomfort to achieve a goal;three miles,that hill,this race.
All the while, a small silver chisel was carving these words into her psyche","If you can do this,you can do anything,athlete."