Sometimes we need to take a break from work to recognize how tough we can be when we need to. I took a mini-vacation last week and went to Nashville. The occasion was the Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon on Saturday, April 24.
Now you need to understand that I’m a fair weather runner. Yes, I trained for the half marathon – you don’t just go out for 13.1 miles at my age without training for it – but if it was too cold, too rainy or too hot I’d either stay on the treadmill or take a day off. After all, it’s supposed to be fun, isn’t it?
Maybe that was why I wasn’t really prepared for the weather we had. Last year, I ran the Country Music Half Marathon on the hottest April day on record! It was 95 degrees when I finished. According to one runner, he had to dodge the fallen runners lying on the road at one point – they had all been moved on by the time I got there!
This year, the weather had another surpise for us.
At the start, it was cloudy and mlld. The forecast was threatening rain, and I was concerned that I would be rained on while awaiting the start. Since I’m in one of the last corrals, starting about an hour after the elite runners, this could mean standing around wet and cold for an hour or more before the run – not a good way to start!
Fortunately, though, the weather held up, and it actually got quite warm during the first few miles of the run. I started too fast, but was excited to see my time was looking better than last year. It wasn’t too long, though, before I knew that I would need to ease off a bit if I was going to finish the race.
Then we saw the buses coming by and heard an announcement that they would be picking up the slower runners and taking them to the finish. Bad weather was coming, they said … But the buses later returned, apparently empty – just as I was thinking a ride back might be nice!
About mile 8 it started to rain – just a light drizzle that felt refreshing. “This is OK”, I thought, and hoped it would not get worse. A mile or two later, though, the temperature dropped, the wind got up and the police were warning us that we should think about taking shelter, as a tornado was on the way!
Some people took shelter, but the valiant (or stupid?) continued to battle on. Of course, I was one of them – by now I just wanted to get it over with. Only another three or four miles to go …
Soon after, they announced that they were cutting the marathon short. I felt really sorry for the runners who had trained for 26.2 miles and were only allowed 15 or 20 – what a disappointment. At least they let us finish the half.
It was around mile ten that the weather really hit. Strong, gusty winds and rain that was so hard it stung my arms. I splashed on through water that was several inches deep. and finally arrived at the finish feeling like a drowned rat!
As I sit here sneezing and coughing, I think “Hey, ain’t that just the way it is?” Nobody said it would be easy, but the point is to hang in there and know that it will always get better! And to know that we’re doing what others won’t do, as Jim Rohn said, so we can have what they won’t have!