Let Me Call You Sweetheart

It isn’t that I race for a prize. Sometimes finishing is the only goal.

When the option between a 5k and a 10k presented itself before me, I opted for the challenge of the further distance. My utter loathing to run is often put on the back burner for events (namely, triathlons where the first two sports are far more exciting) as I prefer to “see how it goes.”

The devastating news of the accident which took my father put my entire training plan on a hiatus. Peeling myself from my bed, I would force myself to a weight room or a quick jog, but in terms of preparation for my first race of the season,the 10k Sweetheart Run… I would just “see how it goes.”

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Chilly air doesn’t begin to describe the Albuquerque winter mornings. While the world sleeps, the frost kisses the earth and while hiding from the rising sun, the shadows bathe in freezing temperatures. This morning would be no different as my alarm clock sounded triumphantly in the early morning.

  • Skipping to the starting line with timing chips in our shoes, Robbie and I took deep breaths to brave ourselves for the cold. The fog horn sounded and sprinters off for a jolly run waved a blur in front of us. I’m not saying I’m more of a “stop and smell the roses” type of runner… I’m just not fast. 

It wasn’t long before we were running over the Rio Grande (photo op if I wanted to stop…) presented such beauty of the area. The wind picked up to its usual 15-20mph to attack my bare arms with a burn and despite the music pumping in my ears, I only felt the beat of my shoes hitting the pavement.

Running is therapy. 

My breath was labored and my body was not happy with my decision to start running in the cold, but my mind was elsewhere, away from my muscles revolting underneath me.

Robbie was running ahead of me and I could not stop the momentum between thinking and praying throughout the run. The mile markers signaled my progress and Robbie’s purple shirt far ahead gave me comfort that despite the cold, I’m not alone. He’s a much faster runner than I am and though he and I both took quite a bit of time off with training, he is… how do I say this… consistent.

Weaving throughout my mind were memories of my dad, worries for the future,
hopes and dreams yet to be realized, and how thankful I am.

My stride created the beat to a drum that I was innocently marching to throughout the run. I felt smiles stretch across my face. I felt tears burn in my eyes. I felt my body realize how much I needed that run.

  • The finish line took my by surprise (we’re done already?) and remembering Shannon’s advice at my triathlon, it was time to kick it in. 

My legs became a locomotion and as my body finally realized sprinting is different than running and is NOT pleasant, Robbie’s cheers echoed into my ears and resounded in my heart.

I looked at the finish clock and though my time was not fast (I didn’t even come in last!), none of it mattered. My body was involuntary shivering from the cold and Robbie scooped me up in a big hug. Knowing how I train and am motivated… instead of saying, “Good job!” or anything positive… he cooed a challenge.

One down. You ready for the next one? 

Talk about a sweetheart.

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