Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV)
I finished! I finished! I finished the race. Not only did I finish the race, but I did it in 42 minutes which considering the press of the crowd and the fact that we didn’t really get to start running for about five blocks is really good. It is especially awesome considering how nervous I was before the race began. Main Street where the race started was a zoo. A DJ played loud music as two women led a hundred skinny people in Jazzercise to “loosen up” before the race. Food vendors offered free donuts and ChikFilet. No thanks, my belly is queasy enough! I was all alone in a sea of people and not sure where I should go or what I should do. I ran into someone from work who filled my head with her strategy and told stories about prior races, tripping over dogs and getting rammed in the ankles by strollers. I lost my earphones and had to look for them. I debated drinking more water but was leery of the Portapotties. I worried that I wasn’t stretched out enough, but my stretching involves a step and since there was nothing to hold onto was afraid I might fall. I actually contemplated just sitting down on a bench and giving up. Then, I ran into my former boss and another coworker who knew it was my first race. They offered to run with me, told me where to stand and calmed my nerves. They explained that they run one minute and walk two. Since I had been training to run five minutes and walk one, it sounded like something I could handle. The race buzzer sounded and we were off, first at a crawl and finally when the crowd thinned, actually running. My boss has long legs so I had to go faster to keep up with her, but the one minute timer sounded before I got winded. Again, they walked faster than I do, but I managed to keep up. Run one, walk two and around the course we went. We even had some conversation when I was not gasping for air. There were bands along the way, people cheering us on and others with flashlights shining on the road in places where we needed extra light. We were within a half mile of finishing before my shin splits kicked in and I had to slow down. I told them to go ahead, but they stayed with me. Two blocks from the finish line, with their encouragement, we kicked into high gear and I staggered to the end. I felt lightheaded, a little out of it, but took the water offered to me and was grateful I had made it with their assistance. I might have finished without their help, but never in such a good way or such a good time. It is important to finish the race, but even more important to have someone to run with you to encourage and hold you accountable.