The first time Sweet Baboo asked me if I would run with him shortly after that, I did a slow, shuffling jog maybe 20 yards before having to stop and walk. It was a perfectly flat, neighborhood road, and that's all I could manage, before stopping to walk slowly, and catch my breath. It was a start. Everything has a beginning.
It took years before I could run the whole way through a 10k, and then a half marathon, Even longer before I could run the whole way through a full marathon I might have been able to do it faster, but I'm tentative, and afraid of being breathless at times I still am, a little. I call myself lazy, tongue-in-cheek, but what I really am, most of the time, is fearful. I'm fearful of lots of things. It's just gradually my fear of not finishing overcame those other things. I would do the next longer distance, sometimes going to dark places and hating it the whole time, but as soon as I crossed the finish like I would mutter to myself, "I bet I could do that better," or, "I wonder what else I can do?"
So I did my triathlons, and occasionally did duathlons and running events to support that. Along the way I discovered, much to my (and anyone who knew me for a long time, honestly) surprise that running was my preferred sport.
I never planned on doing anything like this; it existed in some other realm of people who were the other, those people who were willing to give up time to train, which still seemed like work for me. I had turned ankles, and IT band syndrome, and sore hips, but the soreness and the injuries would fade, and I would learn from it, and get back out there and start again.
Less often, I saw wonderful things and had wonderful feelings that, while fleeting, left me searching for me chances to feel that way. Most of those times came with trail running, so I drifted in that direction.
I do not come from a family of outdoorsy people, like Sweet Baboo does. My people are not runners, or even hikers. My people are drinkers, and eaters. The drinkers are the skinny ones The eaters tend to live a bit longer, but not a whole bunch. I'm not all that crazy about how either of those extremes winds up, late in life, so I went my own way.
Is a 100 miler in everyone? Is it even in me? I don't know. All I know is, I'm constantly amazed as what I can get this body, now nearly 46 yeas old, to do. When I do local 5ks and 10ks I love watching the women cross the finish line of their very first 5k or 10k, and I wonder where it will take them next. I admire all the people who do various things for charity or in honor of some dearly departed loved one because, honestly, I'm completely selfish. This is for me.
So, tomorrow at 6 am, I'll begin a new journey. Regardless of whether I finish 100 miles, or 100K, I'll learn something, and have a new experience I never had before. On the other side of this experience will be lessons that I'll generalize to other parts of my life, like I always do.
So the take home message here is that you can do more than you think you can. You can amaze yourself. You can. You may not want to run 100 miles. But you can do something, I bet, that you never thought you could.
Dread Pirate will be updating to my facebook wall.
See you on the other side.