Monday, September 15, 2014

The Finish

No matter how many miles you put in, there’s nothing quite like the race day experience. The competition. The spectators. The adrenaline. The air is electric. But for me, it’s all about the finish line.

It’s a place I dream about. The culmination of so many early mornings and tough runs. All the sweat and the pain and the effort that often makes others ask, “Why?” (and, rightfully so.)
The finish is where it all clicks. Everything makes sense. I wish I could bottle that feeling.
Last Sunday, we ran. We raced. We pushed. And then we rounded the corner. It probably wasn't, but it felt so dramatic. The finish line was there, waiting for us. I could see it. And I could hear the crowd cheering.

This is why I run—for that moment.

It seems insane to do so much for just a minute or two, doesn't it? I wish it was possible to show you what I mean; to let you feel all those feelings. It’s an experience that occurs at the conclusion of something so difficult it has the capacity to break you entirely.

Sure, the marathon is tough. But it’s the training that I find most challenging. The will to wake up at 3:30am to run 10 miles is not strong with me. But I do it anyway. It’s no different than the things we do for love. The sacrifices we make because the effort warrants the reward. That is what keeps me coming back, morning after morning.

There are a lot of really amazing things running does for me—physically and spiritually—but being present for the culmination of it all at once is true magic. That’s what the finish line feels like: a brain-shattering moment that hurts and heals, all at once.

How often, I wondered at my most recent finish line, do we get the chance to do something like that? To feel so alive and free, with absolutely nothing holding us back? If we’re lucky, we get to touch it for just a moment. That’s why, I explain to those who ask, those photos at the end show a smile on my face. 

That last stretch of road, leading to the conclusion of a long journey, is a sacred place. 


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