My UTSA run is my favorite run of the year. This year, I woke up at 4 am complaining about the cold weather. I threw a temper tantrum, and wished I hadn't pre-registered the entire family to run.
C and J were so excited to go!! I was/am literally sick of running on cold mornings. I have a few days if antibiotics left, and that icy air just pisses me off.
We did go, and I went through my usual routines without further complaint. I did my best to stay matter-of-fact about the run, and encouraged J with more enthusiasm than I actually felt. I thought it might not be so bad. J told me that she wanted me to run my best, and I'd promised her I would.
By the end of mile 1, my body felt great at an incredibly speedy (for me) pace. I felt good at the start, but noticed I couldn't clear my throat or spit out enough phlegm (gross) to stop more from producing. I started breathing it back in, and thought it best to walk and cough for awhile to try to clear.
I slowed my pace in mile 2, to what would still allow me to finish at a personal record. I felt my spirit breaking. I put my faith in my legs, knowing I still could finish with my best time if I pushed hard.
Into mile 3, and every breath felt like fire, exhaling and inhaling burning gunk and pushing forward. The course took a sharp turn for an out and back up a hill, and I lost sight of my goal entirely. Half a mile from the finish and I walked again!! I jogged the hill down, feeling completely defeated. My record time had slipped by. Side stitches cramped my belly and I tried to recover by walking a third time. Two women with jogging strollers passed me, and I decided to fuck my stitch, fuck my lungs, fuck my run to the finish. I passed those stroller ladies just before the finish mat.
I left the corral and waited to watch J fly down the chute. She was a superhero!! The determination and pride on her face made the entire event worth it. C jogged in behind her, letting our child enjoy her moment in the sun.
She is my breath. Her undying love keeps my hope alive.