Friday, December 16, 2016

The Half-Marathon Journey

A man had been slacking off when it came to his health, and knew he had to find a new hobby to exercise. His mother and uncle were avid runners and since he had run cross country in high school, he thought he would join them.

They told him they were training for a half marathon.
"Easy," he scoffed. He had done one in high school with minimal effort, but he forgot that was after an entire cross country season. The first one was done in great shape, and he only had six weeks to get back to the great shape of his high school days. He bet his mother he could beat her, and finish in under two hours.

He trains hard, fighting the exhaustion and soreness of running. His body withered and training had to stop for weeks at a time because of injuries. His body was fragile; both legs had been broken at one time, his shoulder was severely injured, his back in pain, but he pushed on. As race day approached, he started to worry. His body was starting to give out more often, his knees would struggle to finish five miles, and he wondered how well they would fair against 13.

Despite his worries, race day came. He decided he would at least attempt the run. Thousands lined up around a small Missouri lake as they prepared to run the grueling course. He blocked out the people, focused on his drive to finish the race. The first five miles flew by, a small downhill road that he flew through, while still keeping a steady pace so not to exhaust himself.

Before the race, he had heard horrors of mile five. "The Mountain" they called it. A mile long "hill" that was nearly 45 degrees the entire trek. After just a quarter mile he could feel his legs giving out, his knees struggling to hold him up. He slowed his pace to a slow jog and nearly collapsed as he reached the top.

He smiled to himself, I've just finished mile five, then reality struck him. I'm only at mile six, he staggered, struggling to believe he wasn't even half way. The rest of the race was a blur, a slow jog, a stabbing pain in his knees until mile 10.

As mile 10 arrive he felt  his right knee give out. He fell, rolled to the ground as his body failed him, but he would not give up so close to finishing. He brushed the dirt off his short shorts, stretched his shaking leg, clearly the race had taken its toll on his body. Again at 11 his knee gave out, once more at 12 and twice in the final mile. To everyone's surprise, the man sprinted the last hundred meters to clock his time just over two hours.

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