It was 6:30 in the morning and all I had to do was run four laps, one mile. The kicker was it had to be under 8 minutes. Each year of high school began with this dreaded task. It jumpstarted two-a-days for volleyball and was a requirement to earn your volleyball uniform.
I was the kid that chose to NOT workout and thought that I could run this thing without any training over the summer. Every year I struggled. I made it, but never on the first day. Goes to show that if you want something, you have to work for it...but that's a blog post for another day!
The smell of the track still haunts me and takes me back to the 8-minute mile. Sprinklers were always going first thing in the morning and nothing brings out the lovely aroma of a track than water. To this day I can step foot on the track, take a big whiff and instantly go back in time, hearing my coach screaming with every vain popping out of her head, "2 minutes!" You knew if you were not crossing the line in at least 2 minute increments, better luck tomorrow.
It was my junior year and day two of this lovely mile. I was sore, and the smell...well you get the picture. I'm standing at the line, heart pounding because running is and has never been "my thing". While awaiting for the sound of the whistle, I felt a nudge. I look over to my right and staring down at me was my best friend Amy. She had made her mile on day one and was there to help me. I remember her telling me, "You're making this thing TODAY!" Her tone wasn't soft like a nice pat on the back, it was a firm, verbal, swift kick in the butt. As the whistle blew she told me to stay with her and "DO NOT" fall behind. Lap three came painfully, side stitches and all, I was somewhere in the 5:50 range with one. lap. to. go. Amy got right in front of me and told me to grab her shirt (gulp). I took hold of her shirt and wrapped my fist in it and held on for dear life. She, a 5'8" hurdler and relay runner, pulled this 5'2", untrained, out of shape, non-runner all the freaking way around the track, crossing the finish line with just a couple of seconds to spare. I would have never made it without her that day.
There are many milestones in my life that I reflect back on and apply this in a metaphorical tone. People like Amy, my husband, and mother are three that instantly come to mind. What about you? Have you ever had anyone pull you across the finish line when you had no more in you to keep going? Obviously I have, literally. Maybe is was during a time in your life when you were suffering with an illness, trying to lose weight to be healthier, starting a business and needed a push to take a risk, or just get out of bed to face the day. These people that come to mind, hang on to their shirttails, and never ever let go.
This blog post is dedicated to my best friend of 30 years. It is her birthday month and in honor of our friendship and three badass decades of friendship, it was another way I could say happy birthday and thank you. Whether it's a soft pat on the back or a swift kick in the butt, you've always been there to pull me through.