I’ll never forget what it was like for me to cross the finish line of that marathon that I ran over 30 years ago.
just like a stop-action film, reality stepped aside for a split second while an overwhelming awareness came over me.
All the miles of training runs, the days of getting up before dawn, the keeping track of distances, speeds, aches and pains—all the perseverance, focus and energy that had gone into a year of training—telescoped into that single moment.
“No one can take this away from me,” I said inside myself. “No one. This was my race.”
I felt triumphant.
I also knew that all that the lead-up to the race—all of what had preceded that moment—helped to make it what it was.
Without it—the pain and the frustration and the doubts that I went through—all of it, I would never had seen that yellow line and its gift of completion, satisfaction and sheer joy.
I am now 73 years old and not a day goes by that I don’t think about the fact that I am still in training—in training to cross another sort of finish line.
I am keenly aware that it is these days of perseverance, energy and focus that will ultimately culminate in my crossing that line one final time.
When I do—as I will, inevitably—I am looking forward to having the very same thoughts and experience as I had in that other marathon of 30 years ago.
There will be a moment outside of time when I will look back on all the miles of training, all the keeping track of distances, speeds, aches and pains and all the perseverance, focus and energy that it took to get there.
The difference, however, will be that in that final crossing, the sense of completion, satisfaction and elation I experienced 30 years ago, will last more than just a moment.
It will last an eternity.
“No one can take this away from me,” I’ll say inside myself. “No one.”
“This was my race.”
Author’s Note: Thanks to my youngest daughter, who e-mailed this article from the Houston Chronicle to me.
“I really respect the fact that you are willing to talk about what you want as you get older and/or death,” she said, which inspired my essay above.
Author: Carmelene Melanie Siani
Editor: Khara-Jade Warren
Image: Alexandre Dulaunoy/ Flickr