Friday, February 20, 2009

The end

The alarm clock went off at 6.00. I opened my eyes grudgingly. I looked out the window and I could see no lights. It was still dark outside. I was tiered from the trip the day before, which got me into Brussels late at night; it must of have been well after 11pm. The weather in Brussels is terrible, and it never changes. On top of the rain, the temperature in January is below freezing. I sat up on the bed. Paola was still asleep. A 10 mile run was the last thing I wanted to do that morning. But I had a reason, a damn good reason to go out there and try my best. I was no longer running for myself. We were saving lives now. I had a responsibility to WaterAid and to all those children in Africa that needed me to keep running. I thought about how fortunate my life has been; about how little I've spent giving and how much time I've spent thinking about making -- money, projects, a career. I was finally up and getting dressed. My running gear was dirty from the morning before, but what did it matter, outside it was still muddy. I picked up my running shoes and shut the door behind me before that urge to go back to bed would get the best of me. I wanted to look forward, to run, to save lives. I wanted to be in Austin already. That day was January 28. The rest of the days passed by fast. I kept running and I was ready on that morning, on Feb. 15 when I stepped into the queue for the start of the Austin Marathon. The running was easy. I settled for an 8min/mile pace, but half-way through I realized that I could do better. I was still worried not to overdo it so I kept it under control for the next 5 miles. At mile 18 I was sure I could push harder and last to the end. So I did. I picked up my pace. "Go Water Aid" I heard the crowd cheering, "Awesome pace." That only urged me on. By now I felt like I was floating. I was on mile 23 but the feeling was the same as if I had only started. It was great. I was smiling; no I was laughing as I ran past the excited Austin crowd. The sun bright and warm, and I was on my last mile, running on Trinity Street, the last long stretch before the turn into the finish area on Congress. For the first time I found myself looking back to that January 18 in Brussels, to the cold days, to all that running in the rain, freezing cold and snow; to Paola and I massaging our legs: to the tears and aches and pains and bruised knees; to WaterAid and our effort and the kind donations which we received. I crossed the finish line in Austin. It was the best run of my life, and the fastest marathon I ever did -- 3h23min. Thank you for helping, for believing, and thank you for your humanity.

No comments:

Blog Archive

Search blog