I made a promise. I promised these legs I would run the race, these legs that carry me where my mind wants to go. But I didn’t want to run 13.1 miles in the rain again. Not like last year, where it came down so hard in the last three miles that I was soaked to the bone and shaking as I crossed the finish line, my hat and pony-tail creating a waterfall that ran down my back chilling my skin to numbness.
The rain was my “out.” If it looked like bad weather, I would stay in bed. That’s what I told my legs.
Two days before the race my brother, Justin, who along with his wife Abbie, and my brother Todd, ran this Spring race with me last year said, “Amy. We know we can do rain.”
He was right. But I didn’t want to run in the rain. I wanted to run in the sun. Where families, Ogdenites, volunteers and out-of-towners line the streets in masses ringing cow-bells and waving flags their energy spilling into the streets, shouting, “You can do it!” “Go! Go! Go!” and “Just a few more miles!”
That’s what I wanted.
There is this independent sound. Of rain. And pace. And a mantra to keep time. Of positive self-talk. That’s the sound that took me up the hill and down the canyon last Saturday. In the never ending deluge. In places the rain was coming down so hard that the street turned into a river, my shoes soaked with every step. The wind pushed me sideways, the cold stung my legs.
And I wondered if any of this really was worth it.
There is this new sound, when you feel drained of motivation. This sound far out-weights the tempo of the rain. It’s the sound of your name, called out by those who love you, those who cheer for you. From the sidelines shouting encouragement. My people. At mile 10. Holding a sign and cheering for ME! I just knew they would be there! High fiving me, shouting affirmation! This family that has been next to me through my rain, and blue skies, too. They showed up!… and waited, 45 minutes in the freezing rain, to cheer. When I saw them, my smile melted into my stride. I ran passed them and jutted up the small incline, my tears mixed with rain, which mixed with love, and fueled my legs and pumped my heart.
My dad said after the race, “I wanted to stay there at mile 10 and cheer for all those who needed it!” My sister Toots who made a sign for us said, “We were all just cheering our hearts out! We felt so bad leaving knowing that so many needed a boost!” Kacey Harmon, a first time half-marathon runner said after the race,”One of the things that was motivating was the random old ladies standing on the side of the road between miles 10-13.1 that were holding an umbrella in one hand and a cowbell in the other cheering us on.”
Those who come out to cheer in the rain. They are a special crowd. The salt of the earth, the best of the best.
When I reached mile 13, I saw them. My three. Emma running next to me. Hayden and Maggie on the side. Cheering me on. I didn’t hear the rain. I didn’t feel any pain. I only heard them calling my name.
And yes, it was so worth it.