Pinterest A Grateful Life Lived: Unforgettable Runs: New Orleans, LA

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Unforgettable Runs: New Orleans, LA

     Last spring break, my dad, younger brother and I traveled out west.  Not only did our journey re-route through Roswell, New Mexico, but we also got to see New Orleans.  My dad had taken me to New Orleans the past summer-- just the two of us-- but that's a story for a different day.  Anyhow, we had been flying all day and finally checked into the hotel a little before eight pm.  I was exhausted, but also aware that track season was right around the corner and my training had me doing 800 meter repeats that day.  My dad and brother came along as I warmed up by running to the waterfront.
This boat was sitting close to my 800 meter repeat turnaround point.  (photo credit:
     Measuring it best he could, my dad marked a there and back 800.  I had four to do, which didn't seem so bad, until I finished the first one and realized how jet lagged and fatigued I was.  True to character, I came through the first 800 with a fast split, a good six seconds faster then my coach had prescribed.  That's when I got tough.  My legs started to burn earlier and earlier, and I became even more annoyed with the occasional person I had to dart out of the way for-- heaven forbid I get in THEIR way.  All sarcasm aside though, the route was pretty solid in my head: 200 meters until I had to jump down three stairs.  The next part was down hill along the water.  Then I had a grueling straight shot to complete the first 400.  Making a sharp 180, I would then sprint back where I came from.  This time: uphill.  The starts were bright enough to light the path, and I would gaze up during my 90 second rest, to catch my breath and awe.
     Looking back, I clearly remember my legs burning and my mind screaming at me to just go to bed already!  But I also can remember the fun of jumping down those stairs, brushing through the trees, and flying past the black waves crashing on the dock.  It was beautiful.  It was impossible-- but I did it.  The last 800 came and my dad-- having paced me for the first 400 of the last few-- stood guard at my turnaround point.  He yelled and cheered me on as my weary feet pounded the bricks.  He simulated my coming races, calling my name as I flew down the second 200.  This time though, he stood further back.  "What are you doing," I angrily gasped, "The turn is up here!"  He nodded, "but I think it was a little short before.  This is probably more accurate."  I shot him a glare out of frustration, glad I didn't have the breath to say any more.  As in- "you could have told me that before, so I was doing them right!"  It hit me though: I was tired.  I was absolutely working to keep going.  Isn't that doing it right?
     So I let it go.  I switched on that final gear and powered up the hill as I crossed from the dock back onto the brick pathway.  The cold night air brushed my legs and filled my chest, and I tried to breathe deeper.  I imagined my freedom: my strength, and I pushed past that last crest of the uphill and flew down the stretch to my starting point: a small grove of trees.  With that final push, I keeled over at the trees and grinned from ear to ear.  I'd done it!  I'd sat in a plane all day, hardly had any water, got slapped with the southern humidity, and survived a killer headache as a result of it all.  I was ecstatic that I had it in me.  It was one of the first hard workouts I'd done for the season, less then a year after anorexia had stolen my freedom to run.
     I took one last glance up at the beautiful night sky as it fell into the black crashing water below, and gave my dad a high five.  "I did it," I whispered to myself, "I'm back."

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