Finishing Last is Victory

Two years ago, if you had told me I would’ve left my home before 6 a.m. on a Saturday to do something I wasn’t comfortable with outside in the rain with women I didn’t know, I would have told you, you didn’t know me. Time brings about a change. 2014 is the year of Laschandra, so more excuses.  

Today, I put my insecurities aside and stepped out of my comfort zone. As I began to put my clothes on this morning, my nerves crept in. I began to think of excuses, namely the forecast called for a 30% chance of rain. I kept checking my phone looking for a FB posts or text messages from Tangela cancelling because of rain. No text – no FB post – for that matter – no smoke signal. I was all out of excuses. Before I talked myself out of it, I peeked in on Mary-Isabella, kissed Anthony and headed out almost an hour early for a 10 minute drive.

I wasn’t quite sure where I was going. As I’m driving, drops of rain begin to hit the windshield. There is still no text or FB post cancelling the event. On top of it all, the address I had was incomplete, so my navigation simply quits. Maybe, it was a sign for me to do the same. I circled the area a couple of times. As I thought about turning around, the sprinkles of rain turned into a little shower. You guess it, still no text of FB post. As minutes the ticked by, the harder the rain fell. As I finally picked up the phone to call Tangela, I’m thinking she wouldn’t answer or she would let me off the hook by saying we weren’t meeting. No such luck. LOL

Once there, the other ladies were standing in the rain, eager and ready to start. I got out of truck not knowing what to expect. What I encountered was warm smiles and positive energy. As we gathered in the circle to pray, I really can’t describe how I felt. For years, I said I was going to do it. And, here I was seconds away from doing it. Was I crazy to think I could run? Was I crazy to think I could show a vulnerability in front of strangers?

The Black Girls Run leader says, “we are going to do a total of 3 miles along Walnut Bend toward Forest Hill Irene.” I’m thinking, WTH. I looked around to see other ladies hadn’t flinched. I’m thinking to myself, I;m going to be last. I’m going to be embarrassed. It was as if Tangela knew I was having self-doubts, she chimes in as on cue with her encouraging words. By the time, we head out, there is full rain shower.

As we begin to run, one runner after the other begins to pass me. As they do, my confidence waivers. I’m literally the last person. Then, my God, begins to chime in, you can do it. I begin to quote scripture and affirmations, “You can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Tangela hangs back with the walk/runners, which includes one other young lady and me. I was determined to run more than I walked. As we jogged along Walnut Bend, we passed the cardiologist’s office I visited two years ago. He told me I had to make lifestyle changes and here I was finally making the changes.

“In … out … in…out…breathe…focus…in…out…in…out…breathe…focus”

The young lady who started out with me in the walk/runners group, eventually pulled off, There was only Tangela and me at the end. I started to get discouraged. I heard Anthony’s voice, “you can do this”. Tangela announces we had reached the 1 mile mark. I begin to see the other ladies returning from the 1.5 mile mark. At the 1.25 mile mark, the BGR leader passes us saying we are going to the bridge, which was a little further than 1.5 mile mark Tangela estimated earlier.

At that moment, I don’t think I can’t go any further. But God! We finally reached the bridge. We turned around. By this time, all the other runners were completely out of sight. All that was left was Tangela, the rain and me. Feelings of embarrassment and disappointment begin to set in. I told myself, perhaps, I’m not ready for this. As we continue to move, Tangela begins encouraging me. She such a good motivator. She gets it. She reminds she was once I where I was. I begin thinking of my baby and husband. So, I dig deep.

“In … out … in…out…breathe…focus…in…out…in…out…breathe…focus”

Tangela says, “I will follow your pace.” When you want to run, we will run. As the rain falls, my tears begin to fall. I realize I’m doing something I wanted to do for years. I begin thank God for this moment. I continue to push forward.

As we approached Germantown Parkway, I assumed the other runners had left. Tangela says, many of them will wait until the last person returns. While I felt so humbled, I was also little embarrassed and anxious to be last. As I reached the parking lot, I saw the other ladies. This was the first time these ladies met me, and here they were caring enough to wait in the rain for me. I was so thankful and appreciative.

BGR

Yes, I was the last person to finish the run. I completed 3.6 miles. I ran more than I walked. For me, this was a victory. Ironically enough, by the time I pulled into my garage, the sun and son were both shining!

BGR2

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