Not too long ago I was introduced to trail running. Just think a few short months ago I was training for my first 5k. Now I’m voluntarily running in the woods. How crazy is that? This was probably the most challenging run I’ve done to date. The terrain – unforgiving. The hills – lung burning. Those things also made today’s run the most gratifying to date. (To make it even more challenging, I parked my car about a half a mile from where the trail started. So I ended up walking an additional mile to and from my car. Talk about maximizing my time. But that’s another topic for another blog.)
As I finished up, I was exhausted. I successfully pushed myself to the limits. With beads of sweat traversing their way from my forehead to the corner of my eye and heading down my cheek, I staggered to the nearest tree and just plopped down. While sitting there with my head down, I did everything in my power to catch my breath. I was so in the moment replaying my accomplishment I didn’t notice the hand that was held out in front me. I looked up and saw this elderly gentleman reaching for me. He said “C’mon let me help you up.” I smiled and let him help me up. We walked together underneath the sea of uninterrupted blue talking for a short moment before we went our separate ways.
That moment reminded me that I wasn’t on this journey alone. There have been many people who have played the role of that gentleman. While maybe not physically, your words of encouragement have been the hand he extended to me helping me up when I felt too tired to move. Your checking on me to make sure I hadn’t fallen off the wagon were his hand extended towards me. So to you all I say thank you. The encouragement and support have been priceless.
A funny thing happened after we went our separate ways. I passed a guy who was struggling on the trail. He was bent over breathing laboriously. I walked up to him and said, “Friend, you finished?” He responded “No just catching my breath.” I extended my hand “I’ll run with you a ways, my friend.”
Just like that I was able to pay it forward.