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SALT LAKE CITY — I had plans to highlight some of the favorite running things my fellow runners were asking for this Christmas season. In light of sad events this past week, however, gifts and material possessions seem so unimportant. Instead, I have written a little poem that will hopefully bring a few smiles — even a few laughs — to my fellow runners and racers.
The Night Before Race Day
Twas the night before race day, when all through the house No one was sleeping, not even my spouse. My race clothes were laid out on the chair with care In hopes that the temperatures provided cool air.
The alarm clock was set, and an extra just in case While I reviewed my splits and figured out my pace. With my tummy full of pasta and snuggled in my bed I closed my eyes, visions of PR's dancing in my head.
When suddenly I was there, at the crowded starting line Surrounded by runners whose shoes looked faster than mine. When what to my wandering eyes should appear But Bart Yasso and friends, laughing at me. Oh, dear.
Lively and fast, the crowd appeared Much quicker than me. I'd be trampled, I feared. My stomach in knots, my palms getting sweaty The start gun went off, but I didn't feel ready.
The masses surged forward with a spring in their step But I stumbled forward. I just had no pep. Mile 1. Mile 2. They passed in a blur. Suddenly the pasta within me began to stir.
I searched high and low for Honey Bucket relief Before my stomach could give me more grief. A brief pit stop and I was back on the course Charging ahead like a thoroughbred horse.
I passed by each aid station with volunteers so nice Grabbing water and fuel and, if lucky, some ice. They gave me high fives. "Looking great," they said. I wondered if they were lying or just sick in the head.
Mile 12. Mile 13. I'm halfway there. My stomach was calm. My legs felt fair. I started to dream. I started to believe. Maybe it's possible, that PR to achieve.
The crowd had thinned out, but one runner remained. He'd been with me from the start, but his pace began to wane. He grunted, he spit, he shook out his hands. With a grimace, he quit. But I had other plans.
Mile 17, 18. "You're almost there!" If I'd had the strength I'd have thrown a chair. I'm not almost there. I have eight miles to go. The fatigue in my face was starting to show.
I took a deep breath and ate another chew. This distance is too much. I think I'm through. I'll never run again. I'll find another hobby. Knitting or swimming or maybe karate.
Mile 22, 23. Only 5K to go. I'm too close to quit. I can do this, I know. My family is waiting and I want to go home With my head held high and a medal to show.
Mile 24, 25. My victory lap! One more mile and I can take a nap. One step at a time, I'll get there soon. When I cross the finish line, I'll feel over-the-moon.
Then suddenly what to my bleary eyes did appear? The finish line and my sweet family, so dear. Off in the distance, it seemed a mirage. Just a few more steps and I'll get my massage.
The crowds cheered me in as I sprinted ahead. I made it! I did it! I wasn't dead! My feet crossed the mat with my hands to the sky. I am a runner! I am! My joy amplified.
With my medal around my neck, chocolate milk I sought. This feeling I feel simply can't be bought. I did something hard. I did something tough. I did my best and it was more than enough.
As we walked to the car and headed home to shower I felt grateful and happy that my legs had the power. I waved to my friends as we drove out of sight. Happy race day to all, and to all a good night!
Kim Cowart is a wife, mother, 24-Hour Fitness instructor and marathoner who has met Bart Yasso and knows he's too kind of a man to laugh at anyone, including her!