Her curly red ponytail richocheted in rhythm off her back, and up, off, and up, off and up. I noticed because I was a comfortable couple of paces behind her. I knew that she was military, in the Guard, dawn trained with mainly men which meant that I just had to keep up. The wind coldly challenged, and inside, I began to think about walking. We were on the trail which lends itself to womanly chatter, slow paced thoughts, observation of hidden deer or bluebirds or interesting leaf.
"You're a strong runner," I panted out.
She slowed down and said, "I go with the flow; if you want to walk, I'll walk. Trust me, I'll walk."
This is not what a faltering will needs to hear.
However, I knew I needed the distance. Once during a sermon, my preacher talked about "pushing past the quitting points." I use that phrase constantly now when I need to keep going. We exited the trail going up the steep incline to the road which eventually led to the mother of all hills. My friend and I agreed to try our hardest to make the ascent. I scuffled my feet up, barely going, feeling like I was choking after hitting this wall on the sixth mile of our seven mile trek. Gasp, splutter, cough to the top. I remembered my week and the parenting challenges and knew if I could make this hill, I could maintain strength in a pressing particular struggle. That got me up.
Afterwards my redhaired, relatively new interesting friend and I shared a pot of coffee at my house and plans for future mileage. We're training for a half marathon in April. I really enjoy being an aged athlete ... any pace or crawling or obtained goal is acceptable!