Saturday was the Jenks Half Marathon, and I was grateful again for the chance to run in my home town area (Tulsa really, but Jenks is close enough).
Who can argue that there’s nothing better than sleeping in your own bed the night before a race. I arrived to the start line and was excited to run the course that winds through some less-traveled roads, past horses and picturesque houses in the outskirts of this Tulsa suburb. This would be my 35th half-marathon for the books, and it was coincidental that this was the 35th running of the Jenks Half Marathon.
The weather was perfect for long distance… minus the wind gusts of 25-30 mph. I absolutely love this race but it drained me like no other because of that wind. There were hills and then there were hills into the wind. I caught myself several times wanting to stop to walk but my running partner for that race simply wouldn’t let me. Don’t get me wrong, I walk through water stops … but not usually in the middle of a race! My running partner, Jimmy, and I had run together several times for training runs but not for races. He agreed to run this race as a “training run” with me. We were both resigned to the fact that it wasn’t the race time that we needed, but simply the mileage. I tried to use him as a wind-block (he’s 6-8 inches taller than me) but it wasn’t enough. And then he offered something I didn’t think would work: “run next to me and I’ll push your back with two fingers”. How could that work? What? It worked well, very well. In fact, it made me run faster up a hill … into the wind.
That little push made a significant and incredible difference. I could learn a lot from this lesson. Sometimes all we need is a friend to barely push us and things go better. Sometimes we need someone else to have faith in us when we’re too tired, too exhausted. Without him I would have had a miserable experience but I was grateful he stayed with me and grateful for the faith and encouragement so I wouldn’t stop. Sometimes all we need is a little push.
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