December 3 #reverb10

Prompt: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).

I had many wonderful moments this year!  But when did I feel most alive?  How can I just choose one?  Several moments stick out in my head, finishing exhilarating musical performances, happy moments from my summer cruise, moments from various races I have run…

—I also recall the great feeling of being alive in failure, after not advancing in an audition.  (I prefer not to relive that moment here.) —

There were many wonderful moments from the cruise—filled with warmth, humidity, the smell of salt air, blue skies, green jungles, coconut, chocolate, and relaxation.  But I think I’ll pick the ending of my first race—after all, that race has changed the rest of my year and my plans for the next year significantly.

It was a half-marathon, my first race ever.  I had been pushed into it by my trainer, Joe (he was running it as well).  I had only been running for about three months (that’s total, in my life, minus a few months in ninth grade gym class.)  I was TERRIFIED going into the race, and was horribly unprepared to run.  But I knew I could walk, and I knew I could finish, albeit slowly.

After several hours, I was almost done!  The sun was shining, but not too bright.  The sky was clear and blue.  It had been freezing earlier in the morning but it was simply the perfect temperature now.  I was comfortably warm, but not sweaty, not so hot that I became too thirsty.  Lifting each foot felt like lifting cement lumps from the hard rock underneath.  My arms were completely exhausted from hours of swinging, but my legs were… surprisingly still okay.

I looked at my watch and realized I could finish in under three hours, which was better than I had anticipated, if I kept up the pace and ran at least 1/2 mile of the last mile. There were a lot of more spectators around, cheering and holding signs that said things like “Keep your pace.”  I pushed forward, running.  Another 1/2 mile done.  Suddenly the route turned sharply left, and a steep DOWNHILL!  I ran faster (I RAN FASTER!) and felt as if I was about to cry from happiness.  People were cheering, cheering me on (and the runners around me), ringing cowbells.  The road felt hard and rocky under my tired feet.  I pushed myself to run as fast as I could…and I finally crossed the finish line. I had completed my first half-marathon!  As I stopped running I was disoriented, hot, thirsty, hungry, sweaty, and exhausted.  People were passing out medals and water– I took them both–and walked slowly for a bit until I could find a good place to sit down.  And sit down I did, right in the grass, which was surprisingly dry, and much softer than I thought it would be.    I had never been so tired…and I felt a gigantic sense of accomplishment.  I felt like an Olympic athlete!