05 August 2011

Time Out

I'd like to take a break from the regularly scheduled program of books, words and other nerd-ish writerly things and boast about my 11 year old for a bit.

I try to keep my running accomplishments to my Twitter feed or on Facebook. My own running has lead to my 11 year old wanting to run in a 5k with me. He's my stepson, and as such, he is over at my house on a part-time basis.

He was pretty insistent so I found one that was during the same time we would have him -- last Wednesday.

At this point, he has had minimal training, other than 1 or 1 1/2 mile runs with me. He's done well on those, so his dad and I are not too worried about the 5k (that's 3.1 miles for you.)

He was stoked to be going. Thrilled almost out of his skin. Standing at the front of the line with all of the fast runners.

Me? I'm in the middle of the pack. I'm good with that.

Pretty soon the runners weed out and I spot him. And watch him fall to a walk. About a quarter of a mile in.

At the half mile mark he is ready to give up, but I won't let him. He can see the water station and that keeps him going.

The next mark that keeps him going is the half way point where we loop back by the crowd that's there to cheer us on - including Dad, Grandma and little brother. Can't quit here either.

For the last half of the race, sheer determination and fortitude kept him going; until he caught sight of the finish line about a quarter of a mile away.

He wanted to quit. He sat down and declared himself to be done.

This is the toughest thing that the guy has ever done. And he sees no reason to keep going. After all, the finish line is an impossible distance away and he almost got there. How big of a deal is it to quit now?

However, he had some determined fans who cheered him through. He sprinted to the end and claimed his reward -- a Dilly Bar.

As we drove home, I had to ask, was it worth it?

Totally, was the one word answer.

I hope you can also see the parallel to writing, and have goals, people supporting the journey. Writing has a clear cut finish line too. For most, it is publication. But how many of us collapse, just a quarter of a mile away from the finish line?

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