A Long Race

There’s a kind of winded,

like lying on your back

in the grass,

gasping to catch up, catch a break,

catch a breath,

from the very many things that have you running,

round and round,

over and under;

jumping through hoops to maintain a race

that you thought was going to be a sprint,

and ended up being so very much

longer than that.

Because every time you crested a hill,

every time you rounded a corner,

you thought that maybe, just maybe,

this would be the finish line;

maybe this would be where they clapped,

or at least nodded in your direction,

and you could sit on the curb,

hands on your knees, gasping,

but relieved.

Because you’ve finished,

at least for the time being.

But not yet, not right now.

There are still things to do,

to read,

to write,

to plan,

to organize,

to do,

to communicate,

to think through,

to attend

and the race will not finish for awhile yet.


But, in this gasping,

this going,

this pushing through the stitch in your side,

the sweat stinging your eyes,

the mindless thud, thud of feet on the ground,

over and over again,

there are breaks, pauses, little respites.

Like a garage door that won’t open,

a delayed dinner,

and an accidental encounter with gentle people

who listen to your words

and reflect your smile

and share a meal with you,

their calm kindness

seeping into your heart, your mind, your tired body,

like an energy drink,

a powerbar,

a banana,

in the middle of that long, long race.

And then you’re back on the track,

moving steadily,


but your breath has evened,

the gasping is gone,

because you had a pause,

and you had peace,

and the warm wind of those moments

will push your forward,

at least for another mile or two.



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Bryan
    Sep 26, 2014 @ 15:47:42

    Hey Natalia! I really enjoy your running/life analogy. When we take those first steps of a long run, we cannot imagine how long or painful the journey will be. No one plans on having both their hamstring and quad cramp in the same leg during mile 22, or turning the final corner to face a mountainous mile climb to the finish, or losing the trail among the trees and wandering off course. These things happen. But the amazing thing is that after we finish, we look back and don’t remember the pain, the dehydration, the part where we blacked out, any of it. What we do remember are the people who ran with us, pushed us on toward the goal. We remember the sense of accomplishment as we plodded across the finish line. Perhaps not right away, but as the months pass after crossing the finish, we can look back and say, “That was awesome!” Then we sign up for another race and do it to ourselves all over again :-)


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