Only Half Crazy


Bernadette Wayne

I need to prove that I can:
“If you can run a 10K, you can run a half,” they said.
My bike accumulates dust and jealousy,
while my shoes rack up miles and confidence on the trail.

A word of advice–don’t try 6 miles two days after giving blood.
8 miles…9…11…a new celebration after each “first.”
Rest and ice the achilles for 2 weeks.
Race day–Just. Don’t. Walk!

The starting gun sends adrenaline pumping
As my feet find their familiar rhythm.
Up the first hill through Eden, I am thankful for the pacer
Reminding us to push yet conserve.

By mile 3 I am content to leave the pace pack behind,
To find my zone, to melt the tension that had iced my calves.
I round the corner on Madison and block after block are young girls,
Aspiring to be us, not realizing they’re inspiring us.

Just past 5, I stoop down to give a high-five,
To a fierce little one, cheering in a tutu,
Barely walking, and I think, “One day this will be you, too.”
I toss back a water to flush out the lump in my throat.

The cheers in my earbuds ring furiously for me at 7,
“Ohhh, you’re halfway there…”
Just past half of a half; four Gatorades down,
6 miles to go, eat the energy of the gel,
see the crowd, hear the music.

I stride past 11, the furthest I’ve ever gone.
Is the pack growing thinner? Why do people keep walking?
The doubt slithers in through the cracks of my confidence,
But I am stronger. “Walk for water only,” I bargain.

In another eternity I reach 12.
I round up all remaining strength
And visualize it pulsing into my legs
It’s all mental from here–Just. Don’t. Walk.

Paces quicken,
Bass is thumping, or is that my heart?
The cheering of the crowd holds high and steady,
But my only concern is maintaining speed.

We round the last corner,
In my mind, I am sprinting,
But my legs are protesting
As I fight to cross the finish.

A cape, then a flower, and finally a crown:
Why would I not do this again?

Last modified: July 29, 2018

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