Saturday's 10-mile long run was a struggle for me. I started off well, running the first 5 miles at about a 9:35 pace, and then when I made the turn-around, things got tough.
I battled 20+ mile-per-hour wind gusts and a gradual incline most of the way back. The last 1 1/2 miles of the run, however, was more than a gradual incline against those winds, and I was really huffing and puffing. But a few thoughts went through my mind as I struggled up the incline.
First, I thought about my step-father Ronnie, who at this time last year was in the last weeks of his life, suffering from malignant brain cancer. I thought about how much my mother would love to have him back, after being with him constantly the past 20 years. So I kept going.
I also thought about how there were troops coming home from overseas, some permanently damaged by the ravages of war, and how some of them would give anything just to stand again, and here I am running 10 miles. I kept going.
And last, I thought about my Team McGraw teammate, Jen McDevitt, who is probably THE toughest person I've ever met. She's battling those evil brain tumors, and she's running marathons, half-marathons, and 10+ mile weekend runs, and being a great mother and wife. Surely doing all she's doing with all that stuff going on in her noggin should make this little inconvenience nothing for me.
So I sprinted the last half mile. Ya gotta believe, I never felt so good after a run.