Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The First Mile

As I reached out from beneath my blankets this morning to turn off my alarm clock, I reminded myself of something our Team In Training mentor, Dave, had emailed the team last week. I've included a copy at the bottom of this post.

Dave is a TnT alum. He completed his first marathon a couple of years ago when he turned 50. He runs with us every Sunday, encouraging us to push ourselves farther, offer fundraising tips or talk about other aspects of TnT program.

When my alarm went off just before 6 a.m. today, it was dark and cold. The temperature was only 63 degrees inside my house. It was barely 40 degrees outside.

It was hard to get out of bed, but I knew I had to do it. With other commitments scheduled after work, I needed to get in a morning run if I was going to stick to the schedule.

I bundled up a little more than usual for my 3-mile jaunt. I clipped on flashing red lights -- one for me and one for Rebel -- so that passing drivers would see us on the side of the road.

For the first mile or so, I ran with my hands tucked inside the sleeves of my shirt to keep them warm. My face was cold. I could see my breath.

Rebel, on the other hand, seemed to love the cool air. He pranced around a little as we ran. If it's possible that dogs smile, he was definitely smiling when he looked up at me. Maybe he was laughing at me.

It's only September, I reminded myself.

The New England mornings are going to get darker and colder as my training progresses through the fall and winter months.

Soon, my body had warmed up. The chill in the air actually felt good.

Sometimes -- most times -- getting started is the hardest part.


I just finished running.

It's 6:12am.

During the run many revelations came that paralleled this morning's run to life.

There are two very difficult miles to run no matter how long the run.

The First and the Last Mile.

I usually run five miles or more.

The first mile is the hardest and the one most missed.

You see, you have to get started to run the first mile.

It's hard to get started.

I have to get out of bed.

Those first few steps that wake a sleeping body are part of the first mile.

They are tougher than the steepest hill.

You have a race to run, a course to complete, or a project that awaits you.

You too have a first mile. And your first mile is tough, just like mine.

When I take my first step outside most of my run is completed.

I've accomplished the hardest part.

I've gotten started and stepped out.

The next few steps bring out the stiffness of your body as the muscles stretch and your lungs fill with the crisp, cool morning air. It's still dark outside and menacing shadows reach out from strange corners.

Darkness creates a different, somewhat eerie world.

There could be dangers in the shadows but danger usually doesn't get up this early.

If there are any aches and pains, the first mile will bring them out.

The greatest probability that you will give up and turn back is in the first mile.

The vast majority make new year's resolutions each year. Most have broken them at the end of the first two weeks.

The first two weeks is the first mile.

Miles 2, 3 and 4 are usually uneventful, but the last mile is a doozy. There is something about the last mile that's a real stretch and it doesn't matter whether I am running 2 miles or 10 miles. The last mile is a real stretch. The effects of the previous miles pile up but at the same time you can ‘see’ the finish.

And so it is with life.

To get started is a strain.

To finish is a stretch.

The First and The Last Mile

What's your first mile?

Have you donated to my fundraising campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society? If not, please consider doing so. You can donate online at http://www.active.com/donate/tntma/Teresa. Please pass this link to everyone you know. Every dollar helps me get a little closer to the Disney 13.1!

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