Stephen King said, “The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.”
The RemembeRed memoir assignment this week, from Write on Edge, asked us to write a memoir post inspired by that statement – in 300 words or less.
The energy of the crowd surrounded me. I tried to sink into the excitement. I pretended to be strong and fearless. My friends paced and pranced, our race numbers pinned proudly to our chests. Hours alone in my quiet and private basement seemed insignificant. I could stop whenever I wanted; take a break when it got too hard. But this, this was public: hundreds of women and young girls chatting and laughing loudly.
Burning the last few pounds of baby weight required effort. Besides having a baby, that year was difficult. I missed my friends and family. I missed Texas and I endured a custody battle. DW had been a rock, but I still felt so disconnected from myself.
A friend suggested a 5k as a goal. I could train indoors all winter, race in the spring. I ran every day. Some days were easier than others. I listened to music, keeping pace with the low hum of the treadmill, following the deep rhythms of the bass lines. I got lost in the lyrics. I didn’t have to think.
But as I stood on the blacktop, shivering in May’s early morning chill, I felt panic. Several friends decided to run, both for the experience and for encouragement. They had watched me struggle all year. Some had prayed with me, or for me. Others brought meals and offered babysitting.
Now we ran together.
Without music, my mind focused on the sounds of my body. The pavement felt strange. I felt unstable as I reflected on the previous year. Two miles in, I started to cry. It was not out of pain or exhaustion, but from relief. Relief that the year was over and I had survived. I was stronger and I had been fearless. I ran until I was empty.