A Race to Finish

Sometimes I find it hard to put into words exactly what’s going on in my head. Seems contrary to the way it should be since I tout myself as a writer. But with everything going on around me these days, and having a natural tendency to be an introvert, expressing my thoughts has been doubly hard.

With the political climate, the Columbia Gorge burning down, and the series of hurricanes coming ashore, it feels that there are more important things to talk about. But I woke up this morning thinking I had it wrong. That during these stressful times, that’s exactly when to change the conversation. Or at least to add something else to it. To lighten it up, and to make it about something other than the reality we’re facing.

In that vein, I’m going to tell you about my race. Three weeks ago, along with eleven other women, we traversed 130 miles from Portland to Seaside, Oregon, relay style. I’ve done the charity event before, and swore I would never do it again. So much for resolve. I was walker number 2.

And I’m glad I ignored my nay-saying self and got my butt in that van for the 34 hours that it took to complete the race. I wasn’t in the best of shape I’ve ever been in, and a part of me didn’t think I could get it done. But done I did. I had a goal of 15-minute miles, and I came in on both legs at closer to 14 minutes. I had the comradery of being with five other women in my van, and the chance to cheer them on. At the end, the 12 members of Sassy Chassis crossed the finish line together.  All and all, a wonderful experience. Did I mention yet I’ve already signed up for next year?

The event kickstarted my exercise regimen. Where before I drug myself out for a walk, now I know I have no excuses. I walked to the coast after all. Telling myself I can’t put 45 minutes on a treadmill at 4 mph just doesn’t fly any more. I don’t believe my own B.S.

What I also found fun was how I applied my being a writer to the race. About 4 miles into my last leg, I was breaking it down in my head as a three-act storyline. I’d started out strong, let myself have a decent pace through the middle, and accelerated to the end. The thought kept me moving, and I passed 6 people on my way up a daunting hill and to my hand-off.

I guess the lesson is that you don’t stop. With everything going around us, it’s more important than ever to do the things we love. To believe in ourselves. To write the novels. To take the walks. To spend time with the people we enjoy most. There will always be political climates that are stressful. There will always be storms. And fires. And challenges. We can focus on them, or we can notice them, do our part, and keep moving. It’s all we’ve got.

Mary

P.S. Here are some photos of my race. What can you be doing to keep moving?

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