I'm watching the last of the men's 50K cross country skiers come to the finish line. I don't know if NBC kept the cameras rolling because it's good form to honor the last as well as the first, athlete to cross the line or if it was because the final finisher is a Dartmouth College student, but I am glad they did. I have an appreciation for the final finisher that I did not have before I limped across the finish line of a 5K last spring.
Yup, I was last. What a mind game that is. I spent a lot of emotional energy deciding whether it would be better to call it quits or suck up the shreds of pride I had left and get across the line. I even stopped to take a picture along the route! I wouldn't do that again. I would, instead, reach deeper and keep the finish line in focus. Yes, I'd rather not be last. I think there is a dignity in crossing the finish line that I did not understand before.
I've had another champion in mind this week as I've watched Olympic champions. This week was the anniversary of Gena's death. Now, there was a woman who never gave up! Her mantra was KEEP GOING! Even after 10 years of fighting cancer, I never really thought she'd stop. I like to think that God got tired of waiting for her, yanked her to-do list from her hand and said, "Come home."
We're now in the count-down to the big U.S. - Canada match for the ice hockey gold. Some will wear gold home, some will wear silver. They'll give it their all... just as the team that was eliminated first gave it their all.
This year, that 5K will be run again. I had toyed with the idea of scaling back and participating in the 1 mile "fun run" rather than marching through those 3.1 miles. The race is in 3 weeks and I haven't trained at all. My decision was made for me yesterday when I either dislocated or broke the little toe on my right foot. The way is clear, now. I'll be a course cheerleader. I'll wait for the last runner or walker on the course and, with all my heart, yell, "KEEP GOING!"