‘Twas the Night Before Race Day

Taking a little break to spend the holidays with my family.  But before I do, I leave you with this little gem.

Twas the night before the race, when all through the house
No one was sleeping, not even my spouse.
My race clothes were laid out on the chair with care,
In hopes that the temperatures provided cool racing air.

The alarm clock was set, and an extra just in case
While I reviewed my splits and figured out my pace.
With my tummy full of pasta and snuggled in my bed
I closed my eyes, visions of PR’s dancing in my head.

When suddenly I was there, at the crowded starting line
Surrounded by runners whose shoes looked fancier than mine.
When what to my wandering eyes should appear
But Bart Yasso and friends, laughing at me. Oh, dear.

Lively and quick, the crowd appeared
Much quicker than me. I’d be trampled, I feared.
My stomach in knots, my palms getting sweaty
The start gun went off, but I didn’t feel ready.

The masses surged forward with a spring in their step
But I stumbled forward. I just had no pep.
Mile 1. Mile 2. They passed in a blur.
Suddenly the pasta within me began to stir.

I searched high and low for Honey Bucket relief
Before my stomach could give me more grief.
A brief pit stop and I was back on the course
Charging ahead like a Thoroughbred horse.

I passed by each aid station with volunteers so nice
Grabbing water and fuel and, if lucky, some ice.
They gave me high-fives. “Looking great,” they said.
I wondered if they were lying or just sick in the head.

Mile 12. Mile 13. I’m halfway there.
My stomach was calm. My legs felt fair.
I started to dream. I started to believe.
Maybe it’s possible, that PR to achieve.

The crowd had thinned out, but one runner remained.
He’d been with me from the start, but his pace started to wane.
He grunted, he spit, he shook out his hands.
With a grimace, he quit. But I had other plans.

Mile 17, 18. “You’re almost there!”
If I’d had the strength I would have thrown a chair.
I’m not almost there. I have eight miles to go.
The fatigue in my face was starting to show.

I took a deep breath and ate another chew.
This distance is too much. I think I’m through.
I’ll never run again. I’ll find another hobby.
Knitting or swimming or maybe karate.

Mile 22, 23. Only 5K to go.
I’m too close to quit. I can do this, I know.
My family is waiting and I want to go home
With my head held high and a medal to show.

Mile 24, 25. My victory lap!
One more mile and I can take a nap.
One step at a time, I’ll get there soon.
When I cross the finish line, I’ll feel over-the-moon.

Then suddenly what to my bleary eyes did appear?
The finish line and my sweet family, so dear.
Off in the distance, it seemed a mirage.
Just a few more steps and I’ll get my massage.

The crowds cheered me in as I sprinted ahead.
I’d made it! I did it! I wasn’t dead!
My feet crossed the mat with my hands to the sky.
I am a runner! I am! My joy amplified.

With my medal around my neck, chocolate milk I sought.
This feeling I feel simply can’t be bought.
I did something hard. I did something tough.
I did my best and it was more than enough.

As we walked to the car and headed home to shower
I felt grateful and happy that my legs had the power.
I waved to my friends as we drove out of sight.
Happy race day to all, and to all a good night.

-Kim Cowart

Happy Holidays!  This year, may the wind be at our backs!

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