Tonight was the last meeting of my summer running group, and at our little party afterward there were prizes. I was unreasonably excited about my perfect attendance award: sunshine yellow running socks. Then Jill the coordinator announced that they were giving out two MVP awards. The first one went to my neighbor, who could not be more deserving. She has had a ton of pulmonary issues so she can't go very fast, but by golly she is determined. She is cheerful and encouraging to everyone who passes by and she knows a surprising number of our names. Where another person (naming no names here) might be tempted to say, "Don't sprain your ankle running so stupid fast," she says, "Looking good, Kelly! Keep it up, Jane!" I was trying to think of who else in the group was similarly cheerful and encouraging, and I was astonished to hear my own name called.
Jill said, "Jamie ran in group 2 last year and she wasn't sure if she should try group 3 this year. But she did, and she rocked it." And if your definition of "rocked it" is "persevered grimly while surfing alternating waves of self-pity and self-doubt," that is totally true.
I was talking to my husband about running a week or two ago. I told him I've never worked so hard to be marginally above average. It's been humbling, and frustrating, and weirdly addictive. Tonight when Jill high-fived me and handed me my shiny new running hat, I couldn't have been any gladder, or prouder, or more determined to keep at it. Next year, level 4! (I think.)