The EFM Feature

Several months ago, my friend and I were having a conversation about the movie Bucket List, which is about the things you want to do “before you kick the bucket.”
“What’s on your list,” I asked.
“I’d like to run a half marathon.”
“I’ll do it with you,” I said, without thinking about how much this proposition would cost.
This weekend, I ran in the Music City Half Marathon, where thirty thousand slightly insane people donned shorts and ran (or attempted to run) either 13.1 or 26.2 miles. The reason why so many people had trouble running is because — suddenly — the weather turned hot hot hot. Whereas last year’s marathon was cold and threatening to rain, this year’s was 85 degrees, not a cloud in sight. After training during the cold winter months, dressed in fleece, yesterday was quite a shock to my system. (The photo is of our tired feet which had our tracking sensor on our shoes to record our time.)

But what a spectacle! People running in costumes, people lined up all along the route to yell and encourage their friends, neighbors spraying a water hose so you could run through a mist and cool down. The signs were what got me. “Run Like You Stole It,” and “Marathons: Not as Easy as Your Girlfriend.”
I kept looking forward to mile 11 and asked my “Bucket List friend Jana” not to tell me how far we’d gone until 11. After that, it seemed like 13 was no big deal. Mind you, I’ve never run 13 miles before in my life, but these are the things you think minute after minute in an effort to keep going.

Eleven.

Eleven.
All along the route, people rang cow bells (which you always need more of) and yelled out encouragements. “This is the hardest hill! You’ll have a flat stretch after this!” or “Way to go! You’ve done 8 miles!”
Then, I heard it. “You’ve done eleven miles! Only a little bit more!”
I was thrilled. I started running with a spring in my step and with more clarity. Then, I was looking forward to seeing the next glorious marker, 12, followed by 13, then followed by the nearest patch of grass in the shade I could find. But when it came up?
“11.0″
It totally deflated my bubble. It may not sound like a big deal, but I’d run a mile thinking I was almost finished, and it completely leveled me to realize I had to “re-run” that eleventh mile.
It got me thinking about the damaging effects of false hope. Last night, I was watching Molly, an American Girl movie about WW2 in which the main character’s dad goes to war.
“Do you promise you’ll be safe?”
“I promise,” the dad reassures his daughter, a bold declaration especially considering the mortality rate of soldiers in that awful war.
Hope — the endlessly bandied around word, especially in this political cycle — has to be based on truth or it’s not hope at all. It’s merely “wishful thinking,” which is quite different than the life-giving joy of true hope.
This is what I thought about as I ran my eleventh mile… again.


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