Remember this guy? His name is Kevin … Or at least that’s the name he would use when spamming my blog with comments! He’s one of my closest friends & teammates – showing up on the blog a few times when cross country & track were in full swing. We’ve had our share of memories over the years from summer runs turning into allergic reaction emergencies, getting lost & having adventures (MOST runs with him involved were always exciting – examples: stuffing a mini vacuum cleaner in a mailbox, forging new trails, carrying a watermelon around town), participating in the first ever Monte XC chocolate milk mile, singing loudly to popular songs on the radio, stalking our track crushes (or rather he made fun of my other teammate & I for that!), & the list truly goes on forever.
Right now, and for the past 2 years, “Kevin” has been on a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was called to serve in Nashville, Tennessee and has had so many incredible opportunities & experiences as a missionary. It has been challenging, humbling at times, and a life-changing decision to be of service to all those around him and share the gospel. Since he’s coming home in September (YAY!!!!!!!), I asked in an email how he was doing as this special time in his life was coming to an end. His response was perfect: a runner’s perspective on enduring hard things.
“First, how am I? Haha, You know how at the final stretch of the last lap of running the mile, there’s this constant battle between your heart and your body, where your heart just wants to give every single ounce of what you have to finish strong, and you know that you will feel the absolute best when you are done if you give it your all, but yet you still have to really fight this little voice in your head that tells you to just let off the gas and cruise at the end? I hope that just made sense. I think that’s what I kind of feel like right now, I just have to keep good form, and make every second count!”
What else can I say to that? The last lap of the mile, that fight within yourself? I totally understand the feeling. That being so, I always ask when we talk, if there is anything I can do to help in anyway. His response, yet again, was running related, personal, & very telling of the person “Kevin” is, and has always been.
“… If I remember right, you told me once that you really disliked the most of the general shouts of encouragement from random other people when you were nearing the end of a race because it didn’t do anything to help your ability to run harder. I’m with in agreement with ya on that, except for when the encouragement came from the select few of those people that knew me well, then it really helped me keep finishing strong.”
Well “Kevin,” I guess I’ll just have to remember to keep my form, relax, and breathe as I continue missing one of my best friends and teammates. To remember your advice as I face college cross country training, working a part-time job, volunteering, being a loving & hard working daughter, helpful research program mentor, pen pal, friend, & all other roles in my life this summer. Oh, and what was that last bit?
Make every second count! :-)
Until next time,