Friday, April 8, 2011

The Wall - A Story Revisited

I like to share a story I wrote to Runner's World back in August 2010.  It's about my experience of "hitting the wall" as runners would call it.  It's also known as "bonking" when your entire system collapse and your body tells you to quit.

"Somewhere around mile twenty, it hit me.  Instead of a wall, I found the truth." - John Bingham

My most memorable Mile 20 experience happened during the California International Marathon in Sacramento, CA in 2005.  At Mile 20 of the race is a water station decorated with an arch that resembled a brick wall.  It's really a humorous sight to see as you approach it, except when you are actually "hitting the wall".  That's exactly what happened to me in this particular race.  While the other runners were pumping their fist and cheering on themselves and each other for passing the wall, I was grimacing.  My legs just started feeling like it was loaded with lead.  My calf muscles felt tight like a sack bursting in the seam with sand. I started to slow down and every step I take was hard.  I felt depleted and thought of giving up.

But then I remembered what my wife gave to me the night before.  She gave me a folded piece of note inside a ziploc bag. She tucked it in inside my fuel belt and said, "Open and read it at Mile 20."  So I pulled out the note and read it. "Dear Love, I am so proud of you.  Thank you for running.  Tim and I can't wait to meet you at the finish line. Love, Jinky and Tim."  Tears started rolling down my cheeks.  I looked up ahead of me and I started running one step after another.  I said to myself I would finish the marathon with all that I have left for I can't wait a minute longer to see my family.

Yes I hit the wall at Mile 20, but I also discovered a truth about myself.  In the midst of struggles along life's journey, it's my family that keeps me going.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful anecdote. I'm sorry to hear about your wife. She must be very proud of you.

    I hope I get to overcome my "32km" wall when I do my first marathon fueled by a similar inspiration.
    Regards Sir Joey.