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Chilling Resilience

I awoke before my alarm, filled with hope and buzzing with energy. I laced up my shoes on that frigid morning with the excitement bubbling in me like a pot boiling over. The prospect of conquering another 5K (and of a shiny new medal and snacks at the finish line) filled me lofty thoughts of PRs and glory, driving away any sense of discomfort I had from the biting cold. There was, for the record, much discomfort I cast aside at this point. Despite five top layers and three on the bottom, gloves and a thermal hat, the sub freezing temp (real feel in the teens) felt as if it was depositing a layer of frost directly to my bones.

The starting line buzzed with energy and the race commenced. I felt really quite good running alongside my partner, my strides strong and purposeful against the icy wind and chilled pavement. However, as the kilometers ticked by, the cold seeped deeper into me. I knew Jack Frost had his fingers tightly around me by halfway through. A nagging pain began to form in my shins, they ached and cried out for relief. Ignoring the warning signs, I pushed on, determined to reach the finish line. My calves soon joined their counterparts in protest, refusing to cooperate. My determination was met with a harsh reality as sharp cramps shot through my legs, threatening to bring me to a halt.

My body rebelled against my will, pleading for respite from the relentless pounding of this icy course. In that moment of despair, I faced a choice: succumb to the pain and disappointment or summon the strength to persevere. I reminded myself of the hours I'd sunk into training, the early mornings spent pounding the pavement, the dedication that brought me to this point and still has so far to carry me.

Now, dear reader, a harsh truth: I am not invincible. Neither are you or any of us. I try to convince myself often of my unwavering resolve to carry on and do the hard things. Sometimes, I waver. It is only natural. We have to all realize at some point we cannot do everything.

I have spent the last ten days immersed not in nature and training, but on calls in front of screens. This does not make me weak, nor does it break my resolve. It is a reminder to be kind to ourselves. That having to slow down is a part of the process. Progress is a journey and it is never a straight line.

With a few bouts of walking thrown in, and several four letter words flung towards my own aching legs, I carried on. Slowly but steadily, I pushed through the agony. Having taken care of myself, massaged out much of the ache, I drew upon reserves of resilience I never knew I possessed. Once again, I ran.

As I crossed the finish line, a wave of euphoria washed over me, transcending the physical discomfort that still pulsed through my weary limbs. In that moment, I realized that the true essence of adventure lies not only in the thrill of victory but also in the journey of self-discovery and growth. It was a reminder that life, like a race, is filled with unexpected obstacles and challenges, but it is our ability to persevere, accept, and find joy in the journey that ultimately defines our success.

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