The road that is life is a long journey. Sometimes you have your route all planned out while other times it seems like you are always stopping and asking for directions. There are even occasional moments where you sit there and wonder, “how did I get here anyway?” Recently, while running a 20-miler in preparation for the first marathon of my life, I found myself asking this very question.
I was eight years old, enjoying a family picnic in the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. Three of my siblings and I were playing in the river when we heard the loud clanging of metal from the opposite bank. We turned in unison to see our mom beating a garbage can lid with a stick and yelling inaudibly. We looked at her, then at one another, and yelled back in chorus “What?” She repeated herself a second time in true southern fashion…(slow and drawn out) “There…Is…A…Bear…Behind…You!”
While it is always fun to remember the adventures and detours that life has given us, sometimes we come across a memory or a moment that is more. That moment is a life changer that leads us down a trail that wasn’t even on the map. This memory is where I found my answer to the question that I have been asked many times in my marathon training…"why did you start running?" My answer…to stay alive!
(Oh and my brother, the one who carried my other brother to safety…he is a park ranger.)
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