Before I was a runner, I was a writer. I used to write A LOT. And one of my biggest fans was my Grandma Bentley. Every time I talked to her on the phone or would visit, she would ask,”Have you written any poems lately?”
“No. I’ve been bad, Grandma. Sorry.”
“Why don’t you write me a poem?”
“I don’t care. Anything.”
But I was too busy. Being an English major always sounds cool, but nobody wants to pay you for it. After I graduated and was no longer required to write, it fell by the wayside. Grandma was always on me about it though.
Then Jason helped. I’d talked about starting a blog to get back into writing. He tricked me into it by saying he was going to start a blog, and it was going to have more readers than my blog. Of course, I had to prove him wrong. That’s what husbands are for.
So we have the Hospital Hill races coming up this weekend, and I was thinking of how I would word it on my Status (even with just a simple social media blurb, us English major obsess over creating well-crafted, grammatically-correct, witty Facebook updates). I had a few rhyming lines pop into my head. They just kind of floated around in my brain.
Then Grandma was admitted to the hospital this past weekend. And even though her test results didn’t show anything, she was really sick and her heart in A-fib. Then it became critical. They figured out it was pneumonia. She’s been sedated and on a ventilator now for a few days.
And suddenly the poem was fully born. It was a somewhat disjointed, messy process. But when these things come to you, you just have to let them out. To write it down and get it out and see what you’ve been bottling up for years.
It started out being about the race – we will run a 5k Friday night and then run the Half Marathon the next morning. You get 3 medals total (the 5K, the half, and the re-run medal) and bragging rights for life. Hospital Hill is my favorite race. Although my racing history has its ups and downs, I’ve always performed very well there.
But as verse spilled out, it went a different direction. See, the hills are metaphors for overcoming life’s obstacles (I warned you – I’m professionally trained to do stuff like this). They suck, but once you’re over them, you feel awesome. You are a BAMF. Running and life are always a struggle but rewarding ones.
Some of my life’s hills were overcoming running stereotypes. I competed in high school but wasn’t fast or a scholarship athlete. I also strength training just as much as I put in mileage. I had to look past what people told me was a runner and find my own definition.
I found my strength was pacing longer distances and literally conquering hills – and Hospital Hill is 13.1 miles of pacing up hills. So for me, it’s home.
This one’s for you, Grandma.
The Hospital Hill Run
5K Friday Night
Half Marathon Saturday – Alright!
Oh, what a thrill!
As we conquer the hill
Not once, but twice
(those extra medals will be nice)
Here I start steady and slow
but when I pass you, you’ll know
A race isn’t won in the first mile
It takes hard work for quite awhile
Society scoffs at my thighs of thunder
But I’ve got a PR time to plunder
“Runners should be fast and thin.
Those are the people who usually win!”
Just because I have lots of muscle
Doesn’t mean this chick can’t hustle
I still get a medal and a shirt
And my body will feel less hurt
If it isn’t right running strong
Then I’ll gladly always be wrong
Tomorrow I’ll still walk down the stairs
with happy muscles and few cares
My knees might be a different story
but they’ll still bask in post-race glory
I’m a pacer not a racer
but you can bet
These determined legs aren’t done yet
Up the hills I run faster
For I am…
…The Hill Master
Anyone who has the heart,
– the courage to finish and even to start –
and knows we always have it “funner”
should be proud to call themselves