The bottom of my feet grew warmer as they hit the pavement which lied next to the sandy beach. The ocean breeze hit my sweaty face as I threw one leg in front of the other. I could feel the muscles in my thighs and calves move and tighten, and as I passed the halfway point of my first 10K race, I looked over to my race partner quietly huffing and wiping sweat from his brow.
My boyfriend smiled, “We’re almost there! We can do it! We’re going to make it!”
I shot him a glance in my exhausted state. “I’m going to finish, but we’ll see about running the whole way to the finish line.”
The only thoughts that came to mind after that were a mild sense of regret, I can just stop running now and drive to Starbucks. I don’t really need a race medal do I? Maybe we could just call off the half marathon?
“Whohoo! I think I caught my second wind!” My boyfriend was obviously tired, but he exuded optimism and confidence that we would both finish the race together. “Let’s pick up the pace after that second sign.”
I groaned a little. “Okay. Let’s do this.”
We ran, very slowly, to the point where we could see the finish line.
“I see the Gatorade coolers and the flag!” He pointed to the finish line located just after the curve. “Let’s sprint to the end. I’ll race you!”
“Ready. Set. Go!”
We sprinted all the way to the finish with my legs just barely stretching over the line before his crossed over.
“One o’ five twenty-five!” It wasn’t the best time, but I could live with it seeing that I almost quit in the middle of the race to go get coffee. One of the race coordinators congratulated us and placed medals around our necks. “You guys really picked up the pace at the end there. Good job!”
I smiled and responded with a “thank you,” as I tried to grab the cups of water and Gatorade that were also being handed to me.
My boyfriend and I hugged in celebration that we finished a 10K together. “We did it!” He said as he sipped his “free” beverage. “Now we need to drink our money’s worth of Gatorade before we leave.”
I smiled. I was glad that I had forcefully encouraged my boyfriend into running a 10K and a half marathon with me. I realized after accidentally becoming a running couple this year that his positive thinking was beginning to balance out my more pessimistic views–and this was just the beginning.