Preparing for the Race

I can feel the tensing in my thighs,
the rising heat in my calves,
pushing into the fourth mile
of this day’s training.

Even though the cycle
of elliptical path takes me nowhere,
I picture the course in my mind:
a dirt path, tree roots stretched across,
the dips of ditches and banks
and the steep climb up
on the other side.

Sweat seems to stream
from upper arms and neck,
runs from my forehead;
every seam of clothing is soaked.

Alternating every four-tenths of a mile,
I do twelve rapid reps on each of the
weight machines–
elbows tucked against the ribs
to keep from further injury
to the torn ligaments in the shoulder–
run back to the elliptical.

Nearing the fifth mile,
I feel that urging of the body,
the tiredness of legs and arms,
wanting me to ease up,
to be more sane,
feel the sharper pain in my side.

It is then that I picture
the last quarter-mile,
the uphill run that leads to done,
and I push,
forcing joint and tendon,
muscle and heart
to that final surge of completing
what was begun.

It is this discipline
of doing the difficult,
of refusing to surrender
to the weaknesses of flesh
that gives me hope
that I will finish the race,
complete the course,
and cross that final line
unashamed.

H. Arnett
9/10/11

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About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Blair, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-five years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-one grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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