An Ode to The Beast

This is our last hurrah, dear friend. After this, you may finally rest. 

You were the unsung hero that powered my rise. An essential piece to completing the puzzle. The support I needed to reach higher heights.

When I first laid my eyes on you, I winced. You weren’t cool, and people like me care about cool. But they said you were the best, and that we would make great partners. I was skeptical, but I usually defer to those who know better.

Though our introduction was forgettable, you soon validated the claims about your abilities. Watching you in action was like nothing I experienced before. Prior partnerships held me back–you encouraged me to go further. Faster. Stronger. More confidently.

After we conquered our first mountain, the success spurred an unprecedented flurry of events. We went to battle together, you and I. After each bout, we came away the victor, looking more and more impressive. The people cheered; I smiled; you remained quiet, unassuming, content outside the spotlight. Even when I tried to share the light with you, you refused, allowing it to fall on me. Thank you for your unselfishness.

As my conquests expanded, I aimed to preserve you where I could. However, when it came to the most important campaigns, I turned to you–and you always answered the call. When I decided to go forward with my biggest challenge yet, you knew it and I knew it–this was likely our last ride together. But what a ride it would be!

The preparation pushed us past our previous boundaries, into uncharted territory. We stumbled; we failed at times. Though I questioned secretly if you still had enough, I always knew where I was going to turn, no matter what.

This is our last hurrah, dear friend. After this, you may finally rest. 

I whispered those words to you the cold morning of December 6, as the rain began falling. Dramatic and hyperbolic, as I am wont to be.

And so it began. We left. One last time. Together. We cut through the water, clamored up the hills, shimmied down the streets. We started fast, as the adrenaline coursed through my veins. My glee could not be contained from our strong start. But I think you knew. It is, after all, a marathon, not a sprint.

The struggles started around halfway in. You felt like you were laboring, grinding. I felt this from you before, and it’s a foreboding sign. But I pressed on, confident we would make it. After a rough stretch, you persevered, and we continued.

Then the afflictions started laying into me. Fatigue. Weakness. Burning. Questioning. Why was I out here? Why am I doing this? Should I stop? Will I break? This was the ultimate test, not one of physical endurance, but mental fortitude. But I knew I was strong enough to keep going, and that while the pain was real, it would only be temporary–the glory would last forever.

So we forged on. I remember begging you, please, just last four more miles. Three more miles. Two more miles. One more mile. As we made the final turn together, the finish in sight, I used the last bit of energy I had in my body to burst through the end. Because we don’t end on a whimper–we end on a bang.

We did it, my friends. But not just 26.2 miles on Saturday, December 6th in Sacramento, CA. Not just 20 races over the past 16 months. We proved that “impossible” is just another problem waiting to be solved.

Now you may take your well-deserved rest. You took me through an amazing first chapter–thank you. You won’t be forgotten, you magnificent Beast.

 

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