13.1 miles.

Over a freaking mountain.

10 years in a row.

But this time the Race to Robie Creek was different. This one was harder.

This time, I carried the weight of my wife’s cancer diagnosis and six month’s worth of chemotherapy treatments. Not to mention an extra 15 or so pounds of my own that I didn’t previously have.

Nevertheless, I did it.

I set out slow, not expecting much for a finishing time. Hell, I just wanted to finish. My longest training runs this year were never more than 8 miles. I took it intentionally slow at the beginning, and didn’t push too hard trying to climb up the hill.

I just wanted something left in the tank for the downhill and the finish.

And it worked.

Gravity was my friend on the steeper parts of the downhill, and my patience earlier in the run paid off. But it wasn’t over yet. There were still several tough miles ahead.

Mile 11. That was for my kids. They may never realize it, but they make me want to do better. To be better.

Mile 12. That was for my wife. She’s done so many incredibly difficult things in the last six months and kept a positive attitude throughout it all. There have been hard times, but she never let that stop her. If she can go through that kind of hell, I knew I could make it another mile.

Mile 13 (and .1). That was for me.

When it was all said and done, somehow I even managed to finish 7 minutes faster than last year. How? I’m not quite sure. But I’ll take it.

And come April 18, 2020, I’ll do it all over again — provided I can get registered of course.

Because sometimes the hard things have to be done.

Because I still can.

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