" Sergeant JFDI," asked Kipwil anxiously after breakfast, " do you think I can do it? What if I can't run it? What if I take too long?"
" IT'S A CHALLENGE KIPWIL! YOU WILL DO IT, JUST PUT ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER UNTIL YOU CROSS THAT LINE! THERE IS NO CAN'T. NOW MOVE IT!!!!" was the shouted reply.
Hubba Hubba piled the children in the car and hurried Kipwil out the door. On the car trip to the race, Kipwil tried to focus on the music on the radio and not on the mounting sick feeling in the pit of her stomach. The children were chattering the whole trip, excited they had pom poms to shake for the runners, to encourage them further. Kipwil sighed and turned back to the window.
All too soon, they arrived at a large park in 12WBT. Beautiful trees and lush green grass beckoned, the river sparkled a little further on. But Kipwil didn't see all the loveliness. All she could think was 12.7 k, 12.7 k. I can do this. One foot in front of another. over and over and over again. A smiling woman approached and handed Kipwil a piece of paper with some pins.
" Here's your race number. Good Luck! The start line is over there, and Queen Mish will send you on your way." she said, and moved onto another newly arrived racer.
Kipwil hugged Hubba Hubba who wished her luck and high fived the children who were already shaking pom poms at anything that moved. She slowly took her place and waited with hundreds of others to begin her race. Queen Mish greeted the racers and spoke a few words of encouragement but Kipwil could barely hear her for the blood pumping in her ears. She had no problems hearing the countdown though ...5...4....3....2....1 GO!!!!! or the hooter signalling to everyone that the race had begun.
The course ran alongside the river under the cool of a row of ancient trees, before crossing a footbridge, travelling along the opposite side of the river and then heading up the Hill of Heroics. This looped back to the start again and the 12.7 Km runners had this course to run 3 times. Three times...easy, I can do it. Kipwil thought, conveniently glossing over the fact she would face the Hill of Heroics three times as well.
The crowd of runners soon sorted themselves out during the first lap, into the streakers who soon disappeared into the distance, the plodders and the 'I'll give it my best shotters'. Kipwil found her rhythm in the plodders and just concentrated on keeping moving and moving forward. Her first lap up Hill of Heroics surprised her, she powered up and the relief at the top and downhill run was sheer pleasure, almost enough to make her laugh out loud! She was enjoying the run, the sun , the shade, the feeling of being strong. She passed Hubba Hubba and the children who clapped and cheered as she pounded by onto the start of her second lap.
Kipwil took the time now to see the river, how beautiful it was, and watched the rowers in their long boats as she ran. The water pixies were stationed at several points along the course, flying out cups of cool fresh water for all the runners and tipping it over the runners who were feeling the heat. Kipwil could feel a sensation like she was robotic, like her legs had just taken over and she could run for miles and miles and miles. The second attempt on Hill of Heroics saw Kipwil power up again and then, because she was feeling so good, she started to increase her speed.
All around her poeple were starting to fall back, some would just stop, their faces a mask of pain and defeat as they began to slowly walk. The Hill of Heroics defeated many runners with its long slow ascent that sucked the energy out of muscles and the sun began to beat down harder and hotter. Kipwil strengthened her mind and accepted a sip from a passing water pixie, waved at her children and continued on to her third and final lap.
The path was much clearer now. Everyone was feeling tired but were still determined to continue. Kipwil's muscles gave up screaming their messages to her long ago and a delicious type of numbness crept over her legs and made the robotic feeling stronger. Kipwil smiled as she ran, feeling hot, sweaty but knowing the end was in sight and she will DO THIS!
And then came the Hill of Heroics.
Kipwil had been steadily increasing her speed during this lap, lengthening her stride and controlling her breathing. She started powering up Hill of Heroics, overtaking another runner easily and focusing on the next runner to overtake. Then a most unexpected thing happened.
Kipwil was about halfway up the Hill of Heroics and feeling strong when suddenly she felt weak and wobbly, like a feather that could be blown away. She felt so sick, she was so afraid she would embarrass herself and throw up in front of everyone. She struggled on, her mind screaming at her to stop, give up, it doesn't matter, you've done enough, you deserve a rest.....
And that's when Kipwil saw the Other Self shimmering in front of her eyes. What Other Self was saying sounded so good, she WAS nearly finished, she has done enough, she deserves a rest. Kipwil's weakness grew and grew as she considered each statement. But then, she remembered where that thinking took her last time. Squaring her shoulders she shouted " ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER! I WILL DO THIS!!!" and increased her speed, leaving the shimmer of Other Self spinning in her wake before it finally disappeared.
Kipwil strode out strong and hard and turned the final corner. She drew up every ounce of strength she had and sprinted towards the finish line, vaguely hearing her children screaming and cheering and others around her clapping. She burst through the finish line and found herself bathed in a golden light.
' Well Done Kipwil", said Queen Mish, appearing in the golden light." You have done yourself proud. And you have run a good race, in a great time. You have completed the race in 1 hour and 19 minutes and are 288th to finish. Now go and relax and celebrate."
The golden light lifted and Kipwil saw her children and Hubba Hubba standing there, arms out wide for hugs. Kipwil hobbled over, clutching a bottle of water a water pixie had thrust into her hands.
" Good job Babe, you did it! Your last lap was much faster than the others," said Hubba Hubba squeezing her gently.
" Mum that was great! I want to run a fun run too, can I?" Kipwil's children went on.
Kipwil smiled to herself. I did it, I really did it she said incredulously. Just wait until I tell Sergeant JFDI!
A success for our heroine! What will happen next to our lovely lady? Stay tuned.....