I ran my farthest training run yesterday… eight whole miles. And I’m pleased to say I wasn’t dying by the end. It gives me faith that perhaps I can indeed do this half marathon thing for which I’m training.
At about mile five, I saw an old woman in her yard, struggling to push a lawn mower. She was easily 80, and couldn’t have weighed 100 pounds. Coiffed hair, slacks and a sweater, a string of beads looped around her frail throat.
It took no conscious thought to stop running. I took out my headphones, and realized the mower wasn’t even running. In fact, the yard had just been mowed. I asked if she needed help, and for the next two minutes, she shared how earlier she had been struggling to start the mower, and a man had stopped, started it, and proceeded to mow her front yard. She was trying to push the mower to put it away when I saw her.
“Sometimes people are so nice,” she said.
“Well, we’re supposed to be,” I answered.
She proceeded to tell me how her husband used to do the yard, but he died eleven years ago. And though she had wanted a family, she had none.
“Well, I have a 14 year old son who would be happy to mow your yard for you,” I told her. “We’ll keep an eye on your grass, and I’ll bring him by when it needs mowing.”
We spoke for another minute, and I pushed her mower where she wanted it, and I made a note of her address. The yard is small. It’ll take Jack less than 15 minutes to mow it.
I mentally subtracted 2 minutes from my time, and continued on my run. The last three miles flew by–ok, they didn’t actually fly by. I’m not very fast–but I was re-energized by my chance meeting with the sweet little lady.
While she considered my stopping to be a kind gesture on my part, it was simply a response. What I got from her… a reminder of why I–why we–are here, was the true gift.