Every Wednesday night at six o’clock you’ll find around two hundred people standing in front of a yellow East Nashville house in tennis shoes. Collectively, they have a name: East Nasty.
Since moving to Nashville in 2009, I have heard countless legends of this band of runners, and their fearless leader, Mark Miller. This fall, when I began teaching at Christ Presbyterian Academy, I had a chance to meet Mark in person, and borrow his Calvin and Hobbes comics in order to teach my students a little something more about John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes. You see, Mark isn’t just an advanced runner, he’s also an advanced calculus teacher.
Fast forward to a few months later, when with a job-loss looming, I decided to run the Music City Half Marathon. But I was struggling.
I had painfully reached the six-mile marker when I realized that I was desperate for help. Thankfully, in a divine appointment, I was seated at the same table with Mark at a professional development about bullying. Mark asked if I wanted to join the East Nasty team in preparing for the half marathon. Feigning confidence, I looked through the training schedule with inner turmoil. But I agreed.
|Mark. International Bad-Ass.|
So, last Wednesday night, along with two-hundred other folks– I ran a 4 mile course around East Nashville. I met new people, and was forced to keep up with the runner next to me–because she had a headlamp. Who knew the road would be so dark?
Yesterday, I woke up early to join about one-hundred other half-marathon runners to do a tempo run– a total 80 minutes of running. About halfway in, I was ready to give up. Instead? My pace-group leader came to the back and ran with me, making sure I made it to the end.
|Ugh. I pulled a hamstring just looking at it.|
|The fearless pace leader, Gunjan|
And that’s how it is. The road gets dark, and sometimes you forget to bring your headlamp. The race gets long, and sometimes you feel like giving up. But, we are running with a great crowd of other people who want to push us on.
So whether you are in a literal race, or simply are in a stretch of your life that feels long–don’t give up. Turn to someone near to you. Ask for help. Join the crowd.