I hit a wall during my first big race at about Mile 18. I could feel myself start to flag, dreading the next eight miles, gritting my teeth and saying a little prayer to the running gods.
And then, up ahead, I spotted what I first thought was a mirage — my friend Erick standing on the side of the race course, holding a sign that said, simply, “Run, Zusel, Run.” Normally, I would have chided him for being cheesy, but in that moment, that sign was my salvation. I’m not going to pretend that all of a sudden I felt like I was flying and the pain left my legs, but seeing him there gave me the little extra push I needed at that exact moment. My gratitude can’t be overstated.
It’s often said that running is mostly mental, and I think my sudden burst of energy during that race speaks to that. There’s something amazing about seeing someone you love — heck, even a stranger — on the sidelines, holding a sign