Dragonfly vs. Stomach Bug (or “Return Of the Runner”)

Well it turns out I was fretting for no real reason.

I mean, don’t get me wrong: today’s 16 miler was by no means my best run of the season, but neither was it my worst. In fact, I think it actually went better than the Waddell Creek run–and that’s saying a lot, considering I was coming back from a bout with the stomach flu.

Which isn’t to say this run didn’t come with its own challenges. I knew going in that trying to run it the entire distance would be tough–and it was. But I surprised myself by actually managing to do just that, with the exception of walking up the hill from hell and a few walk breaks in the last two miles back.

Speaking of those last few miles… I had been having a fairly good/strong run up until the last several miles. That’s when things started to go a little haywire. First, Mercury in retrograde decided to make its presence known by suddenly zapping my otherwise fully charged Garmin watch, telling me it was all of a sudden low on battery power before going completely dead on me  shortly thereafter, and then my lower body muscles decided to rebel on me by tightening up to the point where I really had no choice but to take a walk break at last. Worse, a week off from exercise really did a number on my cardio capacity, so near the end, I was struggling a bit–not to mention, I was starting to feel a little nausea and I began to wonder whether I had pushed myself too much by deciding to run today at all, so soon after I’d gotten over the stomach bug.

And then a bit of a miracle happened–at just the right moment.

My friend, Siobhan, loved dragonflies. LOVED them. I myself had never seen a live one in my entire life, but at my lowest point in this run today, at mile 15 of 16, I thought to myself, “I really wish I could see some sort of ‘hello’ from Siobhan, letting me know she’s with me and getting me through this last tough bit.” Just as I said that, I looked up and saw two dragonflies flutter past. I literally had to gasp and say, “Oh my God!” And then I started to wonder whether I’d just imagined them.

I struggled a bit more and decided that maybe I just saw what I wanted to see. And just as I had that thought, I saw another one flutter past. This time, I got a good look at it and yes, it was indeed a dragonfly. And that’s when the tears came. It was right at that precise moment that I most needed encouragement to finish up that last bit of the course.

Well, I did finish. And I finished it running. Somehow the tightness in my muscles and joints eased up, my nausea went away, and I was able to push through to the end.

I have no doubt that those dragonflies were well-timed by someone who knew exactly what she was doing :).

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