Faster than a Cheetah
by Serena Burla on August 21, 2012
During my month-long stay in Colorado, I ran on many rolling, scenic trails, took ice baths in beautiful, glistening rivers, ran across many interesting mountain animals, and challenged my lungs to breathe in the fresh, thin air they weren’t accustomed to (some days my sports bra felt too tight as my lungs tried to get some extra air). Although my time in colorful Colorado went by faster than I had hoped, it left me with an undying inspiration to allow myself the opportunity to train hard and achieve big goals. One Monday night before I headed to bed early, I left a note to my Aunt Chris asking her to leave the computer on the kitchen table so I could check my coach’s e-mail for the specifics of the following morning’s workout. Understanding my peculiar running needs, she gladly obliged.
The next morning, as I rubbed the sleepies from my eyes and stumbled my way to the computer, I found myself staring face to face with a cheetah—a cheetah screen-saver, that is. For several weeks my Aunt had been hearing my son Boyd use the phrase, “Faster, very faster, faster than a cheetah” to indicate speed. She must have put the screen-saver up the night before, knowing that it would bring a smile to my face. Instantly, I forgot about the fatigue I still felt from the tiring long run I completed just two days earlier. Before I even looked at the specifics of the workout, I was overcome with a sense of ease and I felt sure that I was ready for whatever lay ahead. I opened the e-mail, nonchalantly jotted down the repeat 2k workout on a slip of paper, tucked it into my pocket, and headed out the door. Though I was running alone, the image of the cheetah kept me company; he ran two steps ahead and propelled me to push myself faster and farther toward my goals. I am sure my Aunt thought I would get a good laugh out of it, but I bet she never guessed that her subtle message was enough to get me out of a tired funk and back into a positive mindset. Although a cheetah might have outrun me, I ran as fast as my legs would carry me that morning. No worries, though. I’ll bridge that gap in time, especially with the support of some really special people who are rooting for me.