Going the Distance, Part 5

After months of training for the Los Angeles marathon, Shawnn Slaughter crosses the finish line and realizes a new level of self-appreciation.

BY Shawnn Slaughter

April 25 2008 11:00 PM ET

At 6:19:30
seconds I crossed the finish line! My parents, who had come
to cheer me on, stood on the sidelines holding a sign
saying, “Run, Shawnn, Run.” I was
completely oblivious to them, only hearing the entire crowd
and keeping my eye on the finish line.

A rush of
adrenaline filled my body. I became overwhelmed with emotion
and began to cry. In all of the five marathons I’ve
run, I have never cried. All of the frustrations,
injuries, depression, fatigue, and near-conceit were
all flushed away in a wash of tears. All I could
think is how only a few weeks earlier, I was struggling to
complete my training and had considered dropping out
of the marathon. Now I felt only joy and elation!

Why I had done
the training no longer mattered -- all I could think is
how great it was to finish the marathon and simply be alive
to tell about it. All this on a low t-cell count of
less than 200!

I have told
people this is my last marathon, but I've said this in the
past. Running is an addiction. I have been encouraged to
sign up for the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Marathon
on June 1 and even the National AIDS Marathon in Rome
next year. So marathon number 6 may still be in the
works. As for Los Angeles, it was the greatest spiritual and
emotional journey I have ever taken.

Tags: Sports

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