Michelle Booth, FL
As a writer, ghostwriter, and editor, Michelle has more than 20 years of experience helping clients tell their stories. She has edited the memoir of a former NBA basketball player, and profiled NBC’s The Biggest Loser for Oklahoma Sports & Fitness Magazine. In addition to working in publishing, she helps companies in a variety of industries — from oil and gas, higher education and gourmet food to senior living — with their marketing and public relations efforts. Michelle is an avid reader and has been an adult literacy tutor helping others discover the joy of reading.
As a Story Terrace writer, Michelle interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better by reading her autobiographical anecdote below.
Help Will Come
I found my pace group among the thousands of runners lined up at the start of the 2002 Chicago marathon on a brisk Sunday morning in October. I had logged hundreds of training miles all summer long at home in Oklahoma. I was wearing my favorite running T-shirt which happened to say “Texas” on the front. There was an energy in the air as we waited to begin. I felt ready and excited.
I wasn’t setting out to break any records. It was my first marathon, so my only goal was to finish. The gun went off signaling the start of the race. It took a few minutes before I actually crossed the starting line. Elite runner I am not.
I reminded myself not to start out too fast the first few miles. I zigged and zagged along, finding gaps in the crowd of runners so I could keep moving forward at a comfortable pace. The sun was up, the weather was crisp, and this runner was feeling great. That lasted for all of six miles.
That’s right. Six miles down, 20.2 miles to go, and I felt a stabbing pain on the outside of my left knee. I kept running, hoping the pain would subside. Mile 11, the pain was still there. Mile 15, still there.
The spectators lining the course could see I was struggling. Complete strangers cheered me on every step of the way with shouts of encouragement. “Go Texas!” “Keep going, Texas!” Fueled by their enthusiasm, I was able to run through the pain mile after mile until I reached the end of the race.
My left leg finally locked up and I couldn’t take another step. I made my way to the side of the racecourse and stared at the finish line that was less than a quarter mile away. I couldn’t believe it. I had come this far and I wasn’t going to be able to reach my goal?
“If you want to finish, I can help you,” said a fellow female runner who had seen me come to a dead stop.
A wave of relief washed over me and I quickly took her up on her offer. She outlined our strategy: we would walk twenty feet to the end of the tunnel we were standing in. From there we would start running slowly and keep going until we crossed the finish line.
I expressed my sincere gratitude for her kindness as we ran. She explained that she had experienced a similar situation in a previous marathon. Someone helped her finish and she wanted to pay it forward by helping me.
As we ran the last strides of the marathon together, I thought of all I had learned in the past few hours traveling along the streets of Chicago. I was reminded that there are good people in this world; that we need help from others; that we need to encourage and support one another, even if we receive nothing in return. And if we come to a point where it looks like there is no way we can reach our goal, we still can’t give up. Because just when we need it the most, help will come.
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