(Okay, only for a minute. And only at the very end of the 10k. The rest I walked. But really, I power walked – I am powerful here.)
Down the streets of Jerusalem, the city I first met when I was 15 and never wanted to leave but then neglected for 19 years until I started to get to know her again. The city that’s now the Big City so close to home at long last.
With throngs of Day-Glo warriors, helping kids and cancer and women and Arabs and ALS and one another get to the finish.
With stronger, faster, slower, sillier, taller, shorter, thinner, curvier, older and younger (yes, oh so many younger).
Past the Knesset where I’ll finally get my say, so much sooner than I thought I would when we moved here in the summer during a war.
Past smart museums, smoking shopkeepers, bongo players, bearded-and-black hatted men, women with newborns.
Look, there are drones in the sky (are they just taking pictures?) and balloons that someone let go of, maybe too soon.
Past security guard after security guard making sure this day continues to match the sunny weather and I try not to think about Boston where my cousin was almost there at the finish line.
Through tunnels and up hills and down hills and left and right.
On weathered, weary stones – past walls and friends and enemies (are they enemies?), down the streets of the Old City, from Jaffa to Zion.
Past the distant graves of those who ran before us, buried near bitter olives, waiting.
Past little smiling girls, covered up to here, their high fives stinging my sweaty hands and their sweet words of encouragement whistling by.
Next to new friends, part of a new life in this old world as I try new things.
Past the old train station, hotels filled with visitors trying to get their fill, past kissers and hand-holders and the scent of good food ready to accompany challah and wine and blessings.
Past signs marking our excursion and water bearers and vibrant parks and hikers and vendors selling flowers for Shabbat.
Behind tiny fighters, heads gleaming in the sun and hearts pounding as they were lifted onto strong shoulders and carried to the end.
And when I saw them, that’s when I finally ran, a strong finish, across the line.