“Here you go Paps.” Sue handed me a pile of envelopes.
“What’s this?” I asked.
“There’s one for each day. Open them when you need to.”
A few days later I sat on the floor in a dusty tent in the middle of the Jordanian desert, items strewn around my feet . I was trying to pack my running backpack and mildly panicking about the 5 day run I had coming up. I’d done my training, I was the most prepared for a race that I’d ever been, but that nervous feeling of will I be able to do this? still lingered. It was so much more than I’d ever done before, and the truth was I had absolutely no idea.
Sue knew this, because I’d shared my worries with the gang before I went. The pile of envelopes caught my eye, and I wondered what was in them.
The morning of the first day I started what would become the daily methodical ritual of packing my bag, getting dressed and having breakfast; in that order. Just after I’d finished all that, and before it was time to go gather at the start line and crap ourselves (not literally), I sat down on the floor, legs crossed and found the envelope for Day One.
I eagerly ripped it open, curiosity getting the better of me, and my heart caught a beat. In it, a little motivational message from Sue wishing me luck. So unexpected and such a kind thought. In the midst of the chaos, it was a message reminding me to stay strong, think of all the training I’d done and enjoy it. It didn’t quite settle the nerves, but to know that people had my back and were thinking of me made the world of difference.
Each morning I’d look forward to the daily envelope, and each morning I’d have the same routine. Get ready, have brekkie, sit cross-legged on the floor and open the envelope. I’d have a few moments of calm; closing my eyes and taking a deep breath in, to absorb the content. No one else got to see them; it was a moment just for me.
I’d often think back to the words on the notes during the long, hot days while running. They’d make me smile, spurring me on to keep going.
I was sad to read the last one on day five, I’d enjoyed them so much. A small, but significant gesture that meant so much. I still have them all, safely refolded back into the envelopes and tucked away with other special memories in a storage container in the UK.
One day I look forward to reading them again.