|2009 Pocatello Marathon Finish|
For me, anyway. :-)
At 6:15 tomorrow morning, I will push PLAY on my Ipod, push START on my watch, and start my 26.2 miles in the dark. I will blindly follow the sound of footsteps and breathing that surround me. I will remind myself that monsters are not real and will not jump out at me from the woods. Somewhere around Mile 2, the sun will start to come up, and I will look less at the ground in front of me and more at the beautiful hills around me. I will search for beauty in the sky and watch for dead animals on the road. I will start picking out people to pass. And I will wonder, for the first 4 miles, WHY IN THE HELL I SIGN UP FOR THIS SHIT.
Around Mile 5, I will find my groove. I will realize that my legs are doing what they're supposed to be doing...without me telling them to do it. And then I will KNOW why I sign up for this shit.
I am broken. I've had knee surgery and foot surgery and need it again on both. I run with fitted orthotics and knee braces. I have to limp around my house with ice strapped to my body, and I have to prop my feet up to keep them from swelling. But....I keep doing it because I LOVE HOW I FEEL. Even the pain makes me feel GOOD - it makes me feel ALIVE and PROUD and CONFIDENT. No matter how slow I am, or how fast I am, the Finish Line still lets me cross. I have control over how I run, when I run, where I run, and how far I run. When I run, my mind goes blank. I only think about the things that I want to think about. There is no stress, no worry, and no responsibility. It's like when you were a kid and you plugged your nose, and went under the water. You were in your own little world and no one could reach you. It's like that. It's my little slice of heaven (at least after the first 4 miles, anyway).
So, at Mile 5, I will be happy. I will force down some slimy, snotty GU and try to drink water without choking. I will start noticing other runners - what they're wearing, how they're holding their arms, how they did (or didn't do) their hair. I will stare in awe as men and women veer off the roadway......to pee. For men, it seems easy, so I don't give them much credit. But, the women inspire me! I can't pee outside without peeing on myself. How in the hell do they do it???? Or, maybeeeeeeeeee they pee on themselves, too. Do they pass it off as sweat?? And, what about toilet paper? Maybe it's just me, but I've always thought that toilet paper was a requirement......
At Mile 15, race spectators are allowed to join in the fun. (Yes, I said fun.) I will miss having Jayson there to support me this time. But...I will call him when I'm done. I will tell him how I did, how I felt, and how much I missed having him there. I will tell him about the Race Walkers who pass me (Yes....it happens. Those people are amazing!). I will describe the Spandex outfits that some people should not have been wearing. I will tell him how many dead snakes I saw, but hopefully not the number of LIVE ones. And I will tell him how much I love the fact that he supports me and my running.
Don't get me wrong - Marathons are definitely not all rainbows and puppy dogs. Your body knows when you cross that Finish Line. And THAT is when it shuts down. Your legs turn to Jell-O. Your ability to communicate like an adult - with complete sentences and big girl words - goes out the window. Four and a half hours of sweat goes from wet to dry in a matter of seconds, and all that is left is a thick coat of WHITE salt from your scalp to your ankles. You soon discover all of your "hot spots", even if you ran the whole race smugly thinking to yourself how well you dressed. Your bikini line will be angry at your shorts. That crease under your boobs...the one spot on your body that you've never actually thought about before....you'll know it exists now because it will be ON FIRE. Your ankle will be oozing blood from where your chip timer rubbed you raw. And you will have some fantastic tan lines (especially from that little hole in your knee brace). But...
You will be happy! Even if you're too tired to smile, your eyes will show it. Unless, of course, they are closed because you have passed out. Then, I guess, you wouldn't look so happy. But, if you haven't passed out, you will be happy. You will be happy because YOU DID IT! And you did it without dying.
So, tomorrow, sometime around 10:30 in the morning, I WILL BE HAPPY...
...and begging for water, food, flip flops, a shower, clean clothes, and my couch.
P.S. This is my last Full Marathon for a while. I may have overdone it this year. (This is where Jayson will say, "I fucking told you so. And so did your doctor!") Pocatello will be Marathon #3 for the year. But, along with those long races, I've managed to sprinkle in a couple of Half Marathons, a Relay, and a few 10k's. I was set to run the Top of Utah Full Marathon on the 18th of this month, but my heart won out, and I will be staying home to spend time with Jayson while he is here. I might squeeze in another marathon on our anniversary (October 10th). But, my main focus after tomorrow will be VEGAS in December! On December 5th, I will be running the Las Vegas Rock N Roll Marathon....on the Strip!! My only question for that race, is.....What color tutu should I wear?