Signs of the Marathon

June 5, 2015.  I began a training plan for my fifth half-marathon in August.

June 19, 2015.  Tweaked my training plan from a half to a full.  Just maybe I could do this.

July 3, 2015.  I upped it all & officially completed the registration for the Twin Cities Marathon.

October 4, 2015.  Crossed that line & finished my first marathon!

The Twin Cities Marathon is chalk full of spectators.  I don’t know if other marathons are like this {I’ve only run one} but there are people literally every step of the way.  With cow bells, with candy, with bananas, with music, with beer {yes, beer}, with dogs, with high-fives and with loud cheering. And many have signs.  So many signs.  You could completely read your way through these 26.2.  Here are some of my favs:

  • in the early miles I remember seeing Punch to Power Up.  It usually had some sort of bullseye & the holder would point for you to punch the bullseye to get added power to power you through the remaining 21 miles of the race.  This was fun for the first quarter of the race, touching the spot as I flew by {yes, I was flying at that point *wink, wink*} hearing the crowds cheer as I touched their sign & flew on.  This became absolutely stupid at all points past 17 miles.  Stupid.  Not only would I expend a ridiculous amount of effort just getting to where I could actually touch the sign, but to get my arm up to punch the bullseye…shut up! And seriously there was zero power in that sign. Stupid.
  • everywhere along the course was Seems Like A Lot Of Work for A Free Banana.  The first time I saw this sign I chuckled inside.  Clever.  And, gotta tell ya, that banana at the end was the best banana I’ve ever eaten.  As was the fruit cup, the power bar & the chicken broth.  Who knew chicken broth would rock at the end of 26.2.
  • nearing the finish, I saw Because 26.3 Would Be Ridiculous.  And it absolutely would be.  There was no way I was willing to add even an extra step to this thing.  At 26.2, I was done.  Finished.  Complete.  Actually at about 25, I was done.  Thankfully the path to the finish was lined with tons of cheering people.  And I knew my honey and my littles were there somewhere.  I moved forward mostly to get across that line, get some food and love on my family.  With tears and excitement and pain and joy, I was a sweat-mess of emotions.
  • Humpty Dumpty Had Wall Issues Too. Let’s talk about the Wall.  I didn’t know.  No one told me.  The Wall is a thing.  Really.  A big thing.  I had a big wall.  It lasted many, many miles.  It began at about mile 17.  And I think I made my way through it at finally about mile 24.  That, my friends, is a 7 mile wall.  Ugh!  It didn’t help that beginning at mile 20 is a huge elevation change {read:hill}.  Legs like cement do not move swiftly.  Each step is a reminder that this is hard.  And not really all that much fun.  Hard.  Also with each step came pain, which moves me to my next favorite sign.
  • I saw it first at about mile 2.  Blisters are Braille for Awesome.  I laughed when I saw it at first.  I also laughed at the first jar of Vasoline I saw on the course.  Blisters are for babies, I was thinking.  Which pretty much makes me a baby now.  One has no way to know the disastrous way one’s feet will react to 26.2.  I had one blister the entire 4 months of training. One!  But from mile 18-26.2, I added several more, enormous, painful, nasty blisters.  Good thing they’re braille for awesome!
    me on the far right in the orange hat :)
    me on the far right in the orange hat 🙂
  • And the very, very, very best sign I saw on marathon day was FINISH.  It was an unbelievable sight.  To see the actual finish, even as far off as it was and realize that I was going to make it.  All the hours and miles that pounded the pavement over the past 4 months was going to achieve what it had been meant to achieve.  I scanned the crowd to find my loves.  When I heard my name, I looked to the left and could feel the smile take away any fatigue in my body.  I threw my arms up and yelled {quite loud and obnoxiously} “I did it!!!  I actually, actually did it!!!”I was in disbelief that I had made it.  I crossed the finish line, awkwardly received the finishers medal and cried.  Big, huge alligator tears.  Joy, relief, amazement.  It was all there in that moment.  FINISH.

The finish line

I wish I could completely understand.  Or even just understand a smidgen. But as much as I spin and spin, I just cannot get my head wrapped around this.

It has been reported that the marathon I plan to run this weekend along with thousands of my closest running buddies is going to be the site of a “disruption” by the group Black Lives Matter.  Swell.

“We don’t plan on having any physical contact with runners, but we do plan to make ourselves the finish line,” said Turner.

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Well, at least they aren’t planning to have any contact with the runner.  Phew!  {I need a sarcasm font}  They plan to become the finish line.  The images of exactly how this will turn out in my mind are not pretty ones.  After 26 miles I don’t think too many folks are in their completely right state of mind {please read about my state of mind after only 20}.  And everyone I know is running this for the thrill of finishing.  Actually crossing the finish line & getting a time.  Guess that’s the point for the Black Lives Matter protesters…disrupt the dream.

I understand that the Black Lives Matter protesters feel that this is what has happened to them.  {maybe} The dream has been disrupted.  And it’s been disrupted because of the color of their skin.  I’m way out on a limb…as I said earlier I am having a hard time understanding.  Please, supporters of this moment, what is the point of this?  What are you hoping to accomplish by  shutting down a marathon?

“Black Marathon will disrupt, Black Marathon will bring awareness, Black Marathon will bring us closer to ending white supremacy and the institutions that enable it,” the group said in a statement.

All I see is Black Marathon causing me to not understand you at all. It’s causing me to shut down more, to push you aside and wish you’d just go away.  Rather than making me want to actually get inside your thinking & have a chance at seeing it from your opinions, to walk in your shoes, which is the first step towards making a positive change.  Any positive change.  Right now, this morning, all I see is dislike swirled with anger & sprinkled with eye rolling.

“There’s a lot of money involved. Unfortunately, we live in a country where the right people don’t create change until their money is affected,” organizer Rashad Turner tells Twin Cities NBC affiliate, KARE 11. “People who feel like they can sit around and be silent and not participate in bringing white supremacy to an end, they are just as guilty as the systems that perpetuate white supremacy.

Hmmmmm  “people who feel like they can SIT AROUND…”  You’re disrupting a marathon!  No one participating in this thing has been sitting around for the past 4 months.  We’ve all been out running.  {more sarcasm}  But really, how exactly is marathon running = white supremacy? Explain to me, please, how people training for a marathon are guilty of causing white supremacy in this nation of rolling forward? Are you calling me a white supremacist?  You don’t know me.  You have no idea what I think, where I’ve been, what I do?  You have no idea what I fill my time with when I’m not running. Perhaps I’m your biggest ally.  You have no idea.  But is seems you are assuming that because the color of my skin is light that I am a white supremacist or that I support white supremacist ideals.  Uh, Oh!  That sounds like bigoted racism!

I have an idea.  Instead of causing disruption, how about sponsoring a water stop?  Stand out there in support of the folks running by {all color and size and socioeconomic folk}.  Hand them water.  Give them a cheer.  Wave a cowbell.  I’ll give you a high five.  I have to admit I’d be MUCH more likely to sit down, listen to your thoughts and rally your cause knowing that you’d given of your time to help me at a difficult & weak moment.  But perhaps that is not what you’re really seeking.  Perhaps you’re not looking for actual supporters who have the ability to make the positive changes that you’re wanting.  Perhaps you’re looking to divide further.  I don’t know.

I do know that there is a great divide in this country.  And it’s wrong.  That’s true.  But I think the answer is to treat everyone the way that I would want to be treated. Rather than treat everyone the way that I feel they’ve treated me. Treat everyone with compassion, respect, equality & love.  Everyone.  Black, White, Cops, Runner, Homeless, Store Clerks, Wealthy Business Owners.  Everyone.

The Insanity That Is A Runner

Twenty.insanity

Ridiculous.  Stupid.  Crazy.  Dreadful.

Miles 1-9.  I was rocking it.  Rocking it!  I was enjoying scenery.  You know it’s a great run when you can gander into the glorious beauty that you are running by. I was light on my feet, the pace was comfortable, the morning glorious.  I enjoyed my water and my energy beans…it was like a dream.  I was rocking it.

Mile 10.  Half way.  Time to come on home.  Right on track for time.  A smile on my face.  I love running!

Mile 11.  Still smiling.  Started talking to myself.  ‘i’m doing great.  this isn’t so bad.  my last long run was just really humid.  i can do this.  easy.’

Mile 12.  Still smiling.  I waved at a guy on a tractor who moved off the shoulder so I could keep running.  ‘what a great guy.  i’m so glad he didn’t run me over.  nice guy! great run!’

Mile 13.  Not as fast as my fastest half, but doing really, really well.  ‘this is amazing.  i love running!  this is a great, great day!’

Mile 14.  I approached an occasional store out in the middle of nowhere.  Because when you live in a tiny town and you have to run 20 miles, you end up in the middle of nowhere.  This occasional store, that’s occasionally open, was open today.  And apparently it’s a very popular occasional store.  {perhaps they should consider being more than occasionally open}  There were cars everywhere.  Cars filled with women.  No car had only one woman going to the occasional store.  Oh, no!  Two, Three, Four, Five.  They were like clown cars.  Women squashed into every inch of these SUVs and minis dumping out onto the county road blocking my path with their doors and bodies and laughing and general jovialness.  Women sure are a happy bunch in groups going to occasional stores.    I understand a crazy woman out in the middle of nowhere running is not what you’re expecting to see when you’re focused on an amazing find at the occasional store, so i’m not blaming them.  But because of the droves of women {and the one guy I saw, who didn’t seem excited at all to be there} I had to shuffle my steps and slow WAY down.  But not to worry, I thought.  After all, I have been rocking it.  And I only have 6 miles to go.  Pewwwwfwww  No worries.

Mile 15.  Bad.  Side ache.  I’ve never had a side ache before.  I drank some water and downed a gel.  I hobbled along hoping my side would improve.  ‘why does my side hurt.  if it wasn’t hurting i’d be moving along at a great clip.  ugh!  get better side!’  

Mile 16.  Side ache disappeared.  Praises!  I’ll pick up the pace and make up that lost time.  Time lost on the occasional shopper obstacle course & the side ache.  ‘it’s ok.  i’m going to be a ok.  i love to run!’

Mile 17.  all sorts of ugly has arrived.  I am now talking out loud to myself.  Loud.  Over my headphones so I can hear what I’m saying.  Loud.  Back in town.  Insanity defined.    ‘i don’t want to run anymore.  why can’t I teleport?  i want to teleport.  my DI team must develop teleportation this year.  i want to be done.’  A blister was forming at lightening speed on my left baby toe. ‘will my toes still fit in my shoe?  i think it’s going to poke out the side of my shoe.  what do you do when your toe pokes a hole through your shoe?  this is awful.  stupid blister.’ Ridiculousness.  ‘i never want to run again.  as long as i live, i will never put on running shoes again.’

Mile 18.5.  The crying begins.  Weeping really.  Ugly crying.  And I’m still talking to myself.  Loud.  In town.  With people near.  And I may have used some non-PG words.  Maybe…or not…I plead insanity.   Hot mess defined.  ‘i’m not doing it.  i am not doing the marathon.  i don’t care that i’ve done all the hard work to train, running is stupid.  i’m not doing it.  i hate running.  this is not fun.  nothing about this is fun.  nothing.  this is horrible.  i hate running.  i hate people who run.  all people who run-hate them.  i never am running again.’

Mile 19.5.  Crying ceases.  I proudly declare with definite resolution ‘i’m not doing the marathon.   i’m just not.  i’ll just say i don’t want to do it.  it’s stupid anyway. running is dumb.  i hate running.  it’s not even fun.  why do something not fun for more than 4 hours.  not doing it!‘  

Mile 20.  smile.  ‘done.  i did it.   but I’m never doing it again. running shoes are never being tied onto these feet.  ever.  running is dumb and so are runners.  so i’m not running.’

Ice bath.  Hot tea.  Lots of water.  Lots and lots of food.  Stretching.  More food. ‘never again!’  More food.  Sleep.

Wake up.  Legs feel good.  Blisters are disappearing.  Smile.  ‘i wonder if i can do better next time?  i bet i could push through without a side ache & then i’d be good.  and there will be no occasional store shoppers for the race.  i can do it.  i can.  i know it. i can’t wait for the marathon. i love running.  i love bring a runner.  running is great!  yes!  can’t wait for the marathon!’

The insanity that is the runner.