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.


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.