Success! I hung with one of my BRFF’s ever, DJ, who is training for Chicago and doing a 4/1 run/walk program right now. I knew if I hung with her I would not be tempted to go out too fast and maybe my hamstring would not try to desert me. I’m pretty sure it’s trying to jump ship; it certainly feels like it’s trying to crawl right out of my skin. Luckily its attempts so far have been thwarted by Ligaments and Skin. Thank you, Ligaments and Skin, for hanging tight. Please don’t let go.
All I wanted was to see the finish line. I didn’t care time, I just wanted to go 14 miles. I needed it, mentally. I needed to blow off energy and I needed an accomplishment in my running. It took 3 hours to go 14.2 miles between walking the water stops, doing the run/walk and the porta john stops, and I didn’t care one bit. I can wear the shirt, now. You can see this is a shirt that should be worn often and handled with care so it can be worn for many years – how cool is this shirt!? Oh, and we made up a poem: ON ON! to the Portajohn! At least I was hydrated.
Last year after Tupelo I wrote this (below). I know you’ve both read it before but I don’t care. As I’ve noted, it’s my blog and I can do anything I want. Or I can not post anything I don’t want to post. For instance, I’m never posting Brussel Sprouts recipes, because there is not a recipe in the entire world which can make a Brussels Sprout taste good except a garbage disposal so that would be a waste of typing.
Sunday I ran Crazy Jimmy’s Tupelo Half Marathon which is not even a half but is a Half + 1.1 miles. The race is every Labor Day Sunday, and if you’ve never run in Mississippi the end of August you won’t appreciate the race’s 5am start — but if you have experienced its soul sucking humidity and heat you are happy for even one hour’s reprieve from the sun.
5am in the Mississippi countryside is dark. No atmospheric reflection of glimmering city lights, no reflected porch lights of houses sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in the neighborhoods, no glow of business signs and lit front windows. Houses are spread apart, set back; porch lights shine further from the street; street lights are distant from each other. The race begins quietly, no gun, no siren, no shouts. Garmins and Timexes beep shedding greenish light. The figures ahead of us start bobbing, their shadows outlined by the small flashlights held by the other runners in front of them.
I run the first 5 miles with an MRTC friend but can’t keep his pace. I’ve been out a lot the past couple years; a couple injuries, a couple family issues, some happy, some not so much. It’s great to be racing. I find that I don’t mind having no one to talk to. I like it, this bobbing along in the dark as it begins to lighten. I listen to the softness of the footfalls, my raspy breathing, crickets. A dog whines from someone’s house. At mile 6 we turn east and I notice the horizon is lightening. The shapes of country houses take form, still and flat, one-dimensional in the semi-darkness. Rolling fences appear and I can see the fields now, see the ponds in the fields, and the treerows further back. The colors change, from the bluish-black of night to dark shades of greens, then browns, and soon the runners around me aren’t just bobbing shapes but bright yellows and reds and blues and greens.
We run along in the day as it wakes. I see the road now, and I see my feet as they push the distance behind me. I look at the faces of the people around me, I hear mutters of conversation; over and under and around all that I hear, constantly, the soft shuffle of feet, the measured breathing of everyone around me, and I know that they are celebrating, as I am, the incredible knowledge that we live, that we exist and we are incredibly, gloriously alive in this brand new day which birth we just witnessed.
Runners may be many different things, but one thing we hold in common: We are celebratory people.
Unfortunately, however, this year after the race ended there was a very very sad incident in which my Former BRFF ever, DJ, tried to steal my beer. B*tch. You can’t trust blonde German women when a beer shows up, it’s a throw down looking for a place to happen. Fortunately right after this photo was taken we were directed to the cooler chest containing about 157 more beers and we kissed and made up. I no longer hope her keg explodes. Just a small, slow leak would be fine.