Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What a Way to Know

(So many amazing things have already been said and written on this topic. I add my own noise to the mix merely for my own cathartic purposes. I am no Peter Sagal. I am no Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert. I am no Jeannie Page. But, ya know, read on if you wanna!)

My knee is still being a jerk. Actually, my entire right leg is protesting any athletic endeavor I might attempt. Heck, it's even rebelling against the very UN-athletic endeavor of sitting on my butt for longer than a few minutes at a time. Nevertheless, I had to get out there for Boston today. The plan was to get up at 5:15 and see what the early morning had in store for me. But, GABE's plan was to get up at 5AM and keep me in the house with him.

Thankfully, we had an incredible spring day today, the big boys had karate, and Scott was able to pick them up when it was over. So, I scooted home, got on my running clothes and headed out with Gabe in the stroller. We live in a horrible place for jog strollers. (Read: no sidewalks, questionable road shoulders, windy and hilly roads around which drivers can't see too well....) So, I took Gabe out to the paved, barely driven upon, but very very hilly private road behind our house. It's 1.6 miles to a dead end and back. We did it twice. It was not so pretty. But... it's the farthest I've trekked since the Eastern States 20 in late March. We'll call it a win.
Happy baby, happy Mama. Don't ask about the knee.

The other great thing about getting out there today was the opportunity to think about how blessed I am with the path my life has taken so far. In the spouse-kids-friends-job spectrum, I am very much in the feel good end of the rainbow. I am frequently bemoaning the fact that I still don't know the answer to "what color is my parachute?" Maybe my parachute isn't meant to be one color. Maybe I need to get comfortable with that.

But, of course, most of my thoughts (aside from "GOD, my knee hurts" and "WHY does this baby keep tossing his sun hat out of the stroller?") were of Boston. I pondered how, before Monday, I almost always did a mental eye roll when talking to non-runners about marathon running. This is completely unfair, I realize, because you could fill 26.2 miles with the things I don't know about what other people enjoy doing: Crafts. Cycling. Pottery. Needle point. Scuba diving. I can't NOT think of things I don't know about. (What?) But, still, a mental sigh and patient explanations are fairly common when someone finds out I run.

For instance, people don't know how many miles are in a marathon. "How far is your marathon?" is a not-so-infrequent question I have heard. OR, they think that any running race is called a marathon... Believe me, once you run one, you never confuse say, a 10K, with a marathon!

Another honest inquiry I get is "Do you think you are going to win the race?" I guess that question makes sense for non-runners. You don't join a softball or bowling league fully understanding and mentally prepared for the eventuality that you will come in 5,679th place. But, running is different. And running marathons is even different-er.

And of course there is the inevitable "Aren't you going to wreck your knees?" On the advice of my attorney, I choose not to answer that question right this second..

Marathons, of course, are a unique pursuit. The world is starting to understand this. They are watching their televisions and understanding that marathon runners and their ilk don't run 'against' each other. Even the elites, who stand to win or lose a good chunk of prize money and lucrative endorsements based on their finishing place train together, support each other, and celebrate for each other.

Somewhere in the coverage I have heard (this has been an event I have almost exclusively 'watched' on the radio) a commentator said, "Remember, there is no one 'boo-ing' at a marathon." This was such an 'ah-ha' for me. No wonder I love running races. It's like being on stage where you know you'll always have a positive reaction, particularly if you are like me and look quiet spectators in the eye and demand some crowd lovin'! And it's no wonder I am so averse to attending college and professional sporting events. The trash talk from fans literally makes my stomach hurt.

The world is also learning specifically about Boston's greatest race. The tough qualifying standards. The easy-first-half, killer-second-half, point-to-point course through some of the most historic places in our country. The world is learning that marathoners are the kind of people who train for months and months (and sometimes for years and years) for the privilege of being part of this storied event.

And because of the placement of the explosives, people now know - and likely won't ever forget - that a marathon is 26.2  miles.

I am glad people have a better understanding of what a marathon is and what kind of people sign up for the torture/honor of running one. But I'm so very, gut wrenchingly horrified at the reason for their education.

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