Finisher

If there’s one thing running has taught me, it’s that you can’t count on all days to be the same, but you can count on having more of them.

26 on the 26th — mile 18

Some runs are supremely easy; bounding down the road feeling as though you could leap over whole buildings and singing from your heart at the top of your lungs. Some runs are supremely difficult; challenging even the most basic facts you know about yourself because all of a sudden, everything is foreign.

Each one offers more insight into the person you actually are. Many of the signs I saw yesterday said “Everything you ever wanted to know about yourself you can find out in 26.2 miles,” and having completed my first marathon this is absolutely true.

I ran it in the city that raised me in more ways than one. That’s where I worked my first job. My first apartment is around the corner from here. I fell in love right over there. 

I ran it for myself, to say that I could and prove that I can. For once it’s my legs giving out, not my lungs. 

I ran it to remember what I’m made of. God, this hurts, but I have to keep going. I can do this. This is temporary. This is worth it. 

I ran it to feel a part of something bigger than myself. His brother died 2 months ago. This man has running tattoos. This woman is also a first-timer. They’re fundraising for kids in need of heart transplants. This total stranger just gave me a waterbottle, an orange — THANK YOU!

When it hurts the most, sing and dance.

I’ll forget the mental snapshots I took over the course of the course. I’ll forget the great signs (This parade sucks!) and the turns and the people and the yelling and the way the light came through the city that day. But the tears I choked back out of pure joy literally the whole way are ones I’ll remember my whole life.

I couldn’t deal with people after finishing, and you’d think after 5 hours and change of being in my head I’d be a chatterbox to beat the band. But all I could do was find a grassy patch and totally weep; for all the expectations I had put on myself, for all the things this race represented and for feeling like, well, I had just run a fucking marathon. Those tears are also special in their own right.

My feet are totally ruined. It hurts to go down stairs. I’m going to lose at least 2 toenails. But the way I know myself and feel about this momentous accomplishment can’t be measured in time, mileage, or toenails, but the place it holds in my heart and the way I carry myself into every moment beyond this one.

26 on the 26th.

I’m thankful for my body. For my health. For all my supporters at the race and at home. For ever person who believed in the crazy dream and the person taking it up. I’m thankful for perseverance, for giving up, for tenacity, for grit teeth and crying eyes, for aching quads and blistered feet. I’m grateful for the whole thing because it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done and absolutely the best thing. 

Here’s to the mountains beyond mountains, may there always be new peaks to summit.

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2 Responses to Finisher

  1. MJ says:

    Beautiful! Congratulations doesn’t sound like even nearly a big enough word.

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