As I go into my 5th week of no running (besides a few strides), I have this fear in the back of my head that my running life is over. That whatever I return to will be so far from what it was, that I can barely call it running. Instead, my legs are on their death bed. My running life is taking in its last breath, and the highlights are flashing in front of my eyes (as happens in death, so we hear)
Here are the moments that I expect to see:
Grand Rapids Marathon 2010
This was the Boston Qualifier race that I sought after for ten years. There is a moment in the race I will never forget around the 21 mile mark. I KNEW I was going to make my BQ time. I didn’t THINK I could make it, which had happened so many times before, but I knew it. I raised my fist in triumph and felt such a swell of Godly Mojo.
Boston Marathon 2010
I will never forget the start. It was like visiting a post card, and when the jets flew overhead I realized it wasn’t a daydream. The finish line on Boylston street had the energy of a blackhole and sucked in runners with such force to the end of the race. All of us willing. Permanent memory burn.
Detroit Marathon 2000 and beyond
I was so terrified my first marathon in Detroit, but it was around mile 15 when I felt as good as if I had just started running, and I finally let myself relax and take it all in. I ran with tears to the end. Crossing the Ambassador Bridge over the Detroit River makes for a perfect morning. When the sun rises while you cross the bridge with the raging river below, it’s like God waking up to peek at you with a glowing orange eyeball and saying, “well done, my son, well done.”
New York City Marathon 2012 and 2013
I will never forget the canceled marathon day, and the ‘run anyway” central park miles so many runners put in. Best analogy is it was like Who-ville when the Grinch tried to steal the presents of Christmas, but couldn’t take the joy away. A year later, the start of the New York marathon over the Verrazano bridge with cannons booming and helicopters hovering and the New York Cityscape on the horizon was an out of body experience. The run through Brooklyn was perhaps my favorite running portion of any race ever. I smacked hands of every Brooklyn resident I could, and I am sure they are now spreading the dust of my fingerprints across the big apple even now.
Chicago Marathon 2001- BQ failure (first of many failed attempts)
Chicago was my first big city marathon, and the expo was like stumbling upon buried treasure. I was in awe. As for race day, I don’t think I was ever so determined in my life to accomplish something. At mile 20, when I felt the BQ time slipping away, I tapped into my primordial muck way deep below the surface that I otherwise never would have known existed. I pushed my legs such that they cramped and bulged as if a human head were trying to emerge from the muscle. I pissed blood. I become a Zombie the last mile, begging to be shot in the head. It was not to be, but I learned a great lesson. I was in 3:10 shape easy during training but ran my best race the last 20 miler rather than waiting for the event day. We learn more by failing than fear of failing. Odd how a marathon PR, (3:17 in this case), is remembered as a failure.
Walt Disney Marathon 2015
Oh the joy! The shiny, happy people, dressed in running gear and character costume, cruising by Space Mountain and through Cinderella's Castle, hitting all the parks and running through them like I've always dreamed. It was so much fun! I am glad I wore the Pluto ears rather than the Mickey ears during the race (Pluto hardly gets enough play). The next day I walked through the parks with my kids and enjoyed the rides with a new pleasure.
Hey, wait! This hasn't happened yet!
DON'T BURY ME, I'M NOT DEAD YET