And a beautiful and Happy All Hallowed Eve to you! Are you going trick-or-treating? I'm going to be working (yes, on a Friday night) on my department's project: "The Trail of Terror!" There is a nature trail that runs behind the school buildings and bus garage and the like, and my boss and other staff members have turned it into a haunted trail. Bonfire, hot chocolate, and hot cider at the end, if you make it out alive...
I wasn't going to post anything about my race last weekend in Cape Cod, because the race itself was kinda shitastic. But I've had time to think about it, and for your reading pleasure (and to help usher in this new season of "giving thanks") I'm posting here my "From The Editor" article from my running club newsletter.
Can you recall the last time you were let down after you allowed yourself to build on the anticipation and excitement of something new? I sure can: my latest marathon adventure. Yep, the one I was sooo excited about because of the key sponsor (Dunkin’ Donuts), and how I’d get donuts at the end of the race. The one where I was going with one sister, one friend-of-sister, two friends, one spouse-of-friend, three children-of-friends, and one mother-of-friend. The one in a beautiful location (Cape Cod). The one where I’d have all of my training come to fruition in the form of a 4:40 finish time.
I should have suspected things were not going to be as they seemed when The Double Dee lost her ID at the airport in Marquette. No, wait- it dropped into a security bin and she wasn’t allowed to look and try to find it because the gate agents said “We’ve already checked, and its not there.” Liars. By the time we landed in Detroit, the ticket counter had called and said- oh, gee!- they found the ID in a security bin.
Another bad sign? When my sister, Katie texts us “Boston is $*!!@# “ and has to do four laps around the airport before being able to pick us up. Another stick in the spoke of us Midwesterners? Traffic round-abouts.
The hotel (the host hotel, even) had our room ready, but the toilet was leaking, and we had to change rooms. And even though the place needed updated decor and a good hosing down with Febreeze, it was quiet and the shower was hot.
The race expo was small but sufficient. Dunkin’ Donuts had fresh coffee and donuts for runners coming to pick up race bibs and timing chips. It was here that another sign showed up: two of our running posse would not be running. One strained IT band, and one nasty case of plantar fasciitis. An afternoon of shopping up and down Main Street, viewing little cuties in their costumes for the Halloween Parade, and an encounter with a store devoted entirely to cupcakes (Cup Capes of Falmouth) brightened spirits all around.
Saturday night the rain came down in sheets and the area was blanketed with thunder and 60 mph gusts of wind. Sunday morning broke with a light drizzle, 94% humidity, and volunteers and spectators wishing everyone “good luck.” I honestly didn’t think I’d need it.
Fast Jessica started waaaay ahead of us (and finished that way, too, in a fantastic time of 3:36), and then I left Katie and Kimmie at mile two. Things were going great, the rolling hills were really tough, I was hitting every mile right on pace, and then just past mile 17, but before mile 18, my left hip went *ting* and popped like a shoulder impingement. My leg literally buckled, and I had to catch myself. Talk about being caught off guard! I managed to get to mile 18 and the next water stop, but resigned myself to the following pattern: running until the pain came back, walking until it went away. I crossed the finish line in 5:24 a bit sore, a bit tired, and absolutely ready for my donut.
Guess what? No donuts. Nope. As a matter of fact, the finish line area went like this: 1) Cross the finish line. 2) Volunteer places finisher’s medal around your neck and offers congratulations; you smile and say, “Thank you.” 3) Volunteer wraps space blanket around you, while another volunteer removes your timing chip. 4) Walk past a table set up with cups of water and Cytomax, mixed in too weak a solution. 5) The End.
No donuts. No bananas. No oranges. No bagels. No “Six Pack Running Posse.” No 4:40 finish time. How do you salvage such a disaster?
You remember to be thankful for being able to finish (my sister and her friend dropped out at mile 16). You remember to be thankful for having friends to comisserate with afterwards. You remember to be thankful that the rain stopped, and the 65-degree sunshine came out to smile on your shoulders. You remember that you bought two cupcakes yesterday, but only ate one. You remember the mantra: “Any day I can run 26.2 miles is a Good Day.” You remember to be thankful for experiencing something new, even if you’ll never repeat the experience again.
And so the rest of the weekend was uneventful. With that behind me, I can focus on my next marathon adventure and the coming of the new season, Winter. I know that after the rush of anticipation and excitement of these big, new things- and any disappointments along the way- I’ll remember to give thanks for the smaller, more familiar ones.
And there you have it. Have a great weekend, everyone.