No PR, no Boston qualifier. I completed the Colorado Marathon in 4 hours, 21 seconds. I want to be disappointed –I didn’t hit even one of my three goals — but I have to think I cannot be. I spent the weekend with good friends. I experienced stunning scenery. I also ran faster than 644 of the 990 participants. I feel good today, and did not injure myself. I had calamari and pizza and beer afterwards.
I often tell my yoga class at the end of practice to give thanks for their bodies, regardless of how they perceive their performance, because there are so many bodies that cannot do the things that they were able to do in class. This is what I choose to take away from the race. At the top of the hill at mile 18.5, right before the 19-mile banner, was a water station. The volunteers cheered us on, and I walked as I took my cup. As I looked up, I noticed a young girl – probably 8 or 9, my daughter’s age — parked off to the side by the volunteers’ cars, in a wheelchair. I realized, as my quads and glutes were hurting, that this girl would never have the chance to walk, let alone run a marathon. I teared up over the course of the next mile, and later on, after I finished, as I shared my observation with friends. It still leaves me teary and feeling somewhat spoiled that I could be even the least bit disappointed in my performance.
In me, as in many people, the runner’s high manifests as a deep emotional response. I don’t feel like I’m flying or as if I am immune to pain. Rather, I feel intensely thankful for things in my life – my family, my health, my drive and yesterday, my simple ability to move on two legs. Yesterday was a simple reminder to let go of expectations and just be appreciative of what you have, rather than wishing for something else.