EDITOR’S NOTE: How long has it been since my last blog post? “A couple years,” would’ve been my answer, but more than twice that amount of time has passed. Back then, the thought of running more than a mile, outside, in the winter, was not a remote possibility. And yet, the seeds were there because I distinctly recall being on the treadmill back in August 2014, watching the origin of the high five unfold before my eyes. Do we write to remember or to not forget? Either way, this particular story picks up my “running journey” in mid-stride, fresh off the heels of my first half marathon – as part of the BMW Dallas Marathon weekend in December 2017 – and training for my first full marathon.
1. BLESSING IN DISGUISE: I arrived at the race in plenty of time, hydrated, rested and mentally and physically ready for the longest run of my life on a beautiful day. Then I reached for my wireless headphones I had draped around my neck. And they weren’t there. Part of the reason I started running was to listen to music, and here I was, about to run three miles farther than I’d ever run, without them. “Don’t panic,” I thought as I started to panic. Then I remembered how “real runners” never run with headphones. And I recalled Hebrews 12:1, too – “And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Well, OK then – I was meant to run this race without headphones. Let’s go!
2. T-MAC INSPIRATION: The race date happened to be close to the 13-year anniversary of Tracy McGrady scoring 13 points in 35 seconds to will his team to victory. Earlier in the week, watching a mini-documentary about this amazing feat, I was inspired by what he said and what he did after the game. “I’m not even sure what I just did,” he said, seemingly as stunned by his performance as the players and crowd that had just witnessed NBA history. After all the interviews, some time after midnight, he went through his post-game routine of weight training. “Stick to the routine,” I thought. “Be like T-Mac. Amaze yourself.”
3. SIGNS OF THE TIMES: Spectators along the route held up some clever – and off-color – posters and signs to motivate and encourage runners. My three favorite: “Run like Matt Lauer is chasing you.” “This is the worst parade ever.” “Run, bitches!”
4. OVERHEARD AT MILE 10: One woman to another: “Yo quiero nalgas planas.” (“I want a flat butt.”)
5. TRUST THE TAPE, PART 1: My knees and ankles are in decent shape but sometimes feel a little iffy. Taking no chances, I relied on KT tape for extra protection. At about Mile 11, I felt as if this tape was the only thing holding my left knee and ankles together.
6. TRUST THE TAPE, PART 2: My Fitbit is falling apart, but a little electrical tape and it was as good as new. (It held for 30,019 steps!)
7. 40 OZ. OF FREEDOM: That’s an awful lot of Gatorade, but before the race, if you start drinking at 5 a.m., you can be done by 6:30 a.m., in time for a potty break or two before the 8:10 start time. (During the race, however, you might want to stick to water if you have any stomach concerns – especially if you’re using energy chews or gels. Posting this as a PSA on behalf of a friend.)
8. POTTY BREAKS: Some folks couldn’t wait for the Port-a-Potties set up at various points. Good thing there were trees and bushes along the route.
9. DRAMATIC FINISH: About a half-mile from the finish line, near Deep Ellum, half marathoners gazed in amazement over at the marathon lane as two energetic runners effortlessly glided past us. “They must be the relay folks,” one runner said. “Or the elites,” I said. “They started about a half-hour earlier than everyone.” Turns out we were both right: The two runners turned out to be Chandler Self and Ariana Luterman, just a few minutes away from their dramatic “mind over matter” destiny at the finish line that made national headlines.
10. FINAL WORDS: It was an incredible experience and a great race. And I’m looking forward to the next one. But will the next one be 26.2? Stay tuned …