Sunday, May 27, 2007

It was a marathon to remember.

It learned about myself in both training and running in it.

I persevered at ran 4 laps on Wednesday without walking a step. Jasmine wouldn’t let me—she ran by my side encouraging me to keep breathing and keep my legs moving. It was the farthest I had ever run in my life. Friday night I slept like a baby—but woke bright an early excited about the big event.

We all walked down to the boulevard, pinned our numbers onto our backs, and waited for our race. As each minute passed it got obviously hotter. And when the race didn’t start until almost 10am, the sun was already high and hot. When our race was called, we laughed to see that us teachers were almost the only ones running in our adult category.

I would say that the first lap was up there with my worst nightmare. I started out too fast so I was quickly overwhelmed by the heat and feeling tired. As I ran around the track people shouted mean comments, taunted me, and told me I couldn’t do it. Which is bad, but even worse, I think, when you are doing something that is very hard for you, something you aren’t really good at, and therefore something you don’t particularly enjoy. It was like the men on the street with their hissing and taunting, their hard, uncomfortable stares. Only times 100.

I didn’t want to do it anymore.

Which started up the debate in my head. Because I didn’t want to be a quitter. I’m not a quitter—I thought to myself. I’ve been training for this! There are lots of hard things in life that you have to press on through—what does this say about you, Sarah, if you give up now?

But my anger at the bullies didn’t make me want to run faster or longer. I wished and wish that it would have. When it came down to it, the marathon was no longer fun, and that it why I wanted to do it in the first place. Not to prove to a bunch of other people that I don’t know that I could do it, but to prove it to myself. As I finished the first lap alone, I didn’t have it in me to face the people again. Tears mixed with sweat and stung my eyes—so angry that I let them get to me, that I couldn’t block it out, that I couldn’t make it my own race. But if it were going to be my own race, I wouldn’t have decided to do it in the first place.

I had an unbelievably better time cheering for my colleagues, buying them water and handing it out at the top of the hardest hill to talk yourself into climbing. But shortly after I started handing out waters, Jasmine jogged by. She looked tired and asked if I would run a lap with her. I ended up doing the last two laps with her, and we finished the race hand in hand. Having had time to rest, I was able to help her keep her pace, and use all of her own encouraging phrases to help her finish the race. She said she doesn’t think she could have finished without me, and I know I wouldn’t have finished without her.

So the marathon didn’t go exactly how I thought it would. But things you look forward to rarely do.

I checked after the race. 93 feels like 101 degrees. Not everyone can say they attempted a marathon in that heat!

p.s. Today is cloudy (of COURSE), and right now at 11am it is still only 91 feels like 94. The injusticia!


Anonymous steph said...

you are my hero and i am so proud of you. you're super and I certainly couldn't do it. I would have kicked the stupid taunting men in the baby makers.

8:25 AM  

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