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I think I get it now

May 11, 2009

Sunday morning I headed over to my mom’s house for Mother’s day. As I arrived there, some of the street was cordoned off for a half-marathon and there were cops and flaggers directing traffic. I parked and headed over to my mom’s condo when I saw the runners coming around the corner. I didn’t know it at the time but they were finishing up the last leg of the marathon, about five miles from the finish. There were some volunteers standing there cheering them on with noise makers, claps, and vocals congratulating them on their successes.

I stopped and stood there, watching the runners, the cheerers, just processing what they were doing. Part of me was disappointed I didn’t know that event was happening – not that I could have run very far right now anyway, but I could have walked, had I known. I just stood and stared.

While watching them, I had some sort of epiphany. I think I get it now – the motivation to run in a marathon, a half marathon, or even a 3, 5 or 10k – walk, run, or bike. Whatever the challenge, I get it.

It’s about more than just pushing your body further than you thought you could. It’s also about the camaraderie and community that goes along with a group event like this. Yes, each person is competing individually, challenging themselves individually, but together, there is something undefinable. Something about the energy that seeps out among everyone, the enthusiasm, the pride, the accomplishment. Some people running have always been fit, have always been able to run. But not so for everyone. Some people have overcome unknown obstacles and physical challenges to bring them to where they are. None of that matters, but all of that matters. Together they are all there for a common goal, all running in the same direction, unified.

It’s that basic sense of humanness that struck me this morning. As I stood there, I choked up. But at the same time, I was energized. From across the parking lot, I could feel their adrenaline and energy. And it’s infectious.

I’m not saying I’m going to run a marathon. But I’m saying I finally get it why people do, and I congratulate them and applaud them for doing so. If I can’t run a marathon – and today I can’t, but that doesn’t mean someday I won’t be able to – at least I can stand on the sideline, soak up the energy and positiveness, and cheer them on.

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7 Comments
  1. Mary permalink
    May 12, 2009 6:30 am

    So totally right on Claire! I watched my daughter run the Eugene Marathon last weekend and was totally inspired to get back into training. Of course when she was done she exclaimed “I’m NEVER doing this again”, but that’s what she said after the Portland Marathon…she’ll do it again! You do pick up the vibe from those competing and it is so totally a personal thing. I’m not sure that I could do a whole marathon…I know I can run 5K and probably 10K if someone is chasing me and my life depended on it! It’s the journey that counts!

    • May 12, 2009 7:47 am

      Thanks, Mary. It really was an indescribable feeling, and I’m glad I was able to express some of that, and it was on target. It really is alluring….

  2. May 12, 2009 7:34 am

    By george… indeed you do have it! The camaraderie, the sense of accomplishment, the cheers, the medals, the stale bagels and browning banana halfs. Heaven. You’d love it, Claire. And after you run a half or a full, you realize that you can do anything that you want to do in life. Anything.

    Join us! I’d recommend training with a team of some sort the first time out. Really helps motivate you and sets you up for success.

    • May 12, 2009 7:48 am

      Beth, I’m giving it some serious consideration. I need to start with strength training I’m sure. I even dreamed last night that I ran a mile down the hill in Kirkland. Have to get my chiro’s ok on the back tho… but with strength training, and the right shoes, I bet I could do it. My first goal will be a half *mile*. LOL. Baby steps.

  3. May 12, 2009 8:13 am

    I totally believe you can do this. You’ve done everything you set out to do, this would be no different. You’re always a great role model.

    Off topic: How did you get your Twitter updates to show? When I added that widget, it just said something like “Twitter Updates” and then no updates. 😦

    • May 12, 2009 8:18 am

      Thanks, Wendy. 🙂 I’m not sure how I got it to display other than using the Twitter widget that WP offers with my theme. I’m using the Vigilance theme. Make sure that you fill in the user name and options in the widget too. 🙂

  4. May 12, 2009 8:43 am

    My wasband was a runner until his knees went. He started in high school and ran until he couldn’t any more. He loved it. He ran the Boston Marathon in three hours. When we were younger he ran a race every weekend. We would travel all over New England so he could race. I can’t run myself but I can understand why someone would want to. Running made him happy. There is a community of runners. I didn’t even run but I loved going to the races.

    You are right, start slowly and build yourself up. I know you can do this. You obviously have a lot of fortitude. You have accomplished so much already. Go for it!!!

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