Saturday, September 21, 2013

Day 134: We're in it together, you know.

Two years ago, in early November, I watched the NYC marathon from 65th and 1st.  I was waiting for my friend Robbie, who was the very first person I ever knew to run it.  At Mile 16, just like me, thousands of onlookers (I think the actual estimate is 2 million) were scrutinizing the runners for their friends and family.  We wanted to be able to shout the names of our loved ones as they ran by.

The woman next to me was doing the same, and when she spotted her husband she shouted at him.  He was walking (as many runners were by this point in the race) and he came from the center of the street over to her.  As he walked over I could tell he was limping, and when he approached her, he started to cry.

Over the rail she hugged him, and he just cried into her arms.  They hugged forever.

I don't know what happened -- assuming injury -- but witnessing that hug was a strangely special experience.  Here I was, this total stranger who happened to be standing near, and there they were, in an intimate embrace usually reserved for the privacy of... anywhere with less than a few thousand people hanging out.  And they just hugged, and I've never forgotten it.

And that's the marathon for you.  Even as a spectator, the collective human will and strength and pain and love that goes into the millions of hours of effort by tens of thousands of humans will make things like crying in front of strangers okay.  Because we're all in it together, you know.


That's what I was thinking today while I was drove home from a 12-mile run.

I'm finally getting emotional about the marathon; I can feel myself letting go of last year's heartbreak.  Like entering into a new relationship when your last one was a bust, there's a certain amount of trust I am rebuilding. But after last week's 18-miler, I can feel that trust strengthening, and I'm becoming vulnerable again.  Envisioning the finish makes me tear up.  Thinking about the love and support I've received from my family and friends makes me feel my knees buckle.  I'm so humbled by this pursuit.

Day 134, by the numbers:

271 - miles run to date
11.74 - today's run
2:02 - time it took
10:24 - average minute per mile

p.s.  Not to gross you out, but... my 18-mile blisters!

Have a happy weekend.  :)

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