Run Life's Course

Run Life's Course
It's The Course and the Finish that Counts

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Day Has Come

3:30AM - Wake up and stream service at my church.
5AM - Shutdown computer.  Pray again and place bib on shirt.  Throw on Powermax wristband because I was sold, yes sold, that this would give me strength.  Drink some orange juice.   Take shower and get dressed.  Place the energy jelly beans in the back pocket of my Under Armour capris.
5:30AM - Take taxi to the start.  Brave the drizzling rain and sit on sidewalk.  OMG I would never imagine rain on marathon day.  Note to self:  Pray the rain away!
6:00AM - When will this start?  The drizzle is now real rain.  Drums are sounding.  It must be hype time!  And now let's sing the Star Spangled Banner and wait for the announcer to give a thousand thank yous.
6:30AM - Finally the start!  As I start running I am wondering how all these people can group together to run 26.2 miles.  When will all these people drop off?  Oh Lord, people are just flying by me like I am not even walking.  Maybe they are late or started in the wrong corral.

Mile 1 - Water stop but I am not thirsty.  Am I supposed to stop at every water stop?  Is there a methodology that I am supposed to follow?  I am a scientific person and there should be a proven approach.  Okay maybe not for runners like me that don't like to carry water bottles for 26.2 miles.  I stop to get water and I am off and running again.
Mile 1.5 - Elvis is running next to me.  A band is playing.  I run two blocks and there is a reggae band playing some Bob Marley.  If marathons are always so supportive with music, I might run a couple a year. 
Mile 2 - 12 - Enjoying the sites. Intermittent stops for water and running by the bands.  Drizzle changes to mist and the weather lands on cloudy.  Balboa Park (check), Gaslight Village (check), and Grant Hill (check).
Mile 12 - Time to play a sermon on the iPod.  This will at least take an hour of my time and a word from the Lord would be great right now.
Mile 18 - It worked.  Okay another sermon it is.
Mile 22 - Note to Self:  I am 2 miles short.  Either the preacher decided to let everyone go home early that day or I am fading and have hit my wall.  No this preacher never preaches less than an hour.  How am I going to make it?
Listening to another sermon I don't think I can run anymore.  Who is going to tear down this wall?  Out of the blue, a lady walked beside me and complemented me on my shirt.  Note to self:  It's just a white Nike shirt. I hope she does not think that is a pickup line. I might be tired but I don't roll like that.
She asks me if can she walk with me because the words on my shirt were encouraging her along for the last 3 miles.  Oblivious to what she is talking about, it must have shown on my face.  She repeated the Bible verse on the back of the tee-shirt that was underneath my white long sleeve tee shirt.  "I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me".
That's amazing that I have been dragging along hitting a wall and someone has been motivated by a shirt I am wearing.  And that is my life, encouraging others unknowingly when I am going through things myself.  A timely angel - we walked together right when I needed the motivation.  She further talked about the Christian services they are having for runners that evening and the Christian athletic association she founded at her university employer.
Mile 24 - She says to me let's run and finish.
Mile 25 - She tells me to go ahead because she is going to have to walk.  I stopped with her until she caught her breath and she ran for about 5 minutes and told me to go ahead.  Instead I encouraged her to jog with me and that we were going to the finish line together.
Mile 25.7 - The marines were out with their "bootcamp" antics shouting words of encouragement.  If I ever felt sorry for those in the Armed Forces, I feel worse for them now.  God bless them for having to deal with this order-taking screaming.  Now I am telling my new running buddy that I can not make it and she points to the finish line.  My God my God - it is within reach.
Mile 26 - With tears on the verge I feel like that woman in the Bible that said "if I can just touch the hem of His garment".  The finish is almost here if I can just push along.  As shouts pour out from all the spectators, we approach the finish line and put our hands up.
Mile 26.2 - THE FINISH.  We hug each other as we cross the finish and thank each other for the motivation.  I am done with my newfound proof there is nothing I can not accomplish.  It may take me longer than others but I can get there.
Now how do I get out of this Finish Area.  Medal. Picture.  And now the pain in my hips, leg, and feet.  Where is the street so I can take a taxi back to the hotel.  It's been 30 minutes and I am still walking out of this barracks.  WTH! Don't the race organizers know we have just run 26 miles.  Are they on crack?
My feet are on fire and I am watching finishers walking slowly in even flip-flops.   Oh how quick the bliss of the finish line is OVER.  Let me out of here and get me to my hotel so I can sit down.  Finally I see an exit and a military employee tells me my hotel is about 3 miles away.  Lord hold my tongue because I am about to cuss.  THE PAIN!!!
Finally I cross the street at the light and there is a bicycle taxi.  There is another guy that wants to take it and we agree to share since his hotel was on the way to mine.  The cost was $20 but it could have been $120 that day and I would have paid it. Awww the seat feels so good.  Being off my feet feels fabulous.
I did not remember until I got to the door of the hotel the elevators were a million miles from the lobby.  Here I go again!  I make it to the elevator and these other "happy" fnishers tell me to take an ice cold bath for 15 minutes and I will be just like new.  Don't be all happy after 26 miles and walk around like nothing and tell me about an ice cold bath.  Don't they know that I just want to lie down.
I get to my room and the bed never looked so good.  Bending down to take off my sneakers, barefoot never felt so perfect but my feet were still on fire.  Thank goodness for Platinum status for late check-outs.  30 minutes after lying on the bed and calling my dad to tell him about the race, I head for a cold shower and an Epsom Salt bath.  Ice in the tub was not happening.  I get dressed, call for the car, and take what seems to be a million mile walk to the hotel lobby.
Valet pulls the car to the bottom of the driveway.  Is he kidding me?  Timeout:  The guy saw me limping and saw me raise my hand for him to stop the car and he kept going.  What is he - the devil?  I make it to the car and he says that he needed to move the car out of the way so someone could pass him.  Note to self:  Say nothing. Smile and just downsize his tip.
I get in the car and drive back to Los Angeles to spend the night before my flight out to my favorite hellish project.  I arrive in LA and head straight for the bed with two ice packs for my knees.  I go to sleep and was not braced for the after-effects the next three days of "Let the Pain Begin".