Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Spectators

I've struggled with whether or not I would write this blog post.  I didn't know if having only run a couple of long races at close to a 14 minute mile qualified me as having enough knowledge to make any comments regarding the events of April 15, 2013.  Why should I, piddly racer of 6 races in a stretch of 3 years have any opinion in regards to what happened in Boston?  I've not been a runner my entire life, never gone farther than 15 miles, never been a tough mudder, never lettered in track and field.  I've never been seen as the athletic type.  My bottom half of my body makes up 90% of my body weight.  I have varicose veins, bad knees, plantar fascitis, and by all measurements am overweight.  Yeah, I'm not the typical runner.  Just some recent examples:

Me, coming out of the castle at the 2013 Princess Half Marathon.  KTTape all over my knee

Me, at the McLeod Health 10K in March.  I earned a PR for the 10K.  And finished 3rd to last.

Post memorial training run for Boston.

Yeah, I'm not your typical, skinny kneed, 0% body fat runner.  But I get out there.  I give 100%.  Most days are lonely affairs when I'm training.  It's me, the road, and LeCrae.  Sometimes it's so cold, I see my breath with every step.  Sometimes it's so hot I'm suffocating.  I still run, knowing that a race is forthcoming.

I know when the race comes, that there will be people lining the streets of the race with signs telling me,
"I'm proud of you, too, random stranger" or
“Run Like an Angry Kenyan” or
"I'm sure this seemed like a good idea three months ago"

People I've never met, and probably will never see again, are cheering me on, regardless of whether they know me or not, no matter my weight, no matter my smelly sweat.

On Monday, April 15, 2013, the attacks on the Boston Marathon were not on the runners as much as those friends of mine that I will never in most cases know:  the spectators.  People there to soak up the fun, cheer on friends, and stick around for family had their lives changed irrevocably for no other reason than they were there.  Mass chaos and confusion were wrought on people who make mine and most runners' training worthwhile.  I've heard on a podcast that the race is the party to celebrate all of the training you've done.  The spectators are the partygoers.  And not just any partygoers, but the ones who do everything from cheer you on to call a cab when you've just pushed yourself too far.  

So, am I angry about what happened?  Darned tootin.  I'm angry for the three lives lost on that day.  I'm angry for the people who lost limbs.  People who will never have the chance I have in the future to run their own races.

As I move towards my next half marathon on Sunday, my prayers are not only for the safety of myself and my fellow runners, but of the friends out there who I may never know. . the spectators.

And for those friends, most of whom I will never know, thank you for picking me up on my way to the finish line:

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV 
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Rest for the Weary

Ah, rest, sweet rest!  After a 2 am start for the day, my first flight, and running around, I went to the room and crashed.  When I got up later, I had originally planned to go to the pool at POP Century.  But that seemed foolish to do in 40-degree weather.  Instead, I hopped on the first bus to the Magic Kingdom to pick up my tickets early.

This is a little known fact about Disney.  If you come in early for a trip, you can pick up your tickets early if they are part of a package.  The girl at the Magic Kingdom was not convinced, but entertained me anyway.  I threw out a friend's name who is a Cast member (I don't think I ever told Megan I did that), and next thing I know, I was on my way.  I had no intentions of going into the Magic Kingdom, though.  I needed to be over at the Polynesian for dinner, so I hopped on one of these:

I was going to dinner.  I chose a place I had never been to before, but had read good reviews about:  the Kona Island sushi bar.

There, I was able to watch them make sushi right before my eyes, which is truly amazing.  My choice for the night?  A Volcano Roll:

This was true deliciousness in a plate.

Now the new plan for the night was to go to Epcot.  Although it was cold, I walked around the Polynesian for a little bit, taking in the sites:

The lobby waterfall

From the beach

Up the hill.  I think they may do weddings up here

The neverland club building.  Looks a lot like the creepy Polynesian people on It's a Small World and clowns.  I'm not a fan.

I was grateful that this started a real leisurely night.  There is something to be said for taking things slow, and that is definitely what I did.