Today I ran the Salt Lake Half Marathon with my friends Tiffany and Lisa. I think this is my 7th Half Marathon (hmmm, let’s see 1. Salt Lake I | 2. Las Vegas | 3. Surf City I | 4. Salt Lake II | 5. Halloween | 6. Surf City II, yep, it’s the 7th).
I don’t even really like to run. I think it’s probably offensive to people who actually train for me to call myself a “runner”. When the winner of the marathon essentially “laps” you and you see his body moving the way that God intended it to move, that perfect stride, looking utterly effortless…well now, THAT’S a runner.
I’ve had so many people ask me why I do this, this crazy, half marathon running business, I thought about it the whole day. I thought about it as I woke up at 5:30 with just four hours of sleep. I thought about it as we had our nervous pee in the steaming Honey Buckets before the start. I thought about it as I felt my 2nd toe blisters coming in. I thought about it as I walked most of the “suck mile” (that’s mile 11-12 for me). I thought about it as I made that final push at the .1-mile-to-go-so-let’s-run-so-hard-you-feel-like-you’re-gonna-puke-because-you-can-see-the-finish-line-and-there-is-a-medal-and-a-piece-of-delicious-fruit-waiting-for-you-there. (P.S. as I sit here on the couch, dreading the thought of moving, staring down the barrel of my 35th birthday, I’m officially acknowledging that runner or no, I really am going to need to start training for these things.)
This is why I do it.
- I do it for Lisa. Because Lisa inspired me. She inspires me to do a lot of things. She’s amazing and wonderful and I never would have started doing this without her.
- I do it for Tiffany. Because I would not have gotten to know her like this if I didn’t run. She is smart and funny and gorgeous and I’m so happy she is a part of my life.
- I do it for the medal. Because it is an accomplishment. And that feels good dammit.
- I do it for the same reason that I choose the stairs instead of the escalator. I do it because I can. I do it to thank God for this incredible body with these legs that move me and this beating heart and these big lungs and this gift of health that I have. I do it to feel ALIVE. This is my testimony.
- I do it to watch the sun rise. I do it to smell the wet rain on the pavement. I do it to see the world from a different perspective. I do it to be outside.
- I do it because it’s fun. I do it to run down State Street, or the Pacific Coast Highway, or Las Vegas Boulevard. I do it for an excuse to crank up my favorite songs and go inside my head for a couple of hours. I do it to just let go and think about whatever free-flows in there. Good memories, bad memories, day dreams and fantasies. It’s cool in there, inside my own head.
Mostly, I do it to belong, in some small way, to this loving community full of weirdos like me that for whatever reason, run. I do it because everyone gets up early, gets to the start line, and does something good for themselves, oh and pays a hefty fee to clean up after their messes (I do try to hit those garbage cans at the water stops, I really do) and raises money for charity at the same time. And no one is competitive. No one makes you feel fat or stupid or ugly or like you’re not enough. They’re just happy to be there and happy that you’re there. No one acts like an A-hole. There is so much love and encouragement. And we’re talking about tens of thousands of people here.
I do it because it makes me believe in humanity and what we can do if we just put our minds to it.