I’ve had so many positive responses to the marathon postings that I decided to post one more. You folks who responded were mighty positive and encouraging, and I appreciate that; it makes me want to keep on keeping on. Tonight I thought I’d share two things, one about how I got started in the running craze back in the 1980s and the other about the motive behind marathoning.
My first husband and my two brothers used to run in races all over the state of SC “back in the day,” and my daughters and I would usually follow them around like groupies. One day as we were waiting for the men to come across the finish line, I noticed this older lady as she rounded the corner and ran towards us. She was wearing some of the shortest shorts I’d ever seen with panty hose, and her hair was teased, sprayed, and perfectly in place. Feeling something between astonishment and awe, I began talking with her, and she announced that she was 57 years old and that her husband and two daughters were somewhere behind her! She beat them all. I decided then and there that if she could do it, so could I. We went shopping for my first pair of running shoes that afternoon, and they were hideous but comfortable…orange with yellow trim.
Years passed, and one day my oldest child came home from college and announced that she and Michelle, a friend of hers, were going to participate in a marathon in Alaska. “Yeah, right,” I thought. She went on to tell me that several Coastal Carolina students were going to raise money for the Leukemia Society through an organization called “Team in Training.” She had my attention, and Carrie, Michelle, and I joined about 45 or 50 other people from the Myrtle Beach area in raising over $3,000 each for leukemia research, a feat that culminated in flying to Anchorage for the Governor’s Midnight Run on June 21, 1996. Bake sales, yard sales, raffles, car washes, and donations from friends are some of the ways we raised the money.
The marathon was phenomenal, and maybe I’ll write about that later. For tonight, I want to share the most motivating statement I picked up during our training. One of the trainers from another town joined our group one night and shared her experience in Alaska the preceding summer. She spoke of the blisters, shin splints, and overall weariness and also of the exhilarating feeling of turning a corner and realizing she had accomplished her goal. Here’s what got to me though. It fact, it still does. She said (I’m paraphrasing a bit), “You’ll feel tired and weak all over. Your feet will hurt, your legs will ache, and your lower back might even feel weird. But you know what? After a warm bath and a good night’s rest you’ll be as good as new. Your patients, however, the ones you’re raising money for, won’t be so lucky.”
The upshot of the above two stories is that I get out and get moving (although much slower) because I still can. I do it for those who can’t. I do it in memory of those whose hospital bracelets Carrie and I wore that day in Anchorage, Carrie for her granny (my mother) and me for my friend Linda, both of whom lost their battles with cancer.