The Band at Warbird Park

You should have seen me and the other walkers and joggers at the back of the pack as we exited what used to be the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base last Saturday morning. We were juking and jiving to the sounds of “Kansas City” that came from a band set up at Warbird Park. One of the advantages of being in the rear is that since you don’t have to worry about time, you can relax and enjoy the journey. I’d be willing to bet that many of the speedsters ahead of us didn’t even notice the band, much less let it affect their pace.

This is absolutely my last post about Saturday’s half-marathon in Myrtle Beach. If I had allowed my qualms about finishing get to me, I never would have experienced that sight or those sounds. Those guys were really into their music!

For some reason, I always get anxious and uptight before any kind of event such as this one. Tossing and turning, I often move from one bed to another, sometimes ending up on a couch. Friday night and the wee hours of Saturday morning were no exception. Desperate for a few hours of shut-eye, I even succumbed to biting off half of a Tylenol PM.

At some point during the night, I decided that I just wasn’t going to do it. Nope. That was all there was to it. I could not and would not embarrass myself by going out and walking 13.1 miles on such a sleep deficit. When it began to rain, that cemented the deal. I finally dozed off, and when I awoke at 4:30 a.m., my first thought was, “Let’s do this thing!”

Because of that decision I saw and heard and experienced things that I’d have missed otherwise.  Here are a few of them:

  • The excitement and energy of the crowd as we stood in the rain under the streetlights on Bob Grissom Parkway near Broadway at the Beach. It was especially cool to share some of those moments with one of my brothers.
  • A man running barefoot. Ouch.
  • A woman dressed in yellow from head to toe including her yellow headdress that was supposed to represent the sun.
  • The man in the orange t-shirt that I used to pace myself. Although I passed him from time to time, he proved to be my nemesis and crossed the finish line several minutes before I did.
  • The man holding the American flag aloft as he ran.
  • The man holding up his left hand in a gesture of peace.
  • More colorful and zany outfits than I have time to describe.
  • The strong headwind that just about did us in.
  • The sun coming up over the ocean.
  • The light in the steeple at First Baptist Church
  • The woman from Delaware that I crossed the finish line with. She had left 60 inches of snow the day before to travel to SC.
  • The experience of Facetiming with my son and his daughter as I strolled down Ocean Boulevard.
  • The enthusiastic cheers of Coastal Carolina students who offered water and Gatorade.

I’m glad I got out there and made some good memories. If anyone out there in Blogland has some half marathon or marathon memories to share, I’d sure like to hear them. Mike? Elaine?

Too Precious to Squander

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It’s no secret that I’ve been training for a half marathon this coming Saturday. Don’t get me wrong. I’m no speedster. It’s not like I’m going for the gold. Not at all. I just want to finish the 13.1 miles with a reserve of energy left for the day’s events. And I’d like to have only a minimal amount of discomfort. No stiff legs the next morning.

As I’ve trained (using this word a little loosely), a lot of advice and a number of platitudes have come back to me. I’m sharing a few in the hope that doing so might motivate you in some way whether it’s an exercise goal, an academic challenge, a work aspiration, or a family objective.

My first husband used to advise me to go for endurance and then work on speed. There are many people who do little to prepare themselves for success and then give it all they’ve got on the big day. This doesn’t work, at least not usually. One of my nephews did literally nothing to prepare for the Cooper River Bridge Run one year, and yet on the big day, he managed to whiz by all of us. However, he was 16 years old and physically fit.

Go the distance to reap the reward.

A platitude with a lot of truth behind it is “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.” For the most part, I believe that. If I were to sing and sing and sing and never get selected for the choir, I’d feel justified in quitting. Why? I’m just not good enough.

However, there are thousands, probably millions, of people out there who quit endeavors of all kinds, not because they don’t have what it takes but because they just aren’t motivated enough. Maybe they’re lazy. Maybe something else motivates them more. Or maybe they’re actually afraid of success. There’s a syndrome about that (FOS).

If I quit on Saturday, it will be because my left knee finally cracked.

When I was 34 years old, one of my best friends died of cancer, and until that time, I had never seriously considered just how quickly a person’s life could end. She was so young and beautiful. Recently married, she was just beginning to adjust to married life and was considering buying a house.

On the weekend of her funeral, I was jogging, my mind filled with memories of my friend, when I recalled an article I’d read in Runner’s World. The author told of coming upon a fatal accident while he was out running one morning. Disturbed by the scene, he jogged away with an increased appreciation for his healthy heart and lungs and thought, “Ah life!” Exactly!

Ah life! You’re too precious to squander.

I know there are readers out there who are working towards something, some goal that’s important to them. What advice can you add to the above? Or perhaps you’ll consider sharing a story of your own.