Thursday, November 13, 2008

The sea of jell-o

This morning, I did it. The alarm went off at 5 a.m. I begrudgingly turned on the light, threw on my running clothes (including my new "The miracle is not that I finished; the miracle is that I had the courage to start" shirt!), searched through the pile of clean tech clothes for a pair of matching socks, put on my shoes, cut off the tracker tag from the marathon and drove to the trailhead.

And then I waited. And waited. And checked my cell phone for the time. Four minutes till -- surely someone will show up... but what do I do if they don't? Run alone at 5:30? Go home, sleep and vow to run this evening? - No, that won't work... have a meeting. And isn't weather supposed to get bad? 

Luckily, just as I was giving up hope, a maroon car pulled into the lot -- my ever-dependable running partner! 

And thus began my first post-marathon run. Garmin-free, even. I have no idea what pace we ran. Somewhat freeing -- and somewhat "help! I'm naked!" 

The dark and cold were comforting. The lack of a plan and a timeline was encouraging. This run was for me. As we started, I discovered that I have forgotten how to breathe. Or at least I've forgotten how to run without panting. "We are marathoners," we encouraged ourselves. Or maybe it was just Tiffany encouraging me -- her breathing was normal. Her breathing is always normal. And have I mentioned that she's always cheerful? She is. A lesser person could hate her for that at 5:30. I find it inspiring. "We are marathoners," I thought. 

"I am a marathoner who is not sure she run for more than a few feet...." No, suppress that thought. "I completed a freakin' marathon -- what's a few miles without a Garmin?"

"I can tell I'm not back in full form," Tiffany offered. No, I responded. It seems the world is made of jell-o — or something thicker than jell-o. I must carve a tunnel in order to take each step. And by the way, did someone coat the trail in glue? 

After the turnaround, I found myself mentally picturing the mile markers. I could do this — right? As we approached Dunn Bro's, I knew I needed to take action. "Fartlek to the bridge!" I yelled while taking off. Tiffany and I both sped up. "Oh, the bridge is farther than I thought!" The pine tree is good... We settled back into the plodding jell-o pace, but giggling. A hint of the fun and play of running emerged. 

And it was done. We had reached the parking lot. The two people who braved the thicker-than-jell-o-morning and survived. Perhaps more than survived. What's with all the losers who slept in?