Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Five Themes of My Tattoo in My Marathon

As I continue to ponder my marathon experience on Saturday, I have thought about how it captures the five themes of my tattoo--endurance, people helping people, timelessness, learning about running and spirituality where ont fields at home, and women of strength.

Endurance is what St Sebastian showed when he survived the attempted execution by archers.  Marathon running is not martyrdom.  Some may call marathon running a bit crazy, but it is not martyrdom.  I did show endurance in several ways.  Relatively consistent times for miles 1-16.  Never going above an 8 minute mile.  And coming through at the end to get my time to qualify to at least apply for Boston 2013.  All demonstrating my gifts from God.  God was pleased that I was running fast and celebrating the sabbath where the beauty of the world God created was quite evident.

People helping people--one of the friendliest marathons I've participated in.  Not everyone waived to or gave a word of encouragement to every other runner, but there was a lot of happy greetings and encouragement along the way--especially when passing or being passed in the last 6-8 miles.

Timelessness.  That is an interesting one to interpret.  Despite having my watch on and looking at it often, I felt like I had entered a timeless zone.  I really needed my watch to keep me from going too fast or too slowly.  Others around me were not running a constant pace.  Neither was I.  And when I say "around me" it was 100 yards (or more) ahead or behind in many cases.  That sense of just being in a state of having no idea how much time is passing captures the timelessness of the run--no matter how important my Boston qualifying time may have been to me.

Importance of home.  My "home turf" has a lot of rolling hills.  For the second half of the race, I ran a lot less consistent times than for the first half, but it made a bit difference to be used to rolling hills when I was able to run just under 1:36 for the first half and just under 1:38:30 for the second half.  Less than a year ago, I ran a 1:38:02 for a half marathon as my whole race.  Learning the physical aspects of what I consider my home turf and using my spirituality that I have gained in Baltimore to guide me through made a big difference.  One other thing--no longer do I think about my high school teammates or rivals when I run.  No disrespect to them and I do realize just how important that growing up experience was.  However, the reality of my running is now from my home in Baltimore.  And those are the runners I was thinking of--Rob, John, Joselyn, and Jaclyn first on the list.

Finally, women of strength.  First and foremost, my wife for coming along with me and driving on the way home.  No, being chauffeur was not her only role.  But having someone who could drive me the 2+ hours home so I could stretch and massage my muscles was wonderful.  Second, my coaches from Charm City Run over the past two years.  Two out of three--women of strength who guided, advised, and were usually out there running with us.  Thanks to Marie and Ericka.  Finally, my fellow runners.  Caroline--with whom I ran a lot last spring.  Jaclyn--part coach, part mentee in the academic life, part leader of a group that is about much more than just running.  Joselyn--fellow runner most of the 2011 marathon training season; fellow parent.  And those are just the women I have consistently run alongside.  There are other women runners who are also women of strength just for being out there.  Carrie, Sandy, and Lisa at the top of that list from CCR.  And the many women of strength from Back on My Feet.  Not that there are no fellow male runners who matter--Jerome at Christopher's Place, Paul, John, Rob, Kevin H, Christian, Dan, and the list goes on.

My marathon reflects the tattoo I will soon get in some ways I never could have imagined beforehand.

No comments:

Post a Comment