Running in the Moment

A few shots along the way.

Along the shores of Lake Champlain, a dirt road hugs the Grand Isles in what feels like infinite farmland. It was there I ran a marathon. It was my first, something I knew I'd do someday and had more meaning at home in Vermont. So I ran it and I finished and that's all. Now I'm done.

The idea was always floating around as a box to check, kind of like moving to Paris or writing a book. All of which are a little ridiculous but wholly desired. The appeal of a marathon is that it happens on a specific date and then it's over. In training, which really means the past few months, I turned off all the other noise and said to myself, "I'm focusing on one thing and that is the marathon." It kept me in the moment.

Little did I know, this thinking would carry me through the race itself. Running with the wind of jittery racers at the start made it easy, and when the half-marathon runners veered off to finish their final half, I felt like the race really began. The seasoned marathon runners hit their stride, and I realized I was instead just running a marathon. Two very different things. But it didn't matter. I was here and running for no other reason than to finish. So while I ran, I looked around at the farm houses, saw boats bouncing on a glistening lake, and farmers working the land. I felt a lot of gratitude to the people holding the flags telling me where to go and to the college kids manning the water stations. I felt the support from the neighborhood, people ringing cow bells on their front lawns cheering us on, and to the kids holding trash bags for our water cups. I was so overwhelmed with this gratitude that I literally thanked everyone along the route. It made me think about only what was around and dispelled any pain that I may have felt. When it did hurt, I talked to myself. It happened more frequently after mile 20 when I was jogging past people who once passed me and now slowed to a walk. Not wanting to follow, I thought to myself: 'You still good?' Then I'd answer, 'Yeah, I'm still good.' I kept going and ran until I finished. Be here, now, right? And now I'm done.

Marathon details can be found on the GMAA website: http://gmaa.net