Killing the Hills

21 Apr

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Sunday in my neck of the world was one of those perfect weather spring days. Sunny, glorious, get outside. Today I’m also looking at a lovely sunny day, and I kind of want to ditch my computer (after I meet a deadline, of course) and go play. But yesterday? Patriots Day? Marathon Day? Completely sucked. Rain and cold combined for a pretty lousy day outside that probably played a part in how overwhelmed I felt by a lot of things going on (or not going on) in my life.

I hadn’t been to see the Boston Marathon in a few years–I was out of the country two years ago, and last year decided to avoid the crowds at the finish. This year I thought I’d check out a different part of the course, so I grabbed my cowbell and made my way to the start of the hill section and watch from there for a little while. I forgot to wear my waterproof shoes and grab a jacket that deflected water a little better than my windbreaker.

One of the reasons I don’t run marathons is because I can’t imagine running that far without causing some serious damage to my body. I’ll gladly do a 5K, and I’ve been known to train up to the 10K distance, but beyond that, my body just doesn’t like the pounding. I also don’t like listening to music while I run (and to be honest, I don’t like cheering for people who have their headphones in during the race) because I want to experience the race at its fullest. I also tend to have my running music going through my head regardless….though another reason that I won’t do races longer than a 5K is because I tend to either repeat snippets of these songs or mash them up, and if I had only a couple of minutes of the “Run Lola Run” soundtrack going through my head for four-plus hours, I’d go absolutely crazy.

The bigger reason I don’t run marathons is that for some reason, I get a little verklempt about the marathon as a goal. The massive numbers of people who’ve trained so hard for months, who want to realize this goal, and who are all doing it at the same time just overwhelms me. I can’t cry and run a marathon. Please. Where would I shove 26.2 miles’ worth of Kleenex?

So I stood in the cold rain for a couple of hours, cheering on all of the Steves, the Karas, the Heathers and the Mikes, the people running on Team Beef (best team name ever, Nebraskans!), folks from Denmark, Scotland, Colombia, Jamaica, Sweden, England, Germany, Brazil, Japan, this woman who’s planning to deliver a baby in six weeks, a 70-year-old guy who doesn’t look older than 60 and countless other people who were running for causes, running to win or running for themselves.

My favorite though was Brent from Alaska. He stopped by a police officer who was near me, gestured to the road and demanded, “What is this?”

The cop didn’t know what to say, so Brent kept going. “Are these hills?”

“Um, yes.”

“Let’s kill ’em!” And he took off running up the incline that would eventually become Heartbreak Hill. I’m kind of sorry I didn’t think to note his number. I hope he killed the rest of the course.

I wish I had killed the rest of yesterday, but I’ll be honest, some pretty big hills got in my way. Today’s a new day though, and it’s time to start climbing them again. Finish line’s just on the other side–not so far away.

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