Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hypothermic Half Marathon, Race Report

Today I feel as though I let an old friend down. A little over a year ago Michael died from a rare cancer. He was a Buddhist, a poet and a photographer. Michael inspired thousands with his courage and his wisdom. He had an office job, but his soul was invested his in his art. Today I ran for Michael. I scrawled his poem, Fatigue (a poem he wrote days before his death), on my bib and intended to use several of its lines as my mantra as I fatigued.
But blessings of blessings.
I can still feel the life force.
I can still feel the life force.
I was unable to finish today's race. At mile 1.92 (I checked) my left calf exploded and I came to a painful grinding halt... dead in the water, cacked. Eighteen weeks of relentless training in sub-zero weather for what? 1.92 miles! Yes, I was deeply disappointed and I was angry... with myself. As runners swarmed past I masked the pain behind a weak smile and reassured them, best I could, that I was alright. But I was so deeply disappointed in myself.
I am strong, I run marathons, and I can barely walk!?
So many runners stopped to offer assistance and encouragement. They were kind and concerned with my wellbeing. One walker even offered me her pole. I was remined how fortunate I am to run with such an amazing community.
As I hobbled back to the start line, freezing in the thin layers (where was the damn sweep anyway?) I thought of Michael. With thick fingers I removed my bib and read his poem aloud as I limped along the trail, homeward. I read the poem several times, silently, and then out loud. It became peaceful, and in that moment, that fleeting moment frozen in time, I understood the life force which Michael so eloquently described. The sun warmed my face. The wind evaporated.
My injury is nothing, my disappointment merely a simple quirk of human nature. I should be celebrating the life force, not feeling disappointment. Disappointment is such a egocentric state of mind. I will heal and I will run. Next time I will succeed.
A Reminder to myself.
Living life to its fullest
isn't about
checking off thrills from a list;
It's about being fearless in following my dreams,
courageous in accepting
that some will go unfulfilled
and taking the time to savor
something as simple
as a cup
of tea
It was a good day to be alive and I captured a bit of the life force at the finish line. Thanks all for such a wonderful journey.Thank you Michael for your strength.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure you know you didn't really let my brother Michael down. Just the opposite. Valerie

Unknown said...

Thank you Valerie. Your comment means a lot to this old sack of bones. Mike

Jen said...

I'm so sorry the race didn't go as you planned. It's hard when SO much goes into training. But I love your attitude and I learn so much from you. There is something great about the life force that we fail to see much of our days. Thanks for your insight and reminder to enjoy our days here while we have them.

Anonymous said...

Michael, I cannot tell you how saddened I was to see you walking painfully back to the starting line. Your love for running and passion for life are an inspiration to us all. I know that that passion will continue to grow and make your next race your strongest yet.

roentgen said...

Thanks for sharing your heartfelt thoughts about the race, and your reasons for participating. I too believe that the most important reasons for running, are often unrelated to the timing or completion of the event. Rest well and I look forward to your next entry :)

The Hoyt Family said...

Wow what a great inspirational post.. Thank you I really needed that.. I'm sorry for the outcome of the race. what a great attitude you have..

Mel said...

Inspirational! Thanks.