12.09.2013

The Marathon that Wasn't

On Friday, December 6, 2013 I was poised to run a marathon the next day.


But, Mother Nature decided that it was not meant to be.

To be honest, at first, I was pretty upset. I shed a couple tears, sitting with my friends at the Heroes Pasta Party. But, as Rick Shadyac said, "We must remember that we are only a small part of this community." He was talking about Memphis and Shelby County. Shelby County had been declared in a State of Emergency, meaning that already the medical and police personnel who were going to help with the race was reduced. Many volunteer groups had told St. Jude coordinators that they would be late, diminished in numbers or not there at all. And worst of all, AutoZone park, the location of our finish, was a GIANT sheet of ice. Meaning that you might manage to make it through your first 26 miles, but that .2 might quite actually be what does "it" for you.

I was really excited about running this race. I was excited to check off "Run a Marathon" from my "Things to get done" list that I had written with my mom. I was excited to do that in my hometown. I was excited to do that with my friend Kirsten from 1st grade, with whom I had reconnected through running. I was happy to change the meaning of the date on the calendar and remember it for something wonderful and positive. It was going to be a great way to finish off my year. I was supporting an amazing hospital and accomplishing an amazing feat with all sorts of wonderful people around me.

But, Mother Nature decided that it was not meant to be.

A long while back, I joined a facebook group; RUN365. It's a goofy group of runners. Some are so super fast, it blows my mind. Some are slow and I am reminded by their posts how hard I've worked to get where I am. And others are in the middle, like me, working to improve a little each day. This year I've invited numerous friends and family members to come run and to join the group. One such friend, Carrye, was supposed to run the half marathon. An event that is unremarkable for many, but I got her to come run with me for the first time in July. So this is kind of a big deal for her, too.

But, Mother Nature decided that it was not meant to be.

As a teacher, I spend a lot of time trying to teach my students lessons that are not in my curriculum guide. They have little to do with classroom biology and everything to do with life. Friday night I was not a nice person to talk to. I was rude, I was ugly, I was disrespectful, I was unkind. I did not remember the lessons I have shared with my students so often.

And then, I made plans to run with one of my RUN365 friends who I met for the first time in person at that Heroes Pasta Party. We  were not the only ones out there! Some ran the whole course, some ran in other parts of the city, some ran just what they felt like running. We decided to meet downtown and run. The distance was to be determined by how we felt in the cold and it was cold! We would wear our Heroes singlets, since we earned every stitch of them. Starting at the Peabody hotel, we ran into the front of the closed AutoZone park to survey the ice, down Beale St, down Main Street, by Gus's and Raiford's and South of Beale, by the National Civil Rights Museum, and the FedEx Forum right past 2 basketball players and from there we could see LeBonheur and St. Jude and the entire Memphis skyline and we decided to run to St. Jude. We ran down to the campus and the security guard told us where we could and could not go. We ran to St. Jude and took our own race photos with the statue and then ran back to Peabody and got to the front of AutoZone park. And it was 5.24 miles, exactly 1/5 of the marathon. And then we saw them. Runners with medals. We asked where they got them and they told us to run around back and "finish" and we too could have our medals. So we did.

Mother Nature said that the marathon was not meant to be and it wasn't. But for so many of us, the spirit and the message of St. Jude, to work through all obstacles was already in our minds, our hearts, our spirits and our feet. So we ran our victory laps.

It was the marathon that wasn't.

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