This morning I reminded my son about the flowers he gave me at the 2000 NYC Marathon. I was heaving up mile 23 or so and suddenly he emerged from the crowd and handed me the colorful and lush bouquet. According to him, it was only one rose. Wow, I had made something entirely else up in my mind. Suffice it to say- it felt like a bouquet. I felt loved, noticed and admired.
My mind plays so many tricks on me during these long runs. I’ve believed that the way I feel at mile 3 will be the same at mile 15. I’ve believed that if someone blows on me at mile 18 that I will fall over and not have the ability to get up. I’ve also believed that I should run as fast as the twenty year old who weighs about twenty pounds lighter than me. I’ve believed that the blond ponytail is a tease for me to prove my true abilities. Sadly, I’ve also believed that the thirty year old guy huffing and puffing next to me would never try to outrun me up the hill. All tricks of my mind.
The long hours on the course have become a meditation of sort. As St. Theresa, I allow my distracting thoughts to fall by the wayside as children at play fall to sleep individually at a gentle pace. When I look around me, I am enraptured by the beauty of the changing leaves. Colors of reds, golds and oranges tell me that change is afoot and I am one of those things that are changing.
I can appreciate some of the tricks- like the bouquet of roses- and let the others go. I may not finish in my intended time. I may walk a bit and enjoy the city, the sights and the sounds. I am not in a race against anyone else. Running is something I do because I usually like how I feel during it and most certainly afterwards. I’m someone who likes to use words but I find it difficult to describe the running experience. I’ll just say that “I’m a runner.”