Sunday, March 29, 2009

Finishing Well

This morning Craig and went to watch a friend run a 1/2 marathon over on Whidbey Is.   The sun was shining but it was really cold.  We saw where the full marathoners were starting at Rosario Beach then found her before she took off from the school.  The walkers followed the runners.   

We went and had coffee and grabbed a little breakfast, then cheered on the runners at the first station, then just waited at the finish line, enjoying the leaders already coming in.  

It was so interesting, seeing all shapes, sizes, weights, builds, colors and nationalities from all over the place come together and do what to me, looks really difficult.  My knees hurt just thinking about it and my heart goes irregular imagining it!   Everyone had their own rhythm and gait.  Some shuffled in, some hobbled, some were crying in pain, a few crying in surprise and joy that they had crossed the finish line.   A few skipped and danced.  For some it was a private moment and others wanted an audience.  

There were married couples who would celebrate with a handclasp or kiss at the finish line, and friends who celebrated with a hug as they crossed over together.  Which was sweet because it seemed like one was the stronger one and had encouraged the other to keep on.

One man, who was actually in one the first group coming in  totally collapsed in a heap and face planted about 4 feet from the finish line.  A gal coming in behind him and another person on the side helped him up and over the finish line.  I cried. 

The lead full marathoner dropped down on his knees  in what looked like thanksgiving when he crossed 'finish'.   One gal started sobbing and could hardly get her composure once she realized she was finished.  She kept saying, 'I did it, I did it'.  There were many people over 70 in the 1/2 and the full - men and women.   It was unbelievable!    Lots of them were smiling like they were at a picnic!  That was surreal! 

It seemed like many people were there alone, running for themselves and their own personal best.  Some had lots and lots of support and cheering, but for every single one, it seemed like the reward was an inner thing.  Intrinsic.  

Many of the 'walkers' came in right alongside the runners.  It gave power walking a whole new definition.   

Observing the faces, the body language, the pain, the tears and the joy, brought me some intense emotions vicariously!   The grit, determination, strength, courage and resilience was amazing to witness.  I too, in so many different ways, want to stay the course, go the distance no matter what, and finish.  Finishing IS finishing well!     

1 comment:

Kent, Melisa,Tiana (and Coda) said...

Indeed, crossing the finish line is such an AWESOME feeling! It is internal, it is celebratory - walking or running! What great friends to go and cheer on a friend! Right now I'm training for my third 1/2 marathon -- this one has the hopes of being run over 3/4 of it! The first was a nothing more than a long, long walk, the second was a combo of running and walking - about 1/3 was run, this one we hope to run 3/4 of, if not the whole thing! WHEW!!!