There's an Indigo Girls song with this refrain:
don’t you write it down, remember this in your head
don’t take a picture, remember this in your heart
don’t leave a message, talk to me face to face
I love this lyric because I am (dare I say "we" are?) so often wrapped up in capturing stuff on film, or writing it down (ahem), that I (we) often miss the moment of actually being there.
Take, for instance, yesterday's 18-mile training run.
Our coaches encouraged us to bring cameras because 18 miles is, well, pretty momentous, and convential wisdom says if you can finish 18 miles, you can finish the marathon. So one gal in our pace group brought a small camera to capture the run. And she took a few photos of several of us along the way, in front of the Capitol, on the trail, etc.
By about mile 7.5 we have our usual bathroom stop at Thompson's Boat Center, right across from the Kennedy Center, along the Potomac River.
All the high school and college crew kids are there taking out their rowing shells to practice on the river. I always love watching this, since Number One Daughter rowed in high school, and in college last year, so it brings back good memories. What a glorious, difficult, and beautiful sport.
Anywho, I went to the bathroom at Thompson's, and did my thing, along with many other AIDS marathoners. I must have taken a wee (he he!) bit too long, though. When I got back, my entire group, along with Divine Miz M, was having their picture taken in front of the scenic Potomac River. I said, "hey wait for me!" Too late. I missed it.
Later, Miz M told me someone in the group said "Wait, Jeanne's missing," and our Pace Group Leader said something to the effect of "Jeanne's out." As in who the hell has time to wait for Jeanne?
Now, when I heard this I had a choice to make. This could have really gotten my knickers in a twist, and I could have definitely spent the rest of the run bitching and moaning about how unfair, and what kind of people, etc. (This is the group who won't wait for someone to tie their shoe.) But I had 11 miles ahead of me. I wanted to have a good run. I love this part of the run because it 's on the Capital Crescent Trail, a paved, divided trail with tons of gorgeous foliage that runs along the Potomac all the way through West Virginia. It's gloriously beautiful, and on an early Saturday morning is filled with people running, biking, walking. I adore it.
So, I said a few nasty things about Miz Pace Group Leader to Divine, mostly just to get it out of my system, but really more in jest and sympathy for her, than out of that dark, spiteful, and ugly place deep down inside. Then, I made a conscious decision not to dwell (ah! becoming a grown up!!) on this ridiculous incident. PGL is just not a natural-born leader, which she can't help. Plus, I noticed she actually tried really hard to stay on pace yesterday. So, I decided to give her a pass.
It was right after this, (after the group photo that I'm not in), that the pace group ditched me and Miz M again. Or maybe we ditched them. I'm not completely sure, and it doesn't matter anymore. So it was me and Miz M from mile 8 to mile 18.
A short recap on the 18-miler: I think I really love long runs. (I know I will eat these words another day.) Yep, my feet starting hurting around mile 11, but this run is so beautiful that I just tried to focus on that. Getting back to base was hard but I did not stress (too much), and given that there is really no choice but to put one foot in front of the other, I just did it. I didn't kill myself either.
We actually ran from D.C. all the way across the Maryland line, where the coaches greated us with "Welcome to Maryland." Very cool.
And, on the way back, exactly when we needed it, one of the water stop guys (let's call him "Mr. Big") was handing out freezing cold towels which this guy, who did I mention is a volunteer? voluntarily buys and hauls around in a big container of ice cold water, simply for us to drape on our necks, exactly when we need it. I'm telling you, this, on a steaming hot day, at mile 11, I can honestly say, from what I remember, is better than sex.
So this is a sort of meandering post, without a punch line. But I think the punch line is that 1) I have reached some peaceful place with the whole group thing; 2) I actually seem to enjoy these long runs, despite the discomfort, and 3) I will remember this run in my head. I don't need a photo to remind me.
NOD and crew taking boat out of water after a regatta last fall. Let's just be glad we don't have to lift an eleventy-million pound shell out of the water and then carry it 20,000 miles after our race .