….and when you go WiLd, you may even surprise your own self!
(A Wild Bunch About to Escape)
Sun beams twirl and bounce about what was once a lush green, shady canopy, hovering over the trail that is now littered with the colorful gems that soften the path below. The remaining colors still hanging on, have now become splashes of fun against the morning blue sky above. The colorful autumn leaves floating down like confetti serve as the only fanfare of what was to be a breathtakingly beautiful and powerful race experience, I hope I never forget.
Every marathon I’ve ever run, I’ve enjoyed the journey to toeing the line, more than I’ve ever enjoyed toeing the starting line. The journey that led me to being at the “wild” ride of my marathon career was everything the name insinuated; wildly unpredictable…right up to deciding last minute to not go to the crowded, big city Chicago Marathon, for which I was originally registered to race.
Instead, I stumbled upon a low-key path through the changing backdrop of colorful leaves, our fall in Michigan showcases. A marathon path that went up and down relentless hills, with more birds chirping than fans clapping, with the rustle and crunching of leaves under feet, and the sunshine on my face spotlighting the race of my life.
I took every pressure off of myself and did what I do…I just ran. I had my running friend Katherine, traveling to and racing Chicago and with the time change, I knew her and I would be running many of the same miles, parallel, yet miles away. This too seemed very much in sync with this last training schedule. I felt her often and kept speaking to her to “keep going…you’ve got this…come on, Katherine.”
Initially, I tried to get my Garmin going, but pressed a wrong button at the start and couldn’t get it on the screen I thought I wanted. I pulled down my shades, forgot about the clock, blew kisses to my friends I’d see again at the end. I didn’t look down again until I crossed the mat. This was fitting as well since I don’t really even know how to use a watch, but with one wrong turn on the course, it logged my overage miles and confirms, that even though I don’t have it on paper….I flew, just like my legs felt they were.
I have been struggling with so many things on this marathon training journey. I’ve climbed mountains to successes and have dipped into the dark of valleys….and then I’ve climbed back up into the sparkling rays of happiness that remind me of every reason I run. And so these Tulley Toes, toed the line, Paraformis feeling as good as it has been in over a year (thanks to Tri-Covery Massage and Therapy and my miracle worker Steve), Groovy tunes ready for singing along loudly with, new Groovy girls Go / URTribe tank ready for marathon debut (along with matching coffee mug), and shoes ready to embrace each step of what was going to be my 26.52 mile marathon.
The gun went off as my friends and I were in mid-laugh, stretching our arms in hugs, and mid sentence as Wild Bill called out his infamous, “Nice running with you, Kacey!” I may have lost a few seconds coming from the back of the pack, but it’s what I do….my life doesn’t usually unfold in an easy way and in reality, this just afforded me a few more running steps to embrace.
The course was a mix of packed earth, hills, gravel, open-fields, hills, sparkling sunshine through baring fall branches, paved paths, waves of cat tails, hills, fallen leaf-bed floor, hills, multi-colored autumn trees, hills, crisp blue skies, and did I mention hills? In fact, I like the hills so much that just after mile 25 I gave a beaming smile to the last aid station volunteers and proceeded to take a wrong left hand turn up a steep hill to a dead end. The dead end, was a dead give-away, that I was dead wrong. I turned around, laughed at the typical-ness-ness of a typical Tulley move, went up to the right left hand turn and then up the last right hill and on to the finish. I took my last steps of my Wild, 26.52 mile journey, with wild abandon, smiling, collecting the magical moment, wildly happy.
Groovy Girls Go …… Wildly Happy