The Big “It”

I’m feeling a little bit proud today–and a lotta bit sore. Yesterday I ran the U.S. Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC along with about 30,000 other like-minded folks (that’s folks, not fools). It was my third marathon, my second Marine Corps Marathon, and overall just a lovely fall day.

Oh, by the way, yes, I did finish. 🙂

My time, 4:22, isn’t record-setting, but it is respectable. Despite spotty training and a pre-race fall up some concrete steps crossing U.S. Route 50 to the Start point, I shaved off a minute or two from my time thirteen years ago–a particular point-of-pride because well, Girlfriend’s not getting any younger. 😉

Though the wonderful spirit of the event is alive and well, a lot of other things have changed since my first marathon. Back in 1994 there were no cell phones on the course. Hooking up with cheering family members and friends at the various mile markers, and yes, finish line, required more ingenuity and a goodly dose of luck. There was also no GPS tracking based on a clever little clicker affixed to one’s shoelaces. Today thanks to technology each runner receives his or her true finish time, no need to guestimate the minutes lost waiting to cross the Start line–and yes, with thousands of runners, you don’t all cross when the gun goes off.

There were a few wheelchair entrants back in ’94, mostly graying Vietnam vets with shorn off legs, massive arm muscles, and shoulders as wide as the proverbial football field. Yesterday, there were a lot more, beautiful young men and women from the current conflict with legs missing but hearts whole. Everytime my aching body suggested it might be okay for me to slow down, to if not quit at least walk it in, one of those brave former soldiers invariably came into my view (when Marines call out “make a hole,” I now know to get to the right or left–fast!), and I knew being a slacker simply wasn’t an option.

Today I’m sore. No, not pleasantly sore, but sore-sore, hopped up on Motrin “as we speak” but in a good mood nonetheless. The pride of accomplishing my goal more than makes up for some stiff limbs and blistered feet. If running 26.2 miles was easy, then everybody would be doing it, right?

What’s your big “It” with a capital “I”? Whether your It is completing your first marathon or one-miler, typing The End on your first manuscript or your fiftieth, wracking up yet another milestone for success or picking yourself up and trying again after the Universe has dealt you that really big, brutal Boot in the Face, if you haven’t already done so, take a moment to brag on yourself, even if the voice saying “You go, girl” is silent except for inside your head.

And in the words of my Strokes of Midnight heroine, Becky Stone, here’s wishing you an autumn filled with “fresh starts and dazzling opportunities.”