2012 Richmond Marathon: A Day of Thanks

Today I ran the Richmond Marathon for the first time. I’ve run a few marathons, but never any like this one. As a matter of fact, nothing even close.

Today’s race was an interesting one. Started great. Ended great. And all in-between, my legs didn’t work. <– kind of a big deal when you’re running a marathon.

But what made the race today so memorable was all that time in-between.

I walked. I flat out stopped on numerous occasions. I thought about calling it quits, more than once. I drank flat cola (which I never do). I popped pills (which I do even less than the cola thing). I tried everything I could think of to get my legs to start working again. And none of it worked.

But today’s race wasn’t about what I tried to do. It was about what others did for me (and the thousands of others out there).

(Read more about the race here.)

With that said, I’d like to give some thanks.

First and foremost, I’m thankful for being born healthy, and fully capable of even attempting the things that I do.

And I’m thankful for living in a country that allows not only myself, but any human being who wants to, participate in a race. After hearing Bart Yasso tell stories about countries that still don’t let blacks and/or women run, I’m grateful to be allowed to toe the starting line.

I’m thankful for having parents who raised me healthy. Especially my mom for forcing me to eat my vegetables. And my dad for coaching me through all those baseball & basketball games. And signing me up for as many leagues as I could possibly fit on my schedule (assuming they’d give me a ride to the game, of course, haha). I wouldn’t be where I am today if they hadn’t promoted an active, healthy lifestyle.

How can I not be thankful for the Marathon Training Team (MTT). This program is unlike any other in the country, and you have to experience it to understand. Now I know why over 50% of the participants are returners.

My MTT Coaches, Jake, Erin, Cathy & Suzanne. The word “coach” doesn’t do them justice. These guys are amazing individuals. All the motivation, advice, funny stories, safety reminders, salt, ibuprofen & inspiration anyone could ask for… and then some. I would not have finished my race today without you guys (dead serious). You just let me know when you need a friend, running buddy or help with anything… and I’ll be there in a heartbeat.

All the MTT Coaches. I had a few other MTT coaches help me push through today. And honestly, seeing them all out there, knowing what they were doing for their respective teams… that’s motivation in and of itself. These guys are truly selfless, and the only thing they care about is getting their team across that finish line. And they have a pretty darn good record of doing it.

My friends that ran or rode with me. James, Brian, Ola, Marcos (and anyone I’m forgetting). You guys are good friends, and you helped take my mind off of things that it had no reason to be thinking about. Y’all kept me going out there.

The spectators’ creativity. I saw some hilarious signs today. A few even had me laughing out loud. Here are some of my favorite:

“Beat Sarah Palin”, “Beat P. Diddy”, “Beat Oprah”, and especially the “Beat Paul Ryan… imaginery 2:50-something – actual 4:01”

Chuck Norris never ran a marathon.

Sorry, but there’s not an app for this. You’ll have to just keep running.

Nipple chafing turns me on. (I know this one’s old, but it gets me every time)

RVA loves NYC

The awesome spectator support, sign or no sign. The little kids giving free high fives… and they’re “it-goes-without-saying” awesome parents. The students from VCU, the fraternities & sororities, the cheerleading squads.

The really hot girl wearing super-tight (but classy) black pants, shakin’ what her momma gave her at mile 20-something. I don’t know where I was at that point, but I know what I saw, and I… liked it.

The woman outside some fastfood joint who handed me fresh-squeezed lemonade. She obviously knows what to do when life hands her lemons.

The 3:35 pace group leader, who tried to pick me up when he could obviously tell I was on the verge of collapse. You lifted my spirits, if only for a brief minute. I wish I could’ve kept up. You seemed like a really awesome dude.

The gospel choir outside of Virginia Union. Those women were throwin’ it down, and it was pickin’ me up.

The mother-daughter pair with the homemade cookies. Those things were moist. Well done, ladies.

The 1,000+ volunteers who… well, let’s be honest, volunteers run almost every aspect of a race on race day, so basically… thanks for… everything.

And thank you, Richmond, for being a great place to call home. None of us today could have done this without you.

I’m sure I missed a bunch of others, but you know who you are. You’re great friends. Great people. And the world loves you for being so awesome.