Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Aurora Borealis Comes in View

Hal ran a marathon on Sunday in Phoenix. My personal thought is that bodies weren’t meant to move 26 miles without a motorized vehicle under them and chocolate next to them. But, we all make personal choices and his was to torment his body like that. And of course, I fully supported him by mocking his outfits, his now-smooth upper legs and his nasty recovery drinks that smell like, well, like a man who’s just run for 4 hours. Anyway, being the sweet and dutiful wife that I am, I meekly agreed to travel 16 hours, one way, to a marathon because he wanted me to meet him at the finish line. Full disclosure, we have friends in Mesa and I really, really wanted to see them. But it makes me look like a good wife, eh?
Now that you know he ran, let me back the story up 6 weeks. He goes out for a long run in a remote wilderness area in the snow. In other words, not a body around except mule deer and coyotes, none of whom have cell phones, or at least won’t let you borrow it if they do have one. And 4 miles from his car, his leg freezes up. Not in the “wow-isn’t-it-cold” sense, but in the “oh-my-gosh-it-won’t-move” sense. Stretching doesn’t help. Crying like a baby doesn’t help. So he hobbles back to his car. It takes an hour. When he finally arrives home, he gimp-legs it up to a hot tub, which does nothing to alleviate the pain.
Fast forward 3 weeks. He sees a physical therapist who tells him to order special inserts for his shoes. And to stop running for a while. What? He’s only 3 weeks away from the Rock N Roll Marathon! So he rests—for a couple of days. And then he runs a little, on a treadmill, in a gym where there are lots of people with lots of phones (thanks to my “Now Is Not a Good Time To Die” lecture.) And his leg is stiff but not horrible.
But he stops doing long runs. In other words, at the time of the marathon, Hal had run 20 miles, once, 2 weeks prior to the marathon. And he had an injury. But he had the clothes, and the registration, so we went to Phoenix. By car. 16 hours one way (did I mention that?) With all the kids. But not the dog or the bunny. Lucky, lucky bunny and dog.
Start time: 7:40 AM. End time: 12:35 PM. Normally, Hal runs 8:30 minute miles. Doing the math, you can see that the poor guy felt the old football injury almost right away. Like mile 8. He ran in pain. He stretched in pain. He met Gorp Lady in pain. Gorp Lady had a stand at mile 17. She had Gorp and bananas and Hal thinks that she’s the Good Fairy and Gabriel and Mother Teresa all in one. On the way home, between moans of pain, (car ride + post race = bad idea) Hal extolled the virtues of Gorp Lady, blessing her name and sending her pink thoughts. We now have a shrine to Gorp Lady.
At Gorp Lady’s station, Hal met Swearing Lady. She walked with him a bit, then told him it was time to run. Ah, she thought she was doing him a favor. In reality, she was doing his physical therapist a favor. I can’t repeat their conversation because my lips never repeat swear words.
Okay, so I could tell you that this is a lesson in endurance, in setting and achieving goals in spite of enormous odds. And it is. Hal’s a stalwart soul, very reliable, and he does what he intends to do. All of which makes him very lovable and very unlike me. In my world, I would have felt the first twinge of pain, sat down at the first medical tent, and ordered up Jolly Ranchers, ice and a stretcher. I’m proud of Hal for running/walking/crawling to the finish line. I, personally, would have given up and had a Hershey’s bar to console myself.


ellen said...

Tell Hal the Boston Marathon is April 20th.

Irish Cream said...

Were you cheering or crying with him at the finish line?

Hope the visit to Mesa was fun,too.

Congrats on finishing the Marathon- does he plan another? I hear Boston is nice in April, and you could stop here in Indiana on your drive through...

halsadick said...

The four women who helped me make it through the race were bigbahama, Gorp Lady, Swearing Lady, and Cheering Lady (my ex-sister-in-law, who was handing out water at mile 20 and who required everyone else handing out water at mile 20 to scream, "Go, Hal! Go, Hal! Go, Hal!"). I could not have made it to the end without them. Bigbahamama was a very good sport and didn't mention half of the garbage she had to go through to support me in my training and in running the marathon. She never complained once, despite there being plenty to complain about. I am very lucky to have her in my life.

As for Boston, you either need to be (a) a "real runner" to qualify (a 35 year old man first needs to run a marathon in 3 hours, 15 minutes just to sign up for Boston) or (b) wealthy enough to make a donation large enough to buy yourself a place at the start line. Since I am neither, I don't plan on Boston anytime soon.

Migaloo said...

Like I always say, "No insane, no pain." Or is it the other way 'round?

But really, I am impressed. And I'll be searching my own life for a Gorp Lady, a Swearing Lady, and a Cheering Lady. I think they sound kind of fun!

Jenefer said...

Can't Hal run a marathon in Houston? It's not fair that the Nikolaus Clan got to have you for the weekend! We miss you guys too! :) I would really like to meet swearing lady. She kept a low profile around here.

Jenefer said...

yeah that didn't make sense about the swearing lady. I was skimming and thought that Bahama Mama was the swearing lady...I have never heard Bahama Mama swear, but I would like to.