The First Time

“May I sit here?”  I asked a quiet middle-aged woman caught in her thoughts staring out the window of the bus.  She turned, look confused as if I’d spoken in a foreign language, slowly smiled and said, “yes.”

I took no offense, we’d both just run a half-marathon and the fatigue was marked not only in her face, but also in her body language.  She spoke softly, apologizing for not comprehending what I’d asked her.  She explained that today was her first half marathon.  And, because somewhere around mile…oh, I dunno, ten or eleven, I’d accidentally dropped my brain-to-mouth filter, I hollered to the folks already seated on the bus and those slowly making their way down the aisle to find seats behind us: “OH MY GOSH Y’ALL THIS IS HER FIRST HALF MARATHON!!!!!”  The bus was filled with cheering, clapping, and the quiet dinging of medals hitting against cold weather gear.  We were in the company of greatness.  Someone who had taken a chance, tested her personal fortitude and lived to tell the tale to some over-friendly brown chick who she’d allowed to share a seat back to the start line with her.

The twenty-minute ride from the finish line back to the start was pleasantly filled with her story and the story of the two ladies in front of us.  I LOVE to hear why people choose endurance sports.  What life changes and challenges moved them to toe the line and run thirteen point one miles with a few thousand strangers, until they hear their name announced by the guy at the finish line.  That’s what moves me.  THAT’S what inspires me!  I’m glad I got that opportunity today.

Race report from today’s race will come later this week.  Until then, big ups to all who choose to start their first endurance event NO MATTER the distance, to all who continue to race year over year, and to all who finish, no matter the time it takes to get there.