Things I Did Not Know

I didn’t know that 62,000 feet on pavement in the quiet black before dawn would sound like the thunderous march of an oncoming army

That paper cups hitting the ground hundreds at a time could be so loud and leave a river of Gatorade for everyone behind to splash through

That King Street businesses would open at 5:00 AM to hand out extra water to anyone who wanted it

That there would be so many spectators lined up on Kalakaua Avenue at such a crazy hour

I didn’t know how beautiful Diamond Head would look at dawn with a sliver of crescent moon hovering above it

That I would get more than 20 high fives from volunteers on my way up Diamond Head Road and pass a wheelchair racer whizzing down it toward the finish line with an escort of three bikes and a motorcycle

That watching Wilson Kipsang Kiprotich cruise through Kahala on his way to a 2:12:31 finish when I had barely reached mile 9 would inspire rather than frustrate me

That the song stuck in my head for most of the race would be “Up on the rooftop reindeer pause / Out jumps good old Santa Claus”

I didn’t know there would be so many men in tutus or that I would see a Pokemon, a storm trooper and a swan competing not for best time but for best costume

That cheering crowds would decrease knee pain and foreign strangers shouting “Good job!” would elevate my mood and pull focus away from the daunting task ahead

That the race would never thin out and at no time would I be alone or feel lonely

That residents in Kaimuki would stand at the ends of their driveways handing out pretzels and gel packs and encouragement

That so many runners would walk and stop to take touristy pictures of themselves

That at no point would I ever consider quitting even when I passed my house at mile 13

I didn’t know hearing “Jenny I got your number 867-5309” from a seemingly unmanned stereo on Kalanianaole Highway would make me so happy

That passing a blind woman and her guide runner would surge my love receptors and propel me past mile 15 onto Hawaii Kai Drive

That an ice cold sponge could be such an unexpected blessing

I didn’t know there would be so many dogs watching from the sidelines or that the zumba dancers at mile 17 would convince me to keep going strong

I didn’t know I would abandon all my inner demons, never think a negative thought about how slow I was going and run 90% of the race with a huge smile on my face

Or that I wouldn’t struggle until mile 21

I didn’t really know how impossible miles 22-25 would feel

And I had absolutely no idea how satisfying it would be to cross the finish line

I also did not know that, just like giving birth (or so I’ve heard), the pain passes and one single solitary day later I would already be thinking… “Maybe it wasn’t that bad… maybe I could do it again.”

I can’t really say I ran a marathon. My official time was 6:33:56 – as expected I ever-so-slightly jogged and often walked. But I can say I participated in and completed one.

My friend KB asked what was the reason for doing this, what could I walk away with from it? What I came up with out there on the course is that I simply want to have experiences and live an enriched life. I am so incredibly lucky to have so many positive options available to me. I want to be grateful and drink them all in.

Thank you to everyone who helped me accomplish this goal. It took a village and you guys were amazing! I feel fantastic. I am so glad I did it!!

marathon

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10 thoughts on “Things I Did Not Know”

  1. You are such an amazing woman! I’m thrilled for you that you had this experience, and thrilled for me that I got to read your wonderful writing about it. I sure do miss you!

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