Tomorrow Jay, Joy, AK and I will be heading to Atlanta to run the Publix Atlanta marathon on Sunday morning. So far, the weather looks promising with a high of 66 degrees-any hotter than that and I start to get twitchy. After coming completely undone in the 80 degree heat during the Charleston Half Ironman last year, I've been weary of racing in hot weather.
Joy will be making her marathon debut on Sunday. She's one of my first and greatest running partners, and I am so privileged to get to share this epic adventure with her. She may want to deck me after spending so much time with me, but I'm hoping for the kind of harmony that we typically have on our runs; Joy is my nearest and dearest, and since we've been running together for so long, there's a certain symbiosis to our partnership. If she does want to deck me, that's fine. She's known me since I was 10 and I'm not going anywhere.
Joy set out to run a marathon in celebration of her 40th birthday last fall and didn't get to, though we did get to celebrate in a more traditional, less painful way.
We had a so-so time at her birthday party.
We'll keep the party rolling on Sunday as we celebrate Joy, again, this time with the kind of pain that results not from one vodka tonic too many, but instead from months and months of obsessive speed work, tempo runs, and long, long miles out on the road in the sun, rain, and snow-the pain that is the marathon.
And whereas a hangover eventually wears off and is usually forgotten, this pain stays with you, mostly because it morphs, it manifests itself into a kind of pride that comes from knowing you've committed to something, you've seen it through, and you've run 26.2 miles. There's joy in crossing the finish line, and joy in knowing you're finished, and joy in knowing you can do just about anything you set out to do.
So here's to the pain we have to go through to get to the joy, and most of all, here's to Joy.