Luck What Is It Good For

Some say that the experience of pain changes a person from it's inception to the end of your days. It's tentacles rewiring nuerons and creating bypasses paving the way for pushing further, tolerating more, or just fracturing your psyche to the brink of neurosis. It can also teach your brain to subdue pain under higher and higher stressors like a veritable hold button so you can finish your current call. Rather than tackle these on the philosophic tip and sacrifice humility for sake of egocentric oration bent on declaring my intellectually autonomous disposition, I shall simply expose to you a frame of pain. One tiny fragment from the reel of my life, poured onto the interweb from the inner recesses of my calloused soul. Let it be known that this is not for the gain of pity or therapy but for me to look back upon with my future self. To grace the words with wiser eyes for sake of satire and posterity.

Often times when people embark on any of a number of hyperbole laden stories they open with some iteration of, "Let me start at the beginning". However around these parts people frequently start with, "Well let me tell ya" as if you were an obstacle to the person's recounting of some mundane and often times mediocre accomplishments. At any rate due to my over zealous self esteem I consider anything said or written as a body of work. Given that humble consideration I will begin this memoir with the same tact and ferocity I would any body I find an insatiable appetite for and that’s right up in the middle.

An hour of work on my first half-marathon done which in thinking back was just passed Chubb Rock yet not near enough to Kelly Clarkson on my playlist. With each shallow breath against snot smothered ski mask, I could feel the overpriced wicking base layers deep within the recesses of winter wear succumbing to endless waves of the nether moist, like Arsenio Hall to a TV camera like Liz Lemon to a bag of Sabor de Soledad.

The landscape was ice ridden and as awe inspiring as an endless incessant winter can be. For once in fact it was, literally breathtaking. Each footfall upon this half ice rink course was met with the kind of faith one would find in a chain smoking slot machine casino rat death gripping their last nickel. The echo of the anquish drenched sound of the auspicious teen back on mile marker one filled my mind. This lad who in a feat of futility, attempted to hurdle a snow bank as if channeling Lolo Jones, and was met with a mouthful of snow, and a face full of freezing tears. That sound which everstill made me giggle and silently whisper, dang.

What the french toast is that hurting now? Half way through the run I recall thinking with a steadfast mind's eye and legs like lead, which tiptoed across the ice with a grace never before seen in a snot faced ninja on a cold winter's morning. Stopping to take a stroll and mail it in was never an option, but at that instant would just hasten my demise. Hill after hill the denizens of dimented hardcore runners thinned and fell to the wayside. Some became zombies, staggering back down the hill. Others would stop to tie shoes that weren't even untied. Oh to the poor soul's whose will was broken. Even for one with a strength such as mine, my will was tested at every step of this course of sorrow. The well placed water stops, the lighthouses in this darkness, even fell to the cantankerous frost. For as the miles went on, cups of water became ice cubes. There is nothing admirrable about sucking a dixie cup like a circus seal to get some miniscule amount of hydration out of it. The phsychotic courageous fans who once adorned the sidelines of the course cheering on every passerby, would now go silent as I passed. Once outstretched hands, frantically pleading for high fives, now withdrawn and hidden. The smiles had turned to horror as they saw my half frozen and slimy face mask, coupled with a runner's gait that can only be described as graceful as Egor ballet dancing on a banana boat. Pain soaked every millimeter of my being which had now taken on a form much like I imagine the love child of Fabio and Tattoo from Fantasy Island would look like. My mind turned in on itself, endlessly cataloging and telling me of every part that hurt and how much farther I had to go. Finally like Dennis Quaid in Enemy Mine the Day After Tomorrow I knew how perilous living with aliens the cold could be, and I knew how badly I needed to achieve my goal. 

Some time after the halfway mark I lost myself in thoughts about the thirty days of training for this run. I laughed, I cried, maybe peed a little, and at some point didn't even know where the hell I was. At a point where I had lost my very soul to the depths of this vicious torture, I saw the final lighthouse. My sancturary was dead ahead and handing out these packets called Hammer gel. Now I never had such a thing so all I knew is that one suckle and not only would my misery be whisked away but I was figuring I'd Hammer dance right on through the finish line. LIke a midwesterner who spotted the last PBR at a bonfire, I snatched the tiny packet from the volunteer's mits. I raised my snot catching shield and tore at the packet with my teeth like a rabid dog. An eternity if a second, of pulling, grunting, suckling, then a virulent pulse of this putrid gelatinous substance comes shooting into my mouth. This person whom I thought an angel had given me chocolate flavored gel. As if after an hour and a half of running, a cotton mouthed, stumbling, wheezing shell of a person says to themself, ya know what I could really use some chocolate gel right about now. If the intended effect was to make me forget the tribulation and travails this quest wrought and replace it with a hunger to douse my tongue with hot lava, then well played, well played. 

New goal established for the home stretch and queue the power section of the playlist. Like Dante I had seen the depths, and like George Washington I had endured like Valley Forge, and was tenacious as he was at Monmouth. In short I felt pretty badass and was back to my normal gallop to the tune of Big Pimpin with a side of Groove is in the Heart. The final push to the finish felt as if I was going light speed. The roar of the crowd overpowering my earbuds and racous cheers as I'd point and wink at some of the folks. With everything around me going in slow motion I turned my thoughts to the post race celebrations and how many times people would ask me if I ran a half marathon in spite of the giant frakking medal around my neck. As if my vision turned reality was not enough the finish line crossing was captured by Active Sports, and herein I share with you the portrait of a gazelle, and a champion in his own mind. 



 What I listen to when I look upon the photograph:


memento mori