1st overall in 15:25. Power-thrusting and porpoise porn ensue.
Jogging to the track, I ran by a gathering of compression shorted people congregated around several porta-potties. Being both the shrine and the water-cooler of the running community, I provided my offering to the fellowship, then caught up on the gossip in spandex-world. The gentleman I spoke to was adorned in his Saturday morning-best white Under Armour shorts, and I asked him what the hubbub was all about. Doing a hip-flexor stretch that can only be described as a prolonged power-thrust, his mouth said that there was a race this morning. Meanwhile, his groin seemed to be saying that there was something very interesting to the left.
Being the type of person that is distracted by both shiny objects and liberal groin bulges, I entered the race just before it was about to begin. The course was a lap and a little bit of Al Buehler Trail, a hilly packed-gravel path that treats all Duke runners like the wife in a Lifetime Original Movie.
|It hits because it loves.|
There is something about sitting on the ground, putting on racing shoes a few minutes before toeing the line, that is purely life-affirming. Maybe it's an external stimulus--the sunrise poking through the trees, penetrating the eerie silence. Maybe it's chemical--the endorphins and adrenaline anesthetize awareness, outside worries blur out of focus. But, to tell you the truth, I don't think it is either of those things. They are easy, they are everyday. No, I think that the rush of life emanates from the same source as the disquietude of death.......it is the unknown. Toeing the line and peering over the edge, our frailty--our vulnerability--reflects back. But just by glancing across, and seeing what is on the other side, our strength--our invincibility--shines strongly through. Failure is inherent in a race, just as failure is inherent in life. We will weaken. We will die. Just by testing that limit, though, just by toeing the line, we see what life is. We see what life can be. And life...well, for lack of a better phrase......life is beautiful.
|I figure now is the time to get my flower pictures out of the way. I also wrote some delightful sonnets about the sunset...|
You can tell whether grammar and syntax are important to you from whether you are currently seizing violently after reading that last paragraph. With those thoughts coursing through my veins like heroin delivered via rusty turkey baster, I interrupted everyone else's start-line epiphanies by removing my shirt. My milkshake may not bring all of the boys to the yard, but it is fat-free! Unfortunately, it is also covered in unexplained red marks and smells vaguely of brown bananas. Ummm....I guess I'm trying to say is that there is rhetorical similarity between delicious and nutritious, and contagious and infectious. Ladies.....
Gun sounds....AND THEY'RE OFF!
|Fighting for position.|
We careened down a steep descent at the start, and I heard the racer in second curse loudly. Yes, good sir, I do have no conception of pacing. I opened a significant gap on Mr. Fiddlesticks on the first steep uphill, and I went to work on finding a sustainable rhythm over the wet path. It was strange, I know every inch of the trail like the back of my hand. What I mean is that both are slimy and probably cause some type of warts if you rub your face against them. But also, each step traced thousands before it, so that a race transformed into a journey. Each step explored a path that became wholly new in the moment, and each stride carried with it a firm purpose.*
*Firm Purpose is also the name of my legal practice/personal training studio.
**Firm Porpoise is also a local enterprise, and it's as disgusting as you'd imagine. Unless you're a porpoise.
|Flipper thought it was only going to be a photo shoot.|
Leaning forward over the climbs, and striding down the descents, I came to the biggest hill on the course just under a mile to go. Accompanied by the same searing legs of a hundred hill reps, I attacked the familiar foe and crested the climb at 14:56 for a lap of the 2.95 mile trail. Then, falling in control down the descent, the tape broke in 15:25 for the net-downhill course (a few minute win). It was an amazing race for a great cause, and an awesome training day. More than that, though, the race made me think. It made me think about the unknown; it made me think about the future. I don't know the answers to those big questions, I certainly haven't solved any mysteries. But thinking about the most perfect girl in the world at my side, my amazing family, and all of those daily moments, I do know one thing......
Life is beautiful.
Thanks so much for reading! You guys are awesome, and I hope the start of your Spring has been absolutely perfect :)