Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Hips Don't Lie

Marathons are glorious. Really, I'm not just crazy. I love absolutely
everything about them. Well, except maybe the excruciating pain my hips feel
for about three days afterward. Shakira is right, your hips don't lie.

I just love the anticipation of running the grueling 26.2 miles. The
exhilaration of standing at the start. The camaraderie of the thousands
of runners around me, all of them every bit as crazy as me. The happy
spectators cheering and clapping loudly for everyone. The dead sprint
to the end. It's such a feeling of accomplishment. You can't beat it.

For as much training as I did for this marathon, I was quite pleased with how
I did. I found a pace group and I stuck with the man waving his yellow balloons
and his slew of sweaty disciples until mile 19. And then an ugly wall hit me.

Everything seemed to be draining from me. My high, my adrenaline. I couldn't
see my group anymore. Tears filled my eyes. My foot was still bleeding.
My Ipod was still on the fritz.
All I could think was: "I'm not going to make it."

It was then that a friendly man on the sidelines looked directly at me and
said, "828, you're doing great! You're so close!"

I clenched my jaw and nodded my head. It was too hard to speak at this point, so
I simply picked my feet back up to show my kind onlooker that I wasn't dead yet.
He's right. It's so close.

For the next few miles, it hurt. I couldn't think of anything BUT the pain. I wanted
to quit. I wanted to collapse in the middle of the pavement. I wanted my mommy.
But somehow I was still running, somehow I was still standing.

Rounding the corner, I saw it.
The 25 mile marker. It's almost here. I can taste the end, or maybe that was
just the salt that had been crusted on my face for the past two hours.
Whatever it was, it tasted wonderful.

I looked to my left and saw a happy, large man holding a sign that said,
"26.2 is a bitch!" An elderly woman next to him gripped a yellow poster
that emphatically stated,"Toenails are overrated."
I smiled. They're so right.

Somehow I mustered the strength to start running fast.
I could see the finish line now and all I could do is run. Run like I stole something.
Run like my life depended on it. Run like the wind.

I heard people (Grahm, my parents, and high school principal) yell my name.
I heard the announcer say "828 - Jena Carper."
But all I could see was the big, fat, glorious FINISH sign.

Somehow, I made it. Four hours and thirteen minutes later, it was all over.
The unlucky volunteer who happened to be standing a few feet behind
the finish was bombarded as I collapsed into his arms, crying like a little girl.
"It's over! It's over!" I said. He patted my back. Poor guy. My apologies
whoever you are.

Now that my body is starting to recover, I'm eager to start marathon
number three.
Call me crazy.


  1. You are so awesome!

  2. seriously, I rearranged my closet and I thought I had accomplished alot.

    little did i know...

    (but congrats, friend! so proud!)

  3. Awesome job Jena! So happy that I could be there to see your amazing accomplishment. Maybe one day I will attempt to be a crazy person with ya!