12 Half Marathons & 1 Full Marathon later, the quest goes on.
"What you seek is seeking you." - Rumi
"What you seek is seeking you." - Rumi
7 days after the Atlanta Halloween Half Marathon, I went out for a long run and had such a blast that 7 days later I was in Nashville for the Nashville Half Marathon.
On a Friday evening at 7 pm, I set off in the darkness, driving my week old new car with some excitement, exhaustion & trepidation, hoping I would reach the hotel in one piece. Four hours later, I parked the car, checked into my room, munched on energy bars & crashed.
Tossing & turning, sleeping & awake, after 6 hours of fitful sleep, I was up. At about 6 am, I stepped out into the biting chill in shorts & a fleece jacket & gloves. Randomly picking a parking lot near the race venue, I set off in my car and 10 minutes later was at the destination. The parking lot was deserted except for a couple of cars. I parked awkwardly, got out, felt strangely vulnerable & did my best to stay super alert. I traced my way out of the parking lot & wondered which way to go as my phone took its own sweet time to map out the directions to the race venue. As I saw a bunch of runners get out in a parking lot, I checked with them for directions and 5 minutes later, I was at the starting point of the race. Thousands of runners were everywhere & I immediately felt happy in this sea of kindred spirits. Something about being among runners has always felt like being at home. I got my BIB & there was nothing else to do but to shiver uncontrollably & to move my limbs in strange ways & to jump on the balls of my feet to keep myself warm.
After an hour of wind bathing in the maddening cold, we were off. We ran through neighborhoods & alongside parks & trees. I felt totally strong & kept going, happy & revived & before I knew, I was at the end of the race & then I was cursing. A monstrous uphill road that went on forever was one of the very last piece of running that the runners had to tackle. It broke my right hip which began to throb & twitch as if the road had some kind of strange remote & was hell bent on using it to wreck my right hip. I groaned & cussed & grumbled & kept going. And soon enough I crossed the finish line. 2:11:46 was my official time.
Feeling cold after the race, I set off towards the car, shivering & writhing. 15 minutes later, I was in the hotel & was happy to have made it to the breakfast buffet. I grabbed some coffee & fruits & went to my room & called my Mom & surprised her with my half marathon run. Couple of hours later, at noon, I checked out of the hotel, refueled the car & set off towards Atlanta airport.
The drive back was beautiful. Trees glimmering in shades of red, orange & yellow, mountains of Tennessee & the blazing sunlight made for a sublime, splendid drive. I barely made it in time to Atlanta airport for my flight to Las Vegas. The crazy weekend was far from over. I was headed to Death Valley in California the following day.
Death Valley was amazing & I was running & scrambling across the desert like an excited 8 year old. Surprisingly, my limbs & everything else was functioning brilliantly. No soreness, no aches. After 11 hours, I was back in Vegas, stranded at a hotel because of the Vegas Marathon, which had slowed the traffic to a crawl & halt. Wondering if I would make it to my plane, I was fortunate that a cab showed up & as it dropped passengers, the gentleman agreed to take me to airport.
He drove this way & that way, through busy streets, assessing, rerouting, guessing & in the end after some tense moments where I questioned my safety & my heart skipped some beats, fretting about being in a cab with a stranger on strange roads in darkness & having no control or no clue, I was at the airport in one piece. He had been chatty but he kept switching from a happy topic to a rage inducing topic, speaking in excited & agitated tones.
After a long night of traveling, I was back home at 5:30 am Monday morning, a zombie who happily crashed after an adventurous weekend & who was soon up in 3 hours to get to office.
The story so far
I was born athletic and running called out to me as a young kid. So, being a runner, is my way of staying true to who I am and bringing meaning, love, joy, adventure and peace into my life.