It’s the first Sunday of October, which usually means you’ll be treated to a rant on the disgusting habits of idiots who find time to run through the desert for 26.2 straight miles.
Well, I’ve said my piece about that snot-snorting, gu-gulping, nipple-chafing activity already. This time I’ll try something different.
For full effect, download “Take Me To Church” by Hozier, and play at maximum volume throughout the duration of this post.
I know in the past I have discussed things that I feel are true, things I protest to be unwritten laws that govern our behavior and our mannerisms. I have my own opinions as to how the world works, and I comically recognize these statements as “Brocktrine”. It’s okay, you can chuckle over that play on words. With that being said, there is one idea I think needs to be ingrained into our society that would help it function at a much more pure level, and that is understanding that you can put a numerical value on just about anything temporal, however the things you can’t put a dollar sign next to, and the things that probably matter the most, are the relationships we have with the people that surround us.
I say that because you can go ahead and rewind this blogpost just over 24 hours from this point in time to the middle of the desert, where a six and a half foot tall dripping wet monster was peddling his way down Highway 18. By doing so you will also meet a handful of people who got that soggy sonofabitch from the opening gun to the finish line. It wasn’t the midnight runs throughout the summer, or the gluten-free diet initiated two months ago to cut an extra ten pounds off my midsection, no, neither of those were the deciding factors that finished the race. Rather, it was the people who were there on the trail with me. They deserve the credit for this one.
Soggy Me at medical post near Mile 11: “I need Icy Hot!”
Random nurse with goop covering her hands: “Where? Knees? Calves?”
Soggy Me: “Down the left side of my shorts. The outside of my hip is locking up. Is that alright?” I look up at her embarrassed.
Random Nurse: Smiling “Honey, you’re one of a hundred people already who’ve asked me to go down there. Now hold still.”
And with that she gave me one of the most nonsexual rubdowns under my shorts I’ll ever experience. That random nurse who is undoubtedly one of the best mothers in the entire state kept me running.
Soggy Me somewhere in between Mile 18 and 19: “I’m done. That’s it! Here come the cramps. Does anyone else out here have a white flag I can raise in surrender to this monster of a race?”
Random man in his late fifties seeing me in anguish: “Hey kid, keep moving with me. Here, take this salt pill. It will help with your cramps. And keep moving. We’re all in this together. Almost there!”
And with that he handed me one of the most bitter, yet satisfying plastic capsules of glory that eased the tension on my unforgiving muscles. That random runner who assuredly cares more for his own posterity than he does for his own life kept me running.
Soggy Me walking slowly at Mile 25.4: “I’m done. I’ve got nothing left. Please, can someone get me a stretcher…”
Random ex-girlfriend running on to the course holding her child: “Hey Brock, don’t give up, you’re almost there! I know you can finish this!”
Soggy Me: “My legs are blocks Brandi. They’re so locked up I can’t even bend them anymore.”
Random ex-girlfriend: “I know it hurts but you’re so close to the end! Keep moving! You’re doing so good!”
And with that, she gave me a tiny oomph of energy that added a slight boost to my step and got me to hobble the last .8 miles. That random ex-girlfriend who is one of the best mothers to boot, a girl who cares more for the sake of helping other people than she does for damaged past relationships, kept me running.
Soggy Me crossing the finish line: “That’s it! It’s over! I’m never doing another marathon again. Screw this entire sport!”
Random six-year old named Tanner who was handing out finisher medals: “Here you go Mister! One day I’m gonna run a marathon just like you! You’re awesome mister, way to go!”
And with that, he held open his arms and wrapped a plastic souvenir around my neck, followed by a quick hug to a total and complete stranger who was four times his size. That random six-year old named Tanner at the finish line did more for me yesterday than he will ever comprehend.
And he, will keep me running.