First off. This kinda lifestyle/health/fitnessy blog thing is evolving into something so cool for me. I’ve always tooled around with the idea of doing something like this, and now that I’ve been doing it, and have kept up with it rather well for a few months, I feel sort of legit. Like I’m really doing this, huh? I also am loving some of the feedback some of you guys are giving me. Kind of the same way that Tinkerbell lives off of applause, I get life from the feedback yous have been giving me. I love it.
Okay, so I was at work today, and guess who walked in? None other than our ultra-marathoner friend, Sean Flannery!
Sean slowly padded into the running shop with his signature smile. You could tell he was still in some pain. I burst into a huge smile.
He reached out to give me a huge hug. I stepped back to look at his face. He was triumphant, quite obviously, but so, so, so very tired, and despite his huge grin, his eyes still betrayed the fact that he could use a few more good days of sleep.
“I just wanted to thank you so much. And anything, anything you need? I want to help you out with it.”
Flash back to the ultra from a few nights ago? When I met up with Sean at the turnaround, he was hobbling, and continued to apologize for how slow we were moving. A blister had developed on one of his feet (which we later got taped from the awesome folks at the aid station), and was slowing him down. He showed me what it looked like today. Suffice it to say that I’m sparing you a world of heartache by not showing you picture evidence of that poor toe. He’s not going to keep that toenail.
Back to the visit. So Sean came into my job to thank me for pacing him. Came into my job. This guy just ran 100 miles, and is coming in to thank me? He’s like a rock star!
“Also, I’m really sorry we had to move so slow. I wish you’d been there at the end. I actually was able to run some more.” the whole time, he’s still flashing that grin. And apologizing for moving slowly? We chatted for a little while longer, and as he was leaving, I reached out to shake his hand. He pulled me into a hug.
Sean came into my job to thank me for pacing him. But I really think he failed to realize that more than anything, I feel like I owe him a huge thanks. My post from the other day? Doesn’t do my experience at the Ultra justice. I am blown away by the fact that human beings can train for something like this, spend over 24 hours in a park running, and still are kind, humble, sweet, and thankful. And I think being around all of that makes me want to be a little more thankful and humble in my own life.
The most profound moment of the race, the one that nearly brought me to tears, the one that made me want to be just a tad more grateful in my daily life, came toward the end of our lap. Sean was starting to run out of juice, and we passed an aid station. I grabbed his water bottle from him, and he continued to trudge on. I filled it, and found a Vanilla Bean Gu, the flavor he’d told me was his favorite. I caught up with him, ripped the tab off the Gu, and handed it to him. After he choked it down? He trudged a few more steps, and said a simple, “Thank you so much. Seriously.” In that moment, if he’d snapped at me and bit my head off, I would have totally understood, but he went the extra step to say thanks.
I guess, what I trying to say, is that, all you crazy marathoners were thanking us volunteers and stuff, but I’m really more thankful to you all for turning a couple of chilly hours on a Sunday morning into this like, profound series of human moments. For a few hours it was just us, the stars, and some seriously good vibrations carrying us through. I’m totally striving to keep up these good moments and these good feelings going for as long as I can. I don’t want to forget how good Sunday morning felt.