It’s Blue Ridge Marathon day. All my friends posted their race outfits yesterday, and I’m sitting here at 4:30 in the morning downing coffee and digging through three laundry baskets full of unfolded clothes trying to find a running bra and a left sock.
Seriously. A left sock. Because Feetures and Balega don’t think I’m grown enough to decide which sock to put on which foot.
Two hours ago I was listening to the thunderstorm that Tiny Brazilian and Franklin County Moonshine and all the other Double Marathoners were running through.
Huh. That sucks. For them.
Then I rolled over and went back to sleep.
Don’t feel bad for them, though. Mama Ange gave the Tiny Brazilian coffee at the top of damn Peakwood in the middle of Loop One. Then turned her loose onto the rest of us waiting to start her second loop with her. Imagine the Tasmanian Devil on speed. Only really, really happy.
At one point when DICtator and I went back out to cheer her through her second loop, I may have yelled out something to the effect of, “Go ahead Tiny Brazilian! Go the hell back home!”
“But not, like, in a racist way! Not, like, all the way back home! To Brazil! I mean, just home to the finish line!“
Sometimes I just shouldn’t be allowed to talk. We’ve already established that, right?
Rolled up into the Blue Ridge Marathon, socks on the correct feet and ready to get the 10k Dance Party started, around 6am.
Received some lessons from Goatfinder on how to pose as her with Skratch since she’d miss the team photo in order to go meet her Marathon Relay team. So, you know, I could be her stand in. Of course, that would’ve meant I would miss the photo while I was pretending to be her, so I’d need someone to pretend to be me, and you can see how this could end up with an entire C&C group picture full of people pretending to be other people and still missing someone that was actually there… So I just used a pic of her on my phone to get her in the team pic.
Gathered my Blue Ridge 10k Dance Party Crew together at the starting line.
Five minutes before start time, Beast Family asked me where Rogue was. They’d claimed her for the Half instead of letting me have her for the 10k. So I politely advised them that she was not my problem this morning. She was entirely their responsibility.
And then she showed up.
I may have peed a little. Not so much from excitement that she was going to be part of the Blue Ridge 10k Dance Party, but because I won. I won her back. From Beast Family. She came home to me. Where she belongs.
And then we were off. And it was awesome. I mean, it hurt. Most of us were injured in some way. Dorothy-ish was coming back off of a broken ankle (that earned her a really sweet tattoo, so I don’t know what she’s whining about). DICtator kept whining about the itchy leg lazy runner syndrome. It’s a tragic condition that effects runners who abandon their friends for months at a time just so they can go make and raise babies. (But seriously, it sucks. It’s worse than real actual pain.)
My Achilles was its usual bitchy self despite the fact that we were mostly just walking. The dancing may have upset her a bit, too. But dammit, that’s what we were there to do. Rogue and I danced through the whole damn six miles.
We enjoyed several moo-mosas and took a pic with runner famous Jeff Galloway. And really, kudos to him for showing up and posing for pictures and cheering complete strangers on all day.
And at the end, as we watched our sweet Van One Driver push herself through all of her pain to run through the finish line with us, I may have teared up a little bit. And I may have outright cried as I hugged her at the end. But she cried first, so…
But here’s the thing.
I’ve run the Blue Ridge Full and Double Marathons in previous years. And I’m glad I did. I love pushing myself beyond what my body says it can handle. (Which may be why she hates me so much this year. She can’t really handle much. But I keep pushing her past it.)
But if you really want to experience the full excitement and love and inspiration of this event, you need to do the 10k.
Because then you get to watch the two women crossing the finish line, hand in hand, as one carries an oxygen pack on her back so the other could run her race.
You get to watch finisher after finisher break down in tears because they’ve just proven to themselves that they can do the impossible. That they took on America’s Toughest Road Marathon and beat it.
You get to watch GJB’s friend and his family go crazy cheering him through the marathon.
You get to watch Endong push his crazy ass across the finish line in obvious pain with a look of pure refusal to give a fuck about it.
You get to watch the Tiny Brazilian breeze through yet another Double Marathon. Even if she was faster without you this year.
You get to watch your friends lose their freakin minds cheering Franklin County Moonshine across the finish line of his first Double (that he started late and so almost didn’t get to finish.)
There is no easy distance in this race. The 10k alone has almost 1,000 feet of elevation gain. To every single person that showed up, you are freaking phenomenal.
To Molly and Julia and John and every single volunteer out there making this race happen, including Mama Ange that shows up in the middle of the night every year to support the Doublers, thank you. Y’all our heros.
I am so so happy I made the choice to run the 10k this year.
I love these people and our wonderful adventures. I love their refusal to quit, their stubborn will to overcome, and their pure joy for one another’s successes.
Oh, and next year? We all running the Double.