Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Turn, Turn, Turn

St. Jude Marathon Weekend was canceled this year because of weather-related issues (ice).  I was signed up to run the half, but unlike the majority of those I know who were going to be running with me, I wasn’t disappointed on Friday night when the official announcement was made.  The emotion I felt was relief.  Standing in a seven-degree windchill waiting to start, knowing I’d be fine during the run but spending the rest of my day trying to warm back up, anticipating those hills on Poplar while knowing full well I wasn’t trained up enough to run them the way I'd like…if I’d been running the full, or if I hadn’t run that half several other times, or if I’d been working hard toward a specific time goal, then I would have been disappointed.

But seeing as how none of those things applied this time around, all I could think about was how nice it was going to be to sleep in on Saturday morning.


You want to know something I don’t like?  Winter.  I don’t like the cold, I don’t like endless days of
gray, and I don’t like the end of the year.  I don’t like the way everyone gets sad thinking about all the missed opportunities of the previous twelve months, and I don’t like the way everyone tries to hide it.  I don’t like the onslaught of materialistic Christmas ads on TV, I don’t like the way it’s dark before the 5 o’clock news starts, and I especially don’t like seven-degree-windchill temperatures.

And yet all of this is the price we must pay, via tradition and custom (not to mention the rotation of the earth), to get to that fresh, renewed feeling of a new year.  To get to the promise of spring.  To get to the lengthening of days.  To get to the reemergence of the sun.  It’s the cycle of human existence – you have to do this to get to that.  More abstractly, you have to experience this to appreciate that.

That’s what I felt when that damn race was canceled:  I have to be burned out right now to reclaim my love of doing this.  And I had to once love doing this to know this feeling of being burned out.

It’s the cycle starting over.


I didn’t lose electricity when the ice came, which was my primary concern.  Like all Memphians who were alive in 1994, I remember the ice storm of that year, and the weather this time around (thankfully) paled pathetically in comparison.  I’m currently reading Jared Diamond’s new book, The World Until Yesterday, in which he talks about “constructive paranoia,” or fear that seems illogical to outsiders but is based on locally-relevant life experiences.  I have a constructive paranoia about losing power and also about plummeting core body temperature after a long run in the cold, as both are things that have given me ample discomfort in the past.

All told then, my weekend was one of incredible luck.  I dodged all sorts of uncomfortable things.


A lot of people I know ran the race anyway, whether it was the half or the full they were signed up for.  They converged at the starting line, all bundled up, and ran the course without any official support.  I also know people who braved the elements to hand out water or cheer along the route.

Sometimes, depending on where your mind is, the greatest discomfort there is is in not being out there.

That’s not just a running thing, that’s a life thing.

Another weekend, that might have been me, pounding out my 13.1 on the empty streets, or losing my voice, along with feeling in my fingers, shouting for friends along the way.

But it wasn’t me this weekend.

And that’s okay.

I’ve been there before…I’ll be back there again…


  1. you go becky ... either way ;)

    Annie Sasha

    1. Aw, thank you, Annie!! And right back at you. :)