Ever since the marathon Saturday, I find myself looking back at that wonderful day, the gorgeous weather and scenery, the experience of pushing myself and realizing more strength than I thought I'd have approaching a marathon untrained... and it is almost like remembering an old friend. I sigh. I smile. I think, what a great day that was.
I simply love remembering. My previous post about chasing my "huckleberries" does not really touch upon how much fun I had out there. How each step was a surprise because the whole time I expected to feel totally depleted around the next corner, on the next mile... I remember looking out at rolling green fields dotted with black cows. I remember looking up at the blue sky and noticing that the trees were beginning to change colors as just a touch of red could be seen at the tips. I remember glancing down to see a golden, furry caterpillar crawling across my path and hopping over him.
I remember the sensation of passing Blue Shirt after chasing her for so many miles. I laugh as I remember the game I played in my mind and the names I gave those in front of me. When climbing a hill and wondering if I could catch the person in front of me, I could hear Jason's voice say, "Everyone has to climb that hill," reminding me that I was not the only person facing these challenges and my legs were not the only ones burning. So were theirs. Its just something he always says to me when I talk about slowing down on hills or finding a course difficult. I knew that if Jason could see me along the course, he would make that hand motion he makes that signals me to pass the person in front of me. That always makes me laugh, but spurs me on to do it too.
Yesterday, I was talking with the Sports Nutrition instructor here at UAH about fueling, recovering and training and how the muscles respond, and he eventually asked about my questions. I told him about the marathon and training for an ultra, although I didn't go into specifics and while he had some great and helpful things to say about muscles and recovery, I could tell the overall view of people like me was one of extremism. He sort of had us all figured out and while I cannot argue with much of what he said, there was a component he didn't understand. But it wasn't one I could explain either.
It is that feeling of remembering Saturday. It is the memories I have of everything marathon I've run, good or bad. It is bonding with Jason and my mom. It is running with my dearest friends in the world - who I only see at 5:00 am in the morning. It is the experience of the body running down the road on a gorgeous day, wind sweeping by my ears. It is the tears, the sweat, the salt, the raised hands in triumph at the finish line. It is that feeling. And I think this feeling is more than what we like to call "runner's high." This feeling lasts much longer than that. It is a life-feeling.
As I said before, I can't explain it. The title of this post doesn't even really say it. But it is so wonderful and I feel so blessed to have it. No matter what anyone thinks or says, I will always be thankful for days like Saturday and all the experiences and memories and wordless feelings that surround it.