Thank you, Legs

When I finally got to the starting line of the Rock and Roll Marathon in Washington DC, I reached down and rubbed my thighs, and thought, ‘Okay legs….you know what to do…”

My legs.  They aren’t pretty.  I simply don’t think of them in those terms.  They are hard…bruised…scarred…strong.  It is rare for me to have more than six toenails at any given time.  My own husband once remarked, that they are so muscular,  I look like a transvestite when I wear a skirt. But, oh the places those gams have taken me.

I get up early, really earl, to run.  It’s my legs that get me out of bed, against all protests from my mind.  I talk to them before I close my eyes at night, “ok girls, tomorrow it’s a long one---hills”, and when my eyes open, they are ready,  mechanically taking me out the door. 

On training runs, they run on auto-pilot.  They free my mind to wander…appreciate my surroundings…figure things out…empty.  I dial in a pace, and they respond.  Left.  Right.  Repeat.  Relentless forward progress.  They do as I ask. I rely on their compliance.

It is only when they tire, that I notice them.  My feet blister on anything over 50 miles.  My thighs tighten after 70.  After, 90, they scream.   But, they don’t relent.  They will push on, at whatever pace they can.  They like to move me forward.

I find ways to reward them.  Prior to my race yesterday, I took them on a walk around DC.  I asked nothing more of them, than to take me left because it looked more intriguing than going straight.  I take them to yoga.  They love the flexibility it provides them.  The hot tub makes them giddy with relaxation.  The stick (although loathed by my mind) brings a sense of serene calmness and release.  I spin them on my bike trainer, which relaxes every fiber.  I do squats and lunges, and they appreciate the strength created.  I give them hills…flats…mud…they love the variety.  I provide opportunities to open my stride and fly, or to shallow my step, and simply cover ground.  

I ask much of them, and they deliver.  In return, they have allowed me to leave footprints in the most amazing places, and to cross paths with friends I hold deep in my heart.  They do, however, miss belly dancing.   Perhaps, because finally, the focus is not on them.

There is a mile during the DC marathon called the ‘Memory Mile’.  It is lined with pictures of fallen soldiers, and their family members.  It also happens to be on a killer incline.  Ok legs, do your thing.  They ran, at the hardest pace they could maintain, up the entire incline. 

At mile 13, just as the half marathoners split off for their finish, a man handed me a flag…’Remember where you are” he said.  I did, and pushed up the tempo of my race pace. 

Near the end, with the finish in sights, they opened and flew,  allowing me to sprint across the line.

The day after a race, they don’t like going down stairs.  They will recover, and they will be ready for my next starting line, which will happen sooner rather than later.

So, for bringing me to the finish line of yet another marathon, for letting me explore the world on foot, for pushing me, for giving me strength to keep going, for teaching me about me,  Legs….Thank you!


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