-and in a frenzy of feet; scattering, scuttering, crunching dirt, gravel, grass; the near 200 racers begin. decked out in arm warmers, specialized belts and vests and various running accoutrements they embrace the cold morning air with the growing hope of warm bodies and a warm day. the fall sun, burning orange beyond a hill of trees, cuts mists and fogs and begins to prepare a perfect day for running ridiculous distances. josh and i, not running, are there to see off friend thad as he embarks upon what will be over thirty miles of trail running wonderful pain.
thad would complete every mile in less than six hours. that’s running better than five miles per hour. this is the guy who, a year and some ago, flew to south africa to run fifty six miles. his pace here was much better. in fact he said this trail run was one of the few races in his running career that he felt good about. he told us that we made a big difference. josh and i drove around to each spot that they would let us see the runners in order to catch thad and cheer him on. thad claims the race would have been much different had we not been there. and i think that is quite possibly true. too many times i saw people cross that finish line, near collapsing, and then…they just kind of walk off, grab something to eat, cool their feet; no one was there to congratulate them, put an affectionate arm across their sweaty shoulders. i am extremely glad that josh and i were able to be that for thad. and we are both extremely glad that he asked us to go camping with him.
for me camping was a breath of fresh air. we were situated in a sheltered arm of forest near a marshy lake. chipmunks scurried away and up trees at your every step. no need to buy over-priced firewood bundles; the dead and broken arms of trees gathered within a minute’s stroll of the campsite fed our fire for the entire weekend excursion. just like back at camp firwood in washington. so here’s to sitting up late roasting hot dogs and drinking special beverages and sleeping in strange bags and not showering and smelling forever like the delicious, musty crisp of campfire smoke. and here’s to thad and his wonderful legs for making it all possible. thank you friends for a unforgettable bachelor party #1.
the night before the big day we drove out to an outdoorsy shop to see and hear a couple famous racers. one being dean karnazes. this guy is ridiculous. he calls marathons ‘sprint distance’ races. he ran fifty marathons in fifty days. he ran across america, in true forrest gump style (to do this he ran an average of 45 miles everyday for 75 days). he runs the badwater race each year, 135 miles across death valley in the middle of summer. he has raced in antarctica. his biggest accomplishment? running a 10k on with his daughter on her tenth birthday. josh almost teared up. all that said, both josh and i now, after hearing this guy talk and seeing thad be awesome out in the woods, are starting to think about long distance trail running. in fact, they have one of these north face endurance challenges out in the chuckanut mountains near my hometown of bellingham. i told thad if he ever goes out there i would train and run with him. he and josh laughed. ‘you’ll die’ was spoken. but to prove my dedication (mainly to exploring those beautiful hills!) i shook on it. and i am serious. i would like to someday be that awesome.
i had a dream that they re-released the star wars movies, making them ‘more action-packed.’ this meant that they put a bunch of the action scenes in slow motion. it was almost worth it.
this time next week., i will…
-not be single
-be someone who has to wear a ring and is not at all used to it
-have a wife
and that’s what’s up. frustrating and fun details alike working themselves out and the beautiful day coming together, excitement begins to take hold in various ways. i still think that i am sleeping. this stuff doesn’t actually happen. but no, here i am, looking forward to a time in which me and this one girl i know will get to live together and be a team of justice and awesome. and so much more. sounds like a great deal. can’t wait.
so here’s to fake flowers and forest preserves, community centers and caterers, for long hours researching little things, and unnumbered trips to hobby lobby. here’s to five months of looking and finding and looking and not finding, of working together with any number of people, to getting blessed with free things again and again, of waiting ’til the last minute to get your groomsmen their clothes. and here’s to steph and her mother and her family for planning a day that i know will be great. but even though it is a big deal and there is a lot of work, i wonder if i will really notice much of it once four o’clock on saturday september 24th comes around, and that music plays….