This is embarrassing for me to admit, but there are two holes in the drywall in the bathroom. What does this have to do with running? Laughably enough, they too are scars from my first marathon, and it went down a little like this:
Post marathon, I fell asleep on the couch having chugged a scary amount of liquids to replenish. I expected extreme fatigue and dehydration, yes.
Here’s what I didn’t expect: not being able to stand up off the john. In what seemed like an out-of-body experience, I made it about halfway up before my legs simply stopped. Refusing to support my weight, even a little, they buckled beneath me. Bastards. As my brain started to connect the dots that a crash was imminent, it sent my arms out to the nearest supports. As it turns out, the toilet paper holder isn’t quite enough to support my weight. (weird, right?) The small bar gave way as I pulled the entire device, molly bolts and all, out of the wall and landed with a resounding and unceremonious “thunk” on the toilet.
A First Marathon’s Lingering Side Effects
I sat there for a few minutes, still piecing together what had happened, staring at the toilet paper holder in my hands, and wondering how I would make it out of the loo. Giving the second attempt more forethought, I leveraged the doorknob instead, and sort of shuffled my way off the throne and into a semi-upright position. Sheepishly holding the toilet paper holder, I straggled out into the living room to uproarious laughter from various family members who had, very quickly, put two and two together.
My good-natured Dad later patched up the holes and remounted the holder, but you can still see, without too much effort, exactly where the original one lived. Every time I think of that day, the extreme fatigue and the joyous satisfaction of marathon tested legs comes back to me, and its hard to deny the gratitude that comes with it. I lived through it and learned every bit of what a first marathon had to teach me.
Thanks to this, and other marathon side effects, I’m continually reminded of whatever it is that drives us to burn through the pain, the drudgery, the discomfort. Sometimes nasty tendons will decide it’s not going to happen for me, other times the cold December air burns a frosty path straight down to my stomach and I’m positive I want to quit, but there is no escaping all the little reminders of everything the marathon has given me.
That keeps me going, and I run with exceptional thankfulness this time of year for that, and so much more.