It’s your just reward for a job well done. A $7 turkey leg and, if you like, a free beer for turning in your timing chip. Immediately following the race we were greeted by a finishers medal, a couple paper cups of water and a mountain of bananas. From there we wandered, dazed and exhausted to the “showers” which, I have to admit, I had thought would be like the misting booths at Canada’s Wonderland but were, in fact, two firemen taking an inordinate amount of pleasure in spraying the participants with massive fire hoses. The water was freezing cold and the only thing that really didn’t work for me. It could have been done equally well by feeding the hoses into an overhead tanek and just letting the water cascade down over people like an open shower. The way they did it was inefficient and borderline barbaric which I suppose fits with the theme but was a bit of a harsh ending to an already taxing event. The mud wouldn’t come off without the water and so changing was really the only option. None of these ‘complaints’ dampened my enjoyment of the day I have to admit. The pride I felt in finishing was enough to make me happy no matter what and I think has led me to a new chapter in my life.
Although every male in the 60-65 age category was quicker than me!
That said, if you are going to do this at age 60 or above my bet is you are pretty confident in your ability! This weekend did open my eyes to one thing though. For the last 10 years I have been the guy who had back surgery. I have often used it as a reason, occasionally an excuse and, very rarely, as a crutch. However, the reason for it is only because of the fear of a repeat performance in the hospital. I was never really sure that I had recovered and even though my legs are different thicknesses and probably always will be, it seems that is the only legacy of the event. I can no longer claim that I am not capable of the same things a person who hasn’t had surgery is and although I may still occasionally get sidelined by a careless shoe tying incident, I think I am just as capable and resilient as I ever was.
If this weekend left me with scars, and it definitely left it’s physical mark, then I am also left with an indelible mark on my psyche. It’s the kind of boost no person could ever give me, an undertone of confidence that no fit test could ever provide. It is a shot in the arm for my physicality that could only have been gained by facing up to an epic challenge and regardless of the pain, the exhaustion, the bruises and scrapes, getting up every time I fell down. It’s the raw adrenaline rush gained from crawling through mud to the finish line, getting up and standing proudly over the body of my felled opponent.
It’s a sense of pride that will replace that little piece of herniated disc they took from me so long ago. I’m no longer the guy who had back surgery, I’m proud to call myself a Warrior!