The Massacre Marathon is one of a few races that I look forward to each year. The race is a 16-lap marathon around a local park where the first lap is 2.2 miles and each of the following laps are 1.6 miles. While it’s open to solo runners, the majority of participants put together two, four, or eight person teams. To keep order, organizers have a couple rules. Four person teams must alternate laps. All other team combinations can run whatever lap configurations they choose provided each person on a team runs at least one lap. Got it? Good.
Growing up, I never liked running as a sport. For me it was just something I did when I played other sports. A means to an end. It didn’t exactly help that running was often something I had to do as a result of doing something I wasn’t supposed to be doing while playing a sport that wasn’t running.
Fumble the ball, “Run laps!” Drop an easy fly, “Run the bases!” Miss a free throw, “Run suicides!” Five pounds from making weight, “Put on a trash bag and run around the boiler!” Drive my mother crazy, “Go outside and run around!”
Suffice it to say, I hated running. I hated it as a kid. Hated it as a teen. Hated it in my twenties. Basically, I have hated running for most of my life.
Then something miraculous happened. Not “water into wine” or “USA beats Russia in ice hockey” miraculous. More like, “Jesus on toast” miraculous.
This winter, instead of running in the evening I’ve opted to get my run on before the sun (and my family) wakes up. One particular morning I rose from the dead around 5AM, got dressed, put on all kinds of reflective gear, and headed out the door where the temps were in the upper 20s and the wind was playing all of the neighborhood chimes. Having run the same route for the past several weeks I decided I’d try a slightly altered route to pick up a few extra miles.
Recently, my wife went on holiday leaving my son and I to fend for ourselves. Two days in my son suggested we camp out in our backyard, and I agreed.
We set up the tent,