I got a Fitbit for Christmas. Even though I didn’t ask, it tells me anyway how many steps I take, how many miles I run or walk, how many flights of stairs I climb, and how many calories I burn. It also tells me how many hours of sleep I get.
I typically do about 10,000 to 15,000 steps a day. Today isn’t over yet, and the little monster on my wrist tells me I’ve taken more than 68,000 steps.
Those steps began at Dodger Stadium at 6:55 this morning, took me through Chinatown, Downtown L.A., Echo Park, Silverlake, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood, Brentwood, and Santa Monica. And then somebody handed me a medal. This one.
I mentioned once before that I run marathons more for the work than the pleasure. This is how I remind myself that anything worth doing is worth working for.
It’s worth frustration or elation, joy or despair, pelting rain or the blazing sun.
It’s worth getting up at 4 AM.
Worth listening to Randy Newman’s I Love LA four times before crossing the starting line.
It’s worth really ugly blisters or sunburn or rashes or KT tape that sticks too hard and takes part of you with it when it comes off. Ouch.
It’s worth all the hours running, walking another mile to the car, and the slow ride home in traffic.
A thousand smiles, because funny signs:
“You think you’re tired? My arms are killing me.”
“Worst parade ever.”
“Free hugs.” (Brave people. We’ve been running for miles and aren’t very fresh).
Complementary couples T-shirts. Hers says, “This is the best Valentine’s Day present.” His adds, “Said no one ever.”
It’s so worth watching young teenagers (go Students Run LA!) running their first marathon literally carry their team mate the last mile across the finish line.
Sore muscles. Chapped lips. Gallons of Gatorade.
Even free beer, donuts, chocolate milk, and chili cheese dogs handed out to runners on the course (but not all at the same time. That would be gross).
A marathon is life in 26.2 miles with its sea of humanity, the infinite support from 25,000 runners and at least as many volunteers and residents with hearts of gold who show up to give you oranges, bananas, pretzels, candy, (did I mention chili dogs?), ice and cold wet towels, sunscreen (thank you to the man in Beverly Hills), hugs, high-fives, and encouragement.
It’s a dress rehearsal for the rest of your life. It’s a thousand metaphors on so many subjects – from the value of a work ethic to a lesson on the basic goodness of people.
Of course, not everyone can or wants to run 68,000 steps. To those I say: find something so hard you barely believe you could do it and then do it no matter how hard it is to do. It’s worth it.