Post dated from October 3, 2013
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary one of the definitions of marathon is; “something (such as an event or activity) that lasts an extremely long time or that requires great effort”. I think this very much describes my City Saunter Project. For three years I’ve strategically made my way from Haslett to Lansing and walked on the public streets for a given amount of time. While walking I carried with me my full sized dslr Canon camera, extra lens, notebooks, sometimes water, and my phone (after November 2012). I carried all of these supplies in a messenger bag with Velcro closures. As I walked the motion rubbed my clothing to the level that most of my pants now have a frayed spot on the left thigh. I even bought a new shirt and the metal brackets on the bag wore a mark on this brand new shirt. I wore my way through 5 separate pair of shoes. I think in this last month alone I put 300 miles on my car driving to the south side of Lansing. There were the summer days when I left my kids sitting in front of the television and rushed off to get a few miles in. As I type this, my word counter has just surpassed 10,000 words. I rolled my camera 4 times with probably a quarter to a third of those photos being City Saunter photos. To complete this project by my gallery opening date I really started walking a lot more than normal. My combined walking for this summer’s months is 200.9597 miles; all the months (years) up to that equal 333.7674. This project of walking every street in Lansing totaled 534.7271 miles walked. On October 3, 2013 I walked the most miles I had ever walked in my life. I did not train. I did not stretch. I really did nothing right yet by the grace of God was I able to walk from 8:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. with only a 20 minute break to buy a little food at Meijer. The total for this walk was 29.43 miles. I biked a small amount of this but also neglected to calculate biking from a finished spot back to my car or another walking location. I estimate I also biked another 3-4 miles on top of the walk. A marathon, I walked a marathon! I marked it on my map in orange instead of my typical hot pink highlighter. It’s quite impressive, if you don’t mind me saying. It’s even more impressive if you add in that the weekend before I was bedridden with a fever, sore throat and swollen glands. Yet it was done. Because of that extraordinary feat I was able to complete the project the next day just as I had planned (hoped).
Some of my finds from this long walk:
First; Second; Third; Fourth; Fifth; Sixth; Seventh; Eighth; Ninth
I spent most of last weekend volunteering with the Lansing Marathon. I realized, while there, how many different aspects of the race inspired me. First there was Dr. Virginia Beard. A week before our marathon she was at the Boston Marathon but due to the tragic events was unable to finish the last half mile of that race. It was decided that Dr. Beard would start our Lansing Marathon at the last half mile and finish what she was unable to do in Boston. She would then receive her metal that she didn’t get in Boston and lead our marathon in a moment of silence. If that wasn’t inspiring enough, she then went on to run a half marathon. When I saw all the runners standing in two rows waiting for Dr. Beard to pass by, I felt inspired.
When, in the wee morning hours inside the Lansing Center way before anyone else had arrived, I passed a police officer and his bomb trained German Shepherd inspecting the trash cans thoroughly, I felt sad, but I also felt inspired to help make this world a safer, calmer place. When I saw thousands of people in the cold, early Sunday morning lining up to run a very long race, I felt inspired.
Then there was the 15 year old that ran without any training. There was the multitude of volunteers handing out water, food, metals and blankets; not to mention “hellos”, “thank yous” and “you can do its! There was the mom standing eagerly at the very edge of the finish line who wanted to be the one to give her daughter her metal. I spent the next hour or so instructing the volunteers that when this woman’s daughter came through to let her give the runner her metal. We eyed every runner coming towards us to see if she matched this woman’s number. It was near the end of the race and it was announced that the last runner had crossed the 24 mile mark. Maybe that was her? However, a few minutes later a runner wearing all black turned the corner and headed our way. I saw the younger girl with this woman light up. “That’s her”, she yelled. Together the three of us moved closer to the finish line. Other volunteers realized this was the one we’d been waiting for and motioned for the mom to move closer. I cried as all three hugged at the finish line. How exciting that we could do this for them. That was inspiring. Twelve hours into my volunteering experience for that final day, I stood shoulder to shoulder with dozens of volunteers and family members as the last runner, after 7 long hours of running, finally crossed the finish line. She did it! And THAT, was inspiring.
Inspiration is a very personal thing. Something that moves to inspire me may not inspire you. I think that’s okay, as long as something inspires you. Yesterday I bought a new pair of running shoes.
With this project I’ve walked over 300 miles, but I’ve run none. Today I tried to use that momentum from the race to try a run. I had a section of road that would be a down and back type walk. Sometimes I use my bike for these areas. I walk my bike one way then ride back. This time I decided to run back. It was almost two miles and even though it wasn’t pretty, I did it. At one point I passed a woman working outside her house. She nodded as I came to a stop. She asked if I’d started running at Filley St. (about a mile away). I said I had. She said she thought that was a long way. I told her briefly about my project and that I decided to run back from this last walk, but that I wasn’t doing so well since I was breathing hard and needing to take a break. She said she thought I was doing great to her.
I think it’s good to really think about the things that inspire you. I also think it’s good to try to be inspiring. But the best part is when a good friend or even a stranger lets you know that they think you are inspiring too.
Inspiration Located at the Lansing City Market
Training for a marathon; I hear that phrase often. As someone who’s never actually ran a marathon I really don’t know what that means. I would assume there are strength training sessions and endurance sessions. I know my cousin, who’s run many marathons, watches what he eats and drinks very cautiously, especially around race time. I know there are hill work outs and speed work outs and then there’s the rest day. I think many of us have taken that specific day and ran with it. Sometimes I think to myself, why would someone want to work that hard, push that hard for something like a race? It’s a race where you actually have costs and no obvious benefit to yourself. To push it even further, why would someone who’s just finished running 26.1 miles continue to the nearest hospital to donate their blood? I am volunteering for Lansing’s marathon this weekend and it’s been said over and over how difficult it can be for some of these runners to think straight after completing this competition. I was told that the volunteers would cut the bananas in half so the runners don’t need to struggle with peeling it. Yet, after yesterdays Boston Marathon some runners had the ability to complete the race and then continue running to the nearest hospital to give the very blood that pulsed in their veins. Now, that’s strength endurance!
I never thought of this project as a true marathon. However, there’s another definition of a marathon; “A marathon is a long lasting or difficult task or operation of a specified kind”. I think, under that definition, I am walking a marathon. It will take me 3 years, over 400 miles, multiple pairs of shoes, strength training and schedule adaptations, to accomplish this goal; this self imposed, made up goal. Do I have some costs that went into this? Yup! Does it seem to have any obvious personal benefits? Possibly. Have I in return for setting this goal, working towards this goal and ultimately achieving this goal received some sort of intangible blessing? My answer to that is an unwavering absolutely.
So, what’s your marathon? Are you slacking in your training or are you pushing each day to excel? I believe it’s these type of activities, the ones that take so long to complete, are the ones that give us the most benefits; in the long run.
My walk: part 1 and part 2
Lansing Marathon is still actively looking for volunteers, especially course marshals. Please follow this link and sign up if you can!