Nashville marathon day peaked at 84 degrees, but I will forever swear it was the hottest day of my life.
But we made it.
At several points in the race, there were paramedics loading people onto stretchers on BOTH sides of me.
But we made it.
Along the way, I was enjoying the most marvelous gift. KT made me a four-hour playlist, which I loaded onto my iPod the day before we left for Nashville. I didn’t listen to a single song before race day. I didn’t even look at the playlist. Just before I crossed the start line, I pressed play.
Everyone has a favorite mixed tape memory, don’t they? (At least those of us old enough to know what the hell that is.) It’s like every song is a special message, when that playlist was created just for you by a person who knows you and loves you. And though KT had no way of knowing I would be MELTING during my race, she knows the experience of the marathon very well, so this particular playlist was even more miraculous. I won’t list the full four hours, but here are a few of the songs that made me laugh out loud and/or tear up along those long Nashville hills:
1. Just Like Heaven, Jeff Hughes and Chaparral (If you haven’t heard them, check it out. You’ll thank me. Or KT, actually.)
2. Chasing Pavements, Adele (Come on. That’s hilarious.)
3. Shitloads of Money, Liz Phair (KT and I are both writers, not musicians, but really the sentiment’s the same.)
4. Tennessee Sucks, Ryan Adams (Tennessee sucks in the summer? I’m totally on board.)
5. Closer to Fine, Indigo Girls (I adore this song – hello, Athens, Ga! – but for the first time I considered how “closer to fine” might actually mean closer to heaven. By which I mean death. To which I felt close.)
6. Gang Ganapataye/Lotus Feet, David Newman (I don’t actually know what lotus feet are, but I tried very hard to transform mine into some. Or into something other than feet. Something like pillows.)
7. Change the Sheets, Kathleen Edwards (“Change this feeling under my feet.” Enough said.)
8. It Ought to Be Easier, Lyle Lovett (Not a funny song, but I laughed SO HARD. This is what happens with extreme dehydration.)
9. Work to Do, Mayer Hawthorne (This song as playing when I passed a little girl wearing a t-shirt that said “I’m a survivor, thank you for running.” She nearly jumped out of her mom’s arms to give me a high five. But you’ll be proud – I got a respectable distance away before I BURST INTO TEARS.)
10. Under African Skies, Paul Simon (This is exactly where I felt like I was. Plus Paul Simon is the greatest.)
11. The Longer I Run, Peter Bradley Adams (The last song on the playlist. Appropriate, right? I still had a long way to go, but I cried nonetheless.)
Speaking of miraculous friends, I caught up with Evan toward the end, and we crossed the finish line together. It wasn’t a day of great racing for either of us, but that was a moment I will remember forever. And that’s much, much better.
Love to you, miraculous friends. All of you.