Bib #47 – Amica Seattle Marthon
Deep in the throes of the New Marathoner High, and newly transplanted to Seattle after a lifetime on the east coast, I completed the Amica Seattle Marathon for the first time in 2014 on a day so cold it broke local weather records. A photograph of the winner, his beard crusted with icicles, appeared in the media. Some three years and 31 marathons later, I still tell the story of cold so debilitating that, despite double-layered mittens, I lost the use of my hands to Rinaud’s (a condition not uncommon in women in which blood vessels in the fingers close in completely, cutting off blood flow to one or more digits for a period of time) and, at Mile 18, implored a spectator, a stranger, to bite the top of my gel packet off for me because I couldn’t grip the package strongly enough to bite it off myself. I would pass my husband waiting to cheer me on at Mile 25, his hat pulled low and scarf piled high, with tears streaming down my face. I’m just so cold, I remember whimpering. He felt so badly for me he tried to chase me to the finish.
The 2017 Seattle Marathon website boasted an expected 15,000 entrants across the half and full marathon distances, but the races would finish just under 5,000, amidst sideways rain and 43 degree temperatures. Soaked through every layer of clothing, including those ostensibly protected by my rain jacket and waterproof sneakers, my teeth began a literal chatter in the final race miles, and during the nearly two-mile walk home. It seemed a better idea to just keep moving, than to await an Uber trying to navigate Thanksgiving weekend downtown Seattle marathon traffic. I was just so cold.
While I don’t ever ask myself why I run marathons, I have begun to ask myself why I run this marathon. Pirouetting in the shower, periodically checking to see if I can make the water hotter, even though the lever is turned as far left as it can go, I imagine I’ll run in 2018. They can’t all end like this.