This weekend the Hubs and I visited a sweet little town renown for glass. Our trip was scheduled to coincide with the annual marathon. It is an all-in affair drawing hundreds of neighbors together to support a couple thousand competitors and their fans. Now, that’s community! My sister, my niece, and I were registered to walk the half. I emphasize walk because everyone assumes otherwise when you mention marathon.
My first experience with this was in 2010. Two fourteen-week training schedules seemed helpful to health and fitness. That was the plan, anyway. Fortunately, a few girlfriends were willing to walk alongside; they gave me courage! Unfortunately, I didn’t lose a pound over the course of seven months’ training and two half-marathons. However, I did gain a great deal of confidence. The best part was seeing firsthand the way community can — and should — work.
It seems half of the town turns out to encourage every participant. Claps, cheers, and cowbells ring from every corner, generating great energy. Some of the most accomplished marathoners are amazingly supportive of those of us taking baby steps. Spectacular scenery, taken in beside a good friend with nothing but time to walk and talk is a beautiful bonus.
This event was all of that and more. Saturday afternoon was a glassfest! The Hubs and I admired glass museum* antiquities, art glass, hot glass, sculptured glass, stained glass, and shopped the glass market. Between an extensive collection and the glass history we didn’t get to, I know I’ll go back. Then we joined my sister and niece for good food and local brews in quaint downtown pub for a carefree evening.
On Sunday morning, the sun broke through somewhere along mile three and lit the remainder of our journey. We finished our long walk in a respectable amount of time, all things considered. Event schwag in custom glass medals and a split of champagne polished off a grand autumn weekend.
It wasn’t all glorious, mind you. One of us was walking with a bum ankle, another with a migraine, and at least one (ahem, I) was woefully ill prepared. We started out in the cold and fog and didn’t warm up until mile eight or nine. We were mooned by a participant who missed her potty break. (A couple dozen others, thankfully, stepped into the cornfield — a small but important distinction .)
Event organizers totally missed the memo on energy snacks and traffic control en route. It’s a really long walk without a chewable snack or two. Longer still when you’re looking over your shoulder, worried about vehicular manslaughter! Somewhere along the way, MapMyFitness app began reporting falsely. We thought we were one mile ahead and drink distributors and cheerleaders were off (and again, and again!) in mileage updates. Oy vey.
It was a lot of work and not just a bit painful but it was so worthwhile. Good company, a couple of good laughs, and a glass-half-full perspective can make all the difference when the going gets tough. Even if it’s half-full of icky green Gatorade. Cheers!
*And let’s not forget the world’s largest glass pumpkins! We didn’t scratch the surface on sculpture but I was thrilled to find Chihuly‘s distinctive art in residence. I thank K. for introducing me to his work in some city along the way and H. for leading me to more in San Antonio. Turns out it’s on display just about everywhere. Must go back to Seattle to see the new Gardens and Glass installation!