The predawn awakening, the anticipation, the piles of gear.
The last-minute potty run, the numbered bibs, the staggered start.
Over the mat, the mass of the pack, finding the familiar rhythms.
The first long hill, over the bridge, first second and third wind.
Streets of spectators, tables of G@torade, cups slurped then tossed.
The air in your face, the sweat, the shoes.
The focus, the training, the determination, the lonely decisions.
The sparse street after the front runners have passed, the slow but steady run-walk, the mile markers creeping into view.
Cheers and clapping, strangers urging you on, steady goes it.
The camaraderie, the conversations, the sight of the finish line.
The photos, the medals, the handshakes and nods.
My father is running the New York City Marathon today. Within the last ten years, he's had a quadruple bypass and a hip replacement. He's still running. Today is his 31st marathon.