Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thank you, blisters. Thank you, hills. And thank God for cellulite, too.

I almost lost a lot of weight on Monday.  Fifty-sixty pounds by my estimation, though I don't know for sure.  I may have nearly lost a third of my body weight in one fell swoop and might have gotten close to 100 pounds for the first time since puberty.  I almost lost all my cellulite too along with it.  But for some reason, I didn't.  For some reason, I was in the right place at the right time.  I remain the same 168ish pounds that I was on Sunday and my friends have maintained their weights as well.  And for that, I am eternally grateful.  So grateful.  There are not enough words in the English language to describe the gratitude and joy I've felt the last few days when I look down and see my thighs that touch and my dimpled tush and my legs attached to my body.  For once, I can't get enough satisfaction out of my imperfect, chubby form.  On Monday, April 15th 2013, I was at the Boston Marathon.

My beautiful, amazing runner friend Laura, who also happens to be my home-girl since kindergarten, was running that day in memory of her beautiful, amazing mother who passed away last year.  Laura's had a tough year, to say the least and she worked damn hard to turn some of her pain into power, into something good.  She trained her ass off.  She trained her dog's ass off, who doubled as her running partner on occasion.  She worked hard and raised thousands of dollars for cancer research in mama's name and honor.  And on her big day, we all wanted to be there for her, screaming for her and proudly shouting her name.  Her fiance, her father, her brother and sisters, her aunts, her family and her friends.  She deserved that and she deserved the finish line.  She deserved that one moment, that one step crossing over the line that would make the hundreds of miles of steps she'd run in preparation worth it.  She didn't get it.

Laura is what I would consider a pretty fast runner.  When we do 5ks, I am usually chugging in at around 35 minutes while she's been munching on free bananas for the past 11, patiently awaiting my arrival.  She can comfortably run 8-9 minute miles and if I wasn't so incredibly mature and didn't love her so much, I might not be her friend over this.  And worst of all, she doesn't complain.  Ever.  About anything (well, perhaps her fiance might say otherwise).  She's humble and she smiles and she works her ass off.  And when she sets her mind to it, she just does it.  She doesn't blog and complain about her journey and its many setbacks (I'm not eating waffles right now....).  In my experience as her friend for 20+ years, if she says she is going to do something, she says it once, and then does it, like magic.   Laura is someone I could never be jealous of because she deserves all the wonderful things in her life- she worked darn hard for them! Harder than most people I know.  And she worked hard for this marathon.

I've never run a marathon, or even a half-marathon.  I don't know what it's like to go that distance but I guess as far as courses go, Boston is a pretty challenging one.  There are many hills, some obstacles and these things tend to slow a person down.  Laura didn't finish on Monday, she was about a half mile from the finish line when it happened.  She was running quite a bit slower that day than normally, which she attributed to the hills and the blisters and the pain she was running through.  She also told me the night before the race that she was a few pounds heavier this time around than her other marathon a couple years ago.  I can't be grateful enough for this.  Thank God for hills and blisters and a few extra pounds on a woman.  Thank God for the cellulite she and I and our other friends will get to enjoy for years to come.  Thank God for trains that run late and delay family members from getting to the finish line.  Thank God for being in the right place at the right time, even when it doesn't feel like it.  And thank God for mama.  I can't stand the thought of the people who have been hurt by this, killed by this, lost their limbs by this.  I wasn't at the finish line when this happened.  But I would have been, I could have been, maybe I should have been.  It's another near miss in my life and an example of when I just got lucky.  Why me?  I just don't know.  My heart is broken for Boston and for everyone involved.  The families who lost loved ones, the bystanders who lost limbs, the runners who couldn't finish, the worry of friends and family during those terrifying minutes when cell service was down.  There's no silver lining here.  Triumph converted to tragedy in 12 short seconds.  My feelings turned from terror to relief to anger in just a few hours on Monday.  I am still hovering around anger, like I'm sure most people are.  I'm not even sure "bringing them to justice" will do justice to my feelings right now.  I'll need to pray on this.  I'll need to let my feelings settle and try to figure out how I can somehow make a small difference for someone in all of this.  All I can say is that I am exceptionally, eternally, whole-heartedly, 110% grateful to be here, to be alive, to get the chance to walk these overweight, imperfect, cottage-cheese thighs down the aisle this summer as a bridesmaid at Laura's wedding.  And how incredibly thankful I am to know that she will be right behind me.    


  1. brought tears to my eyes.. thsnk you for those beautiful words. you're an amazing writer and an even better friend. I love you and I am so so grateful that we all made it home safely.

  2. JoAnna your dad sent this to me and I am so grateful that you and your friends are okay. We live in such challenging times.

  3. Thank you so much, Patty! It was scary but thankfully for us, everyone was ok.

  4. Beautiful lady, beautiful words. Thanks God for JoAnna and friends safe return.

    Uncle Andy