August 29, 2006

From The Streets Of Penticton

Imagine you were a street in Penticton today. After a full day of tires thrasing across your body, the incessant pounding of running shoes hammering into your very being, the unrelenting jumps for joy of spectators battering your backbone as they bellow callously in your ears. The brutality you experienced was undoubtedly excruciating. If you were a street in Penticton today, you'd probably wake up this morning with one helluva hangover - and a fairly sore backbone.

But there is a pain that is bad and a type of pain that is good. And I would think, if you were a Penticton street today, the pain you'd be experiencing would probably be of the good variety. Similar to that fireman who, seconds after saving the life of a baby in distress, falls through the woodwork and breaks a leg, somehow the pain is worth it all.

In fact, I'd imagine if you were a Penticton street yesterday, that after awhile you'd even have stopped feeling the pounding. That as the energy of the racers surged into your skin, you would have become electrified. And maybe you'd even have gotten to a point where the pain gave you strength, and all of the sudden you found yourself striving for greater elasticity, for anything you could do to help propel those racers forward.

If I were a guessing man and you were a street in Penticton, I'd imagine that everytime a racer crossed that finish line, you felt a sense of pride. As if you helped drive that racer forward. As if you yourself lay face-to-face with death so that this racer could get through to the end. In fact, I'd probably guess that with each finishers cheer, your pride grew exponentially. And as the last of the racers were passing across your being, you reached deep down inside and gave everything you had to propel them forward. Even as Sherri Lee, the last of the sub-17s, crossed over your body, you still didn't give up. The clock had stopped, but the racers didn't. And so neither did you.

And maybe after all the aid stations were moved away and the spilled Gatorade evaporated into air, after the road barriers were dragged off of your sidelines - maybe you laid there trampled and trodden, unable to rest from the enduring memories streaming through your mind of your days incredible experience.

Somewhere in the middle of the night, your memories faded into sweet dreams until you woke up this morning to a new day. Beaten. Battered. Bruised.
But proud.
Very very proud.

To all Ironman Canada finishers,
From the streets of Penticton.