Races have a soul,
Philly has a soul,
Too often that Philly way
Is a soul steeped in harshness,
Bitterness,
What ifs…

This past Sunday clouds took a break
From draining themselves
On the hopefuls who were looking for personal greatness
Along the streets of Philadelphia
Where dreams are often dashed
In whatever macabre deviance cast out by the city.

With the rain stopped, the cold kept a hold on the scantily clad throng,
Finally, the gun sounded and off they went
Chugging through the neighborhoods,
Looping through the parks, and living in the Philly vibe
That if nothing else, is tough.

A little bitch of a hill in Fairmount,
The uneven pavement of Old City,
Whiskey charity, and the boredom of West River Drive
Each doing nothing to inspire doom, gloom, or failure,
Until they joined forces with Mother Nature.

Or maybe it was Old Man Winter who brought the pain,
With a nasty wind off the Schuylkill blowing heavy rain sideways that
Made a wild trip through Manayunk a serious battle to prevent leg cramps.
The weather and electrolyte depletion could not defy this soul
For lessons from Goggins ran deep and kept purpose in the forefront.

Neither snow, sleet, nor hail could slow the pace,
Not even a full bladder could stop a determined stride
Each hobble bringing the finish line closer until it got real when.
The personal clouds opened up
Letting loose a torrent camouflaged by nature’s storm.

Toughness,
That intangible trait, something the Greek used to factor in,
Before he became a racist buffoon,
Is the one thing that culminates from all those hours of training,
And in the City of Brotherly Love, thousands showed their mettle.

Forget the metal platitudes, the dry fit t-shirts,
Forget the celebrities at the start,
Marathons are about a soul, an ethos
That we can do something crazy, something seemingly impossible,
Something fitting for a city like Philadelphia.

For in all the ugliness of the urban area,
All the pain and suffering that exists at one end of the city’s continuum
Not all hurt must be dire,
Hips might quit, fingers might get cold, hypothermia might be right around the corner,
But soul can soothe all ills.

A soul is an identity,
The energy that lets others know this is who we are
Take it or leave it.
And I’m taking it, the warts of Philly, the gifts of Philly,
The soul of Philly.

Twenty-six miles and change,
Not much on the scale of accomplishments,
Five hours
Not much on the scale of accomplishments,
But I’m damn proud of the experience.

The cold, the cramps, the confluence of cold rain and hot whatever that was,
We were out there testing ourselves,
Treating ourselves to the power of uncertainty,
Gaining new scars, better stories, and callouses against doubt and regret,
Souls, that’s what we got, yo.

Liability,
The stuff we want to avoid,
Like botox lipped sidewalks
Than interfere with a runner’s flow.
Who’s responsible for this shit,
Keeping things level,
Allowing our journeys to be safe?

People have the wherewithal to announce
Blue herons pick at eyes
So wear goggles when feeding them,
But who can say
When a fall
Might take us down.

Nobody,
Nobody claims any responsibility,
Lock and key lipped posers
Who only know that they are done
And not responsible for this shit,
Keeping things calm
Allowing journeys to be enjoyed.

It’s a wonder we don’t all fall,
The way things go,
All ragged, haggard, and torn
With scraped hands,
Bruised egos,
And scars over every last bit of vulnerability.
Maybe there’s a long ass form to fill out,
Something to document each fall,
When running,
From grace,
After a storm.

Eh, I’ll just keep picking my feet up
And putting them down.
Bumps happen.

pexels-photo-247477

“I challenge myself to stop comparing what I learn to the past.” Scott Belsky

An accomplishment,
Trees growing to touch the sky
Measure nature’s chi.
Running matters so little
Compared to life’s long journey.

 

Photo Credit: Pexels.com