A Half Marathon Smile

In an Avenue of Giants

By Ron Lane


I can do it, I can be strong.

I can run hard, I can run long.

I can soar to the front of the race.

I can be the leader, I can set the pace.

I can win and have all the glory.

My victory can be the papersí top news story.


The race starts the stampede is on

Soon I will leave the pack, I will be gone.

With light strides I weave through the masses;

Smiling inside with each of my passes.


Giant red tree trunks and flashes of green;

Meandering road, cracked with ruts.

Slapping shoes, dancing hair and bouncing butts;

Dodging others and chaos, thatís the scene.


And as I pass a mile

I still carry my winning smile.

I know I will be smiling all the way;

This course is easy, itís childís play.

Now I can run free thereís no need to hold back.

Come on legs get going; now itís time to attack.


Iím coming up now on mile four;

Feeling a wee bit winded and my knee is a little sore.

I think I can hold my pace though until the turn around,

Then after that I know, the course is mostly heading down.


I never felt the earth quake,

From a shift of those tectonic plates;

But man, my whole body aches;

And both directions canít be an overall assent.

If this keeps up, by mile nine I will totally be spent.


Well I reached mile nine and am on my way to ten.

Iím starting to think now, that I might not make it Ďtill the end.

My knee is in pain and my legs are dragging,

The ERG in my gut is sloshing and I feel like gagging.


I pass mile eleven and have to alter my gate.

Both calf muscles are taut; my quads donít feel so great;

And Iím thinking that with my knee, they may have to amputate.

You know this might be more fun;

With fifteen hundred milligrams of acetaminophen.


Now my butt it stopped bouncing five miles back,

And now itís dragging like an old gunnysack.

Iíve been passed so many times now, Iíve completely lost track.

I should have hazard lights flashing on my tired old back.


I must have been hobbling along in the zone,

Because I look up to see, that in one more mile Iíll be home.

Just then trots past, an old man with his leg in a cast.

I match the old mansí pace, I find itís not easy;

And thatís when I form my strategy.

During the last one hundred meters I will sprint past.

These legs may be hurting, but they can be fast.


Alas, I see it; up ahead the end looms;

And Iím about to sprint past old cast man with a zoom.

When suddenly to the course on the right he strays;

Another thirteen miles still left in his day.

Then to my left, in a blur a child blazes.

I pump my fast legs, give it my kick,

But she drops me like and old sack of bricks.


I stumble onward somewhat deflated,

Cross the finish line standing, yet feeling elated.

My grimace then turns to a grin,

And Iím thinkiní,

If I do this again, I just might win.



This poem is inspired by running in the Avenue of The Giants half marathon in May of 2006.I ran with Chrissy and our longest run prior to this was eleven miles.We had run seven miles on a few occasions, but most of our running had been in the three to five mile range and for the first five miles of this race I was feeling pretty good. I was hurting by the time I hit the turn around point (6.5 miles out), where the course doubles back on itself.It really did seem that both directions of the course had more uphill than down, but of course that is impossible.I was never passed by a man in a cast, but there was an older man that past me in the last mile (Iím no spring chicken myself) while I was picking up the windbreaker I had cast aside early in the race.I kept pace with him and probably could have passed him, but for some reason I felt he deserved to finish ahead of me, so I held back (plus it wouldnít have been worth the additional pain).Then just before the finish he really did veer onto the course for running the full marathon.My hats off to him, because I think he was already in a fair amount of discomfort, but I bet he finished.I bet he endured.One more thing, I really did dream of winning.


On a final note, usually I consciously try to put other meanings into a poem.In this case I was just writing about the race and trying to have a little fun with it.Of course any story about a race that goes from start to finish is also a story about living onesí life.Also ERG is a sports drink they were offering along the race course.