Half a Banana Helped Me Up ‘Heartbreak Hill’

I may have high-fived a hundred hands for the first 20 km of the Boston Marathon, which was probably not the smartest thing to do. But I couldn’t help it. Each hand was attached to a face that was happy to be in the sunshine and watching people push a limit of endurance that was insane. I passed crazy guys holding beer, cigarettes and pizza with a sign that read: “You know you want them” – I was tempted. “Boston Strong” and cheers of encouragement were coming at me and all the excitement made me forget what I needed to do.

But the up and down of never-ending hills was taking its toll. My feet and toes (once again I won’t be wearing sandals for months) were vibrating, and my body felt empty, void of fuel. I was bonking. I never knew what ‘bonking’ was until I felt that drained desperate moment of weakness.

I hadn’t brought enough fuel. My Power Gel chews were all gone and now I had to wait.  I hoped the Power Gel station was coming up soon. Early on along the route, families were handing out water, twizzlers, and gummie bears – I was feeling invincible so I didn’t bother taking anything. But now past the 30 km mark, my head was fogging and my will was waning. We were running through the town of Newton and I knew the ‘hill’ was coming up.

Then I saw him.

He was a man with a friendly face offering a partially peeled, half banana. I looked him in the eyes and he seemed to be telling me: “I know what you’re going through – take the banana, you’ll need it.” I think I said thanks, as I grabbed the banana like a ravenous monkey. The first bite made me see the universe in a new light. Its creamy richness was moist and easy to swallow. I was ready to keep going. I dropped a piece of peel on the road and worried that someone would “step on it and go for a ride.”

It was the most delicious banana I have ever eaten. I will always remember that man in Newton who handed the banana to me.

I took that hill with my head up and shoulders back (with small steps). I swore most of the way up. It was mean and messy, but I knew I had enough to carry me across the finish line.

And Iboston_badge did.


About Organized Bohemian

Dana M. Petric is a writer/landscape gardener/blogger/performer/office temp/web designer. Her wrestle between creative and money-making ventures permeates her writing. Self-publishing her first book, Growing Iris, Dana continues on her path toward writing full-time. Beginning her post-secondary education at UBC (Liberal Arts dropout), she prevailed at George Brown Theatre School (Theatre Arts Diploma) and matured at BCIT (Technical Writing Diploma). She lives in Vancouver, BC with her partner Eric and daughter Cleo.
This entry was posted in Challenges, organized bohemian, running, travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Half a Banana Helped Me Up ‘Heartbreak Hill’

  1. sarahdudek80 says:

    That is an awesome story. Thanks so much for sharing. I qualified last year but wasn’t able to run and would like to qualify again. It is amazing to hear some stories like yours of just how hard this course is. Congrats on finishing!

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