Thursday, November 25, 2010

In Case You Were Wondering...

...yes, I ran the marathon. And no, I didn't win. But I didn't die either, which, given the extreme heat on race day and my lack of training, I consider a win. Here's a little glimpse into what the experience was like.

“Only 24.7 more to go—it’s all down-hill from here!”
Miles 1-5: Feeling great, running great, looking great (what? my fuel belt was hot). Mandy (my running partner) needs a potty break—decides McDonald’s is a better choice than the port-a-potties. Take a leisurely stroll through the first aid station while she goes. Consume some Chomps and Gatorade. Continue running. Laughing and talking—oh, this is so easy. Am no longer worried about IT band or the fact that my training essentially ended at 14 miles. I am obviously a natural—maybe I'm part Kenyan?

“You are all crazy”
Miles 6-10: Still feeling good. Not too hot yet. Am vaguely aware of the tightening of my right IT band. Wait. It’s my left one that’s been flaring up for the last four weeks. Why is my right one so tight? Commence stretching. Mimic Mandy’s street light stretch (grab pole with both hands, plant feet on ground, lean back and lower booty towards ground). Try to ignore the guy who tells me not to pull the street light out of the ground. Need to potty. Mandy suggests going behind a fence. Explain that my southern upbringing makes it physically impossible for me to urinate in public. Really. Physically impossible. It’s not like I haven’t tried before. Sheesh. Will wait a little longer. More Gatorade. More water. More Chomps.

“Hey John, Braden and Dylan said it’s OK if you crap your pants”
Miles 11-13: Must pee. Veer off to a port-a-potty and lock myself inside. Make mistake of looking into potty. Instantly curse my southern upbringing and vow to try harder to urinate in public next time. More water, Gatorade and Chomps. Realize that the professionals are already done with their race and I haven’t hit the halfway point yet. Am not Kenyan, after all. Am hot. Run through some water hoses. Dump Gatorade in my shoe. Slip on the wet pavement. Am getting even hotter.

“Suck it Up”
Miles 14-20: Tell Mandy to go on without me. Turn on my ipod. Maybe Justin Beiber will motivate me to run. No. Maybe Led Zepplin. Nope. Maybe Pearl Jam. Uh-uh. Ice Ice Baby? Not even close. This is a very dark moment. Turn ipod off. Run through more hoses. Soak hat with water. WHAT IS UP WITH THIS WEATHER?! Double up on the Chomps. More is always better. Convince myself that after mile 17 I only have 6 more miles to go. Wonder if my math and statistics degrees should be revoked.

“Embrace the Suck”
Miles 21-25: Glance around and notice that everyone is walking. Begin to regret writing my name on my bib. Do not want to be encouraged. I am NOT almost there. Still have a long freaking way to go. Start to hate Chomps, Gatorade, water, water hoses, and everyone who didn’t try and stop me from running a marathon. Have an overwhelming desire to sit down and quit. Walk by an event photographer and glare at him as his camera captures me walking.

“You’re a rock star! Please don’t die!”
The last mile: Oooh, look! A jumbo-tron! That must be the finish line! Eyes fill with tears. I did it! Wait. That’s not the finish. What kind of sick joke is that? That’s just mean. Final little hill to the finish. IT flares and knee does not want to bend. AM NOT WALKING INTO FINISH LINE. Begin Lamaze breathing and am glad that those child birth classes finally got put to good use. Cross finish line. Want to lay down and die. Spot Jason just in time and am so happy. Eat some carbs and pose for a finisher's picture. Am slightly delirious but so glad I did it. Even if I did come in 28,354th place.