I finally did it. I ran a marathon. Still not exactly sure what provoked me to do such a thing. Possibly, the fact that I recently turned 26 and am just beginning to come to grips with the fact that the prime years of my life were at least 4 years ago. Back when Jack and Kate were still trapped on a island, Lauren Conrad was still friends with Heidi Montag and Marissa Cooper had just OD’d in TJ. Ahhh, the golden years. Thus with only a few more good years left before the arthritis kicks in, time is of the essence. And besides, bucket lists don’t check themselves off! I had it narrowed down to the race or skydiving so I went for the slightly less terrifying option. I started training back in the summer but once I moved to Texas where it was a cool 100 degrees by 11pm, the whole workout plan sort of fell apart. Especially, after the 3rd minor heat stroke. Once October came around I started to hit it hard again and was really starting to put some miles on my new pair of Asics. Then came daylight savings and although I hate running in the dark I tried to make the best of it. For obvious safety reason I started running with an elastic headlamp around my waist as a way to light the way as I frantically prayed to God to send down a few ripped guardian angels to keep me and my iPod shuffle safe. Unfortunately the baby muffin top I‘ve acquired from my mixture of a year living with mom’s home cooking/ being drawn to In n Out like a moth to the flame, had a knack for pressing the on/off switch as I made my way down the road. Giving off a sort of strobe light effect it’s highly likely I sent several night drivers into fits of epilepsy. My bad. Safety first people!
The 3 weeks leading up to the actual marathon weren’t pretty. I had come down with a slight chest cold right before my birthday and it ended up staying with me for 3 weeks, which really put a damper on my training regime. I was starting to wonder if I should call it quits because I had never run more than 13 miles at any given time. Seeing as I’d already spent half my birthday money on this non-refundable gift I decided to suck it up and give it my best shot. After carb loading like a mad man the night before, the morning of the race I awoke at the ungodly hour of 5:30 am to the sound of torrential downfall. I was not pleased. I hadn’t really done my research on weather conditions for the day of the race so I wasn’t really equipped with the most appropriate attire. Luckily I had red emergency rain poncho that I’m guestimating I purchased back in 2002 and I’d been saving for a time of crisis. The time had come to break that seal and wave my poncho in all it’s glory, even if it did mean covering up my new slim fitting Dri Nike running shirt I’d purchased specifically for the occasion. I had totally dressed to impress because even if I didn’t make it to the finish line, I still wanted to look as Sporty Spice as possible.
I had 3 big fears going into racing day:
Number 1 –
The possibility that I would shit my self myself mid race
The big unknown of where chafage might and most likely would occur over the course of four hours.
What would happen if my Ipod battery died and I no longer had the thumping beats of a Britney remix to keep me motivated??
As usual, I hadn’t done a very in depth research on marathon running and it wasn’t until talking with my friend Tamara the night before did I learn that it’s a common problem for people to poop themselves while running over long distances. Thanks to a deadly combination of a generous helping of granola the morning of and pre race jitters, upon arriving at the starting line I had one of those “gotta go gotta go gotta go right now sort of moments.” Apparently I was not alone in the feeling and after standing in line for the honey buckets for almost 15 minutes I was finally able to take care of business before my ass exploded all over the streets of Dallas. I was sort of relieved in a way because I figured I probably wouldn’t need to go again for awhile, although due to my impromptu pit stop I was late for the start of the race and I totally missed the singing of the star spangled banner. When ya gotta go, ya gotta go.
Aside from the fact that it was cold, rainy and I looked like the red M&M with my bright red poncho and icy white hands….Oh and did I mention I had to keep taking off my glasess every mile or so to wipe away the rain with a torn up Hanes shirt?? Yeah, that made me feel REAL cool. All that aside, the first 20 miles of the race were great. I was excited to be there. I was tossin’ back Gatorade and electrolytes gummies like they were Jell-O shots. There were lots of enthusiastic people with hilarious signs like ““It’s long and hard, so do it fast” ,“Beer misses you too”, “1 Hours till Margaritas”, “Just keep swimming”. I was digging my playlist and I had gotten a dry pair of socks at mile 9 from Bart, Tamara and KT, which put a little spring in my step while the rest of me was soaked to the bone.
Then came mile 20. Like a freight train. Turns out the episode of The Office where Andy’s nipples start to bleed during the company fun run were based on true events. I mean I had totally put Vaseline on the ol’ nips but I think a mixture of rain and sweat had swept it away miles back. In other words my chest was beginning to resemble a crime scene. I sure didn’t remember this part of “Chariots of Fire”??!! Thank goodness I’d gone with the black windbreaker instead of the white one cuz that would have been embarrassing. I was desperately looking around for anything to ease the pain and was keeping my peripherals peeled for someone with a tube of lip gloss, Chapstick, a maxi pad….ANYTHING to form a barrier between me and my wet shirt. I eventually gave up on that dream and went with the no pain no gain mentality. As if I weren’t in enough agony, my legs started cramping up like crazy around this same time and I was pretty much over the whole marathon thing by mile 23. I tried my best to imagine myself gliding along on a Segway but it wasn't really helping. Deep down I was praying some random civilian would come out of nowhere and go all Nancy Kerrigan on my legs with a crowbar. At that point they would have been doing me a favor. I know that was so the 1990’s but at least that way I would’ve had a legit reason for not finishing the marathon and still left with some dignity.
26.2 miles and a copious amount of pop songs later, and by the grace of God, I did make it. It’s all a bit of a blur after crossing that finish line because I’m pretty sure hypothermia was kicking in big time at that point and I hardly had the strength to peel a banana for nourishment. After slowly and painfully stumbling around the fairgrounds parking lot in search of my car whose location I had completely forgotten, I was finally able to crank up the heat and thaw out before losing any of my limbs to gangrene. What. A. Relief. The craziest part of the whole thing is I kind of want to do it again….but next time I’ll be sure to have these….