Monday, February 25, 2008

The One About the Half-Marathon

I’m very proud of myself. And still not sure if I’m going to do that again. Because THAT WAS FUCKING HARD. Friday, I imagined sending out a bulletin that said, “I did it! Next year I’m doing the whole 26.2!” But, well, we’ll see.

Here’s a mile by mile breakdown of the experience:

Mile 0 (waiting to start)—I went poo in a port-a-potty. This was my biggest accomplishment of the day. I have a policy that number two doesn’t happen outside the confines of what may be defined as “my space” (house, hotel room etc). But with the prospect of going 13 miles on foot, I had to relax my rules. Luckily, it was still dark so I didn’t have to see anything…however there was a disturbing absence of any “plopping”noise.

30 minutes later the race still hadn’t started and I had to pee. The lines were considerably longer this time. Four announcements for runners to line up to start came over the loud speakers. I stuck it out, hoping there would be drop off and I’d get a chance to go while the mayor spoke and the national anthem got sung. But the gun went off and everyone waiting in line started our journey from the port- a-potties, several people ripped themselves right off the seat and into the race (I hope they got to adequately wipe and Purell first).

Mile 1—running past the 34th street wall, a long retaining wall where people graffiti, (Happy 21st birthday, Will you marry me Sara…etc). Someone had painted, It’s not rape---it’s surprise sex. The emergency workers on bikes said, “Dude, that’s so wrong,” but they were laughing.

Mile 2— I check to see which movies are playing at the theater I’m passing. I’ll definitely want to be doing a lot of sitting and candy eating later on.

Mile 3—I have my first experience with drinking (water) while running. It’s quite difficult.

Mile 4—I’m running past the Bagel Shop where I often have encounters with the BSOL (Bagel Shop Old Ladies). It occurs to me I still have NINE MILES to run. I try to put it out of my mind.

Mile 5— 16th Ave has hills I didn’t know existed in Gainesville. And hey, there’s a really big Christian Science Center I didn’t know was there. And there are really a lot of garage sales today. Wait, does the fifth mile marker mean I just finished mile five or am starting mile five?

Mile 6— I run past the office where I work, see my boss’s car there and consider popping in to use the bathroom.

Mile 7— My legs start to feel like lead.

Mile 8—Here is a short list of the people who pass me:
a) A heavy set middle aged woman with really red pants.
b) A 95-year old man who appears to be limping and says “Just 18 more miles to go!”
c) An old lady talking on her cell phone.


Mile 10— PLEASE GOD LET IT BE OVER. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. My feet hurt. My lungs hurt. My neck hurts. I feel light years away from the end of the course. (Light years are far right? Because I’m trying to say I felt really, really far away.)

Mile 11— I WANT TO DIE. I am running past the hospital where I had two thyroid surgeries and thinking I’d rather be in there, lying in a bed with morphine dripping into my veins.

Mile 12—For the second mile in row I think, ok, I’m going to walk for a bit and then really crank out these last few miles (I make it about 100 yards each time before stopping to walk and repeating the process).

Mile 13—OH MY GOD, thank you Jesus, there’s the finish line. I can’t see it, but I know it’s there, right? Right? If it’s not, I think I’m going to have a panic attack. There’s a place where the full marathoners turn left to run 13 more miles. I feel so, so sorry for them.

FINISH: 2h55min (my goal was to finish under three hours) I start to cry, a mixture of pride, physical release, and pure relief that I AM DONE. I sit on the grass while Danny gets me water, and Lori and Candi congratulate me. I’m in a bit of a daze, I don’t quite know how I’ve gotten here, like when I’m drunk and someone drove me home but I don’t really remember the process, or prefer not to think about it because I felt like puking the entire time.

But you know, why not? Maybe I will keep training to do the whole 26.2. People repeat things that feel shitty all the time, childbirth, drinking binges, tattoos. Because those things all have something good about them as well. I guess the good part of running 26.2 miles is, it would be pretty damn impressive (and you could eat mad amounts of carbs). So yeah, we’ll see.


JennFox said...

It’s not rape---it’s surprise sex.

Are you fucking kidding me?!?!?!

James Ford said...

what the hell? i wouldn't participate in a marathon if i was chasing a horny angelina jolie and being chased by chuck lidell after i kicked his mom in the babymaker.

John Halbrook said...

Congrats, Stephanie. I'm impressed as hell. It is absolutely insane, of course, but if a vicious dog ever attacks you know now that you can outrun the thing. Ditto monkeys.