Monday, December 05, 2005

Half Again as Much

Right around April of last year I ran my first major distance race: a half marathon.

For real runners out there, I've just boasted about kissing my sister. Of course when you consider a checkered past where running was something I did my mouth off with while ordering the next round of martinis and, be a love and get me a pack of camels would you please, the fact that I can do anything for 13, much less 13.2 miles straight is kinda darn impressive.

At least the paramedics thought so.

It was about forty degrees when the damn thing started and I one hundredth in line for the port a potty at seven a.m. in the rain.

The reason we enjoy this is...

Half marathoners were awarded a high tech, micro fiber, light weight, stylish running shirt. Those running a five kilometer race that started fifteen minutes before the half were given a warm cotton long sleeved shirt that read "I'm one of the normal ones."

The micro fiber halfers simply had blood type and "please call 911" stencilled on theirs. Now the shirts were a technological miracle. They were light enough to feel like you were wearing nothing and protected against the cold like another layer of raw, cold, exposed skin. The fabric was designed to wick moisture away from the skin and evaporate it into the atmosphere. Of course, it was raining and the principle was working perfectly, just in reverse.

Try as I might, I couldn't get in the sights of the starter's pistol and I had to start running the cursed thing.

It actually wasn't that bad. Miles one through five were almost pleasant if you've just been released from a Soviet Gulag. At least you were moving. Mile six surprised me in that there was a timing mat to record how far behind the quadrapalegic squad you actually were. At the halfway point people were cheering themselves for not having gotten involved and blowing horns and ringing bells. Scraping together the last vestiges of any good humor I had, I feigned blindness and delirium and did so quite well because, well, it wasn't all acting was it?

During miles seven through eleven I started to notice some of the pacers I was passing. Pacers are disciplined runners who can finish a race in a predetermined time because they are eminently in tune with their bodies. Not as in tune as I am when I can predict I'll get there just about midweek next week if I can drive, but they're an impressive lot.

Each pacer held a flag with their name and pace time on it. There was James 3.30, Paul 3.00, Mark 2.30, Matthew 2.00 and John 3.16 who mistakenly ran when he should have been at a football game somewhere.

There was food too. Sports nutrition granola and fruit bars and liquid carbs flavored like honey and mint. Oh yeah, that'll get me going. Look boys and girls, you can make it low carb, high protein, low calorie all you want, just make it taste like a Big Mac, will you please? I'm suffering enough out here.

At mile twelve I mistook my friend Gary for a bag of Cheetos. At twelve and a half I knew I was halucinating when my friend Jim started to resemble a pastrami on rye but I didn't care. Anyway, the mustard stain finally came out.

At mile 13, the apocalypse as I swore I heard polka music. My pal Dave warns me that this is the final break with your sanity before you decide to run for the school board.

But I finished at 13.2 and the polka music eventually died down and we all pretended we had a good time which is to say we all celebrated having an excuse to crawl back into bed.

At the finish line we were all given silver mylar blankets and a complimentary subscription to satellite radio as long as we kept the blankets wrapped around outselves. We were also given water and our frequent ambulance miles were upgraded.

I may actually get involved again this year but only really if I can take my car. After all, that's where the drinkholder and the ashtray is.

Bunny on.


Blogger dolly said...


i keeled over and died after my 5K yesterday.

you are my hero

11:38 PM  

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