Monday, October 17, 2005

Chocolate 'N' Fruity's Discount Champions

That sound you hear is the gentle soaring strings of the Chariots of Fire theme. Although you wouldn't know it if you were waiting for the news to appear on this site, I did finish the marathon; I did finish in less than six hours; I did have my legs lock up and refuse to move after a couple of hours; but most importantly, I did come out of this whole experience feeling a little bit ... no, a whole lot like a fucking person who can actually finish something she starts. Oh, my children, let me tell you: I had despaired of ever knowing that feeling. I haven't completed anything of note since I decided to take a chance on leaving my mother's womb. But I have now one bold check mark next to an item on my "To Do" list of life, and I fully anticipate getting another in the coming months. As you may or may not know, ducks, I quit smoking in July, and while it's a bit early yet to go ahead and claim the victory on that one (I can relapse like a bitch when it comes to something I want bad enough), I am going to go ahead and tuck my Ex-Smoker's Membership Card into the back pocket of my fat pants and hit the streets. It has been murderously difficult; but the thought of smoking, while tempting in the extreme, carries with it the knowledge that if I start again, eventually, I'll have to quit again. And I don't want to do this shit another time. Let this be it. Let me be the kind of person who can be around smokers with no fear of wrestling them to the ground and sucking the sweet, sweet nicotine off their lips and teeth. Let me be the sort of woman who doesn't stand uncomfortably close to strangers just so I can catch a little downwind secondhand fix. Let me be the sort of badass who can, maybe one day in the far future, have the occasional cigarette at a party, but never really feel like taking up the habit again, much like my good friend, Dorthe. Dorthe defended --SUCCESSFULLY- her dissertation in August, and she remains the spryest little troll doll this side of Lesbiana. Just so you know. As an aside and all that.

ANYWAY. I ran the marathon. Remember, that's how this post began? Well, after 1 year and 1 week of training, I arrived at the starting line full of promise, pee, and the expectations of my supportive family and friends. I got rid of the second in short order. It was not to be the last time I hit a port-o-poopy along the course route, however: I estimate that I hit the head at least 6, but possibly more like 10 times before I even hit mile 20. That's right, bitches! Fear my bladder and move! You don't want none of this! Not on your shoes, anyway!

I had an [unsolicited] running buddy for about .1 of a mile near the start of the race. I had come out of a water stop (Hal Higdon recommends walking through all water stops) to find a woman, about my age, possibly a little older, keeping pace with me. Keeping close pace with me. Like, sticking closer than a brother kind of pace with me. She smiled in my direction. "Ha!" she laughed. "I'm trying to keep up with you!"

Ladies and gentlemen, the only way you could not keep up with me is if you were in a race in another city. I was at the far back of the runners, and not even at the beginning of the walkers. I mean, granted, there are race walkers who can finish a marathon in 3 and a half hours (let me do the math for you: that's consistently doing less than an 8.5 min/mile). I can't run that fast doing a single mile, let alone maintain that pace over 26. But hey -- more power to those big-headed alien dorks.
Anyway, I looked over at my new race buddy with incredulity when she said that she was trying to keep up with me, and I have to admit, I sneered a bit when I said "It ain't gonna be hard." I wasn't trying to be evil, but I was truly amazed that someone could consider my 12 min/mile something to strive for. I mean, I kicked it up a notch later in the day, racking up some 9 and 10 min/miles, but I deliberately turned it way down to conserve my strength. I had no idea what it would feel like later on in the day, and while everyone talks good game about this "race day adrenaline" you're supposed to feel seeping from your pores like so much of that Gatorade-colored sweat in the Nike commercials, I didn't want to count on something that I had never experienced before. But guess what? It's true. The excitement of actually just showing up to run the marathon made me feel invincible. It's like my brain temporarily shut down the bitch-cakin' naysaying department and allowed me to feel like I might actually be able to pull this off. Which I did, by the way. Did I mention that?

More info (and race day photos!) later. No, for real!

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