I haven’t had much time to write lately, because I am training for a half-marathon. I’m not going to tell you all about how life-changing it is, and how blah blah blah miraculous blah blah blah. Truth is, it’s miserable, and I’m never doing it again. Never. My poor old bad-backed body is not mechanically capable of this on a recurring basis. It is sucking all the joy out of running, and I hate it. Will I put a 13.1 sticker on my car? Abso-damn-lutely. And then, I will go back to running 5K and 10K distances, being happy, and not being in pain most of the time. I am looking forward to this “after party” of sloth in a way that I am not looking forward to a medal or a shirt or bragging rights. I might just be still going because the medal is a combo medal and bottle opener.
I’m running this half with an old friend and someone I don’t really know, on a course of my own devising. The main features of the course are as follows:
- A death-defying mile and a half down “EOL Corridor,” a busy rural highway with no shoulders.
- Miles and miles of gravelly paradise, as you avoid potholes and the occasional roadkill.
- A finish across the road from the one stoplight that we will probably have to wait 90 seconds at, because it crosses the aforementioned busy rural highway.
It’s a dream course. The only thing that would make it better would be 3000 feet of elevation, but I decided I still wanted to have my friend after it was done. Aid stations will be staffed by my 2 and 5-year-old urchins. Kool-aid and marshmallows? Awesome. Do I need to high-five Doc McStuffins again? Let me just turn around and run back to do that. Honestly, the race itself promises to be a blast. It’s the training that makes me cranky and unpopular.
I have to admit, though, I’m a little nervous about running with someone I don’t know very well. Because of my mechanical limitations, I’ll be setting the pace, and I’m not sure he’s used to rogging speeds. And…well. Distance running is not exactly the most elegant way to interact with someone. So, acquaintance and friend of my friend, here’s fair warning about what to expect during our otherwise completely proper 13.1 miles.
- I will blow my nose on my shirt. I have no place to carry dry tissues, and given the choice between pulling sweaty tissues out of my bra and just doing the farmer blow, I will probably choose my shirt. After a mile or so, you won’t be able to distinguish it from the sweat. It’s fine.
- I will breathe a bit like a charging rhinoceros, with my mouth hanging open and the approximate air exchange rate of an Intel cleanroom. I have read that runners should breathe through both nose and mouth. This is a good thing, because my ability to run while yoga breathing is comparable to my ability to do yoga. Corpse pose, anyone?
- My husband has described my eau de runner as “ripe.” When he did this, it made me giggle and try to give him a big, long hug. I honestly consider it a badge of honor that I can, at 40 and with my particular mechanical limits, work hard enough to get “ripe.” Yeah for me! There is nothing I can or will do about this. I have offered showers at my house afterwards, and I promise I will take one.
- Because this is 13.1 miles, I’m going to need to fuel my Shetland physique. This means I’m going to stuff some sort of chewable glucose mess in my mouth and attempt to masticate it while I am doing my “yoga breathing.” This is going to be a lot like watching a camel chew a giant wad of Hubba-Bubba. This would be a good time to look at a non-existent text on your phone.
- I will be listening to my old lady music in one of my ears. I might even start to sing something, or break into some dance moves. Please just copy the choreography as best you can. If you need to eight-count under your breath, that’s fine. We’re all friends on the racecourse, no judgment.
I suppose those are the main things. I don’t expect to cry or fall over or anything really dramatic. I’d like to finish under three hours, but I’m not going to fire anyone if we don’t. I have never had a bathroom related issue, so I don’t think we will have to deal with that, and there’s a convenient construction site around mile 10 anyway. My mom is going to be at the finish line with chocolate milk and a fruit tray, probably on a doily. It should be a hell of a day, let’s go get it. Who knows? Maybe after all is said and done, I’ll change “NEVER EVER AGAIN” to “I currently have no plans to repeat this experience.”
 Male runners who are blessed with large frames are called “Clydesdales,” which I honestly think is kind of cool. If you have ever seen a Clydesdale up close (I have), they are enormous, strong horses. They are beautiful animals and blessed with an incredible work ethic. Female runners of size are called “Athenas.” Athena, as I’m sure you remember, is the Greek goddess of arts and crafts. (Yeah, I know, also of intellect and heroes, but still.) Since I have short legs and a sturdy…erhmmm…”constitution,” I decided I’d rather be a Shetland.