My previous Half Marathon post was shrouded in optimism because I didn’t want to be dissuaded from running again. Now that I have moved on from my demons of that race I feel I can come clean.
I have interesting/weird/disturbing thoughts when I run. One of the best quotes ever that sums it up is:
”My mind was racing with all kinds of imagery akin to the start of HBO’s True Blood.” via Seeking Boston Marathon
I am a person who becomes a crazy person when I run. A lot of people think the fact that I run long distance (well long for me) makes me crazy enough, but I genuinely enjoy it. When I say that I become a crazy person, I mean that I literally become insane.
Let me explain.
First it has to be a distance of 8 miles or more. That seems to be the kiss of death to my sanity. That seems to be when all grip on reality and touch with normalcy is completely gone. I don’t notice things, like where I am, what time it is, or even what I am doing, at this point. My mind has drifted off into some drug (not the legal kind, kids) induced euphoria, where I currently can’t feel pain, but deep in my mind I know things like blood blisters are forming and toe nails are falling off.
I run without a point at this juncture.
I realized this during my half marathon this past March.
Mile 1-5 was just like a training run. I went the first 2.5 without stopping and just felt good. the next 2.5 were boring, lackluster and hot.
Miles 5-8 was where my presence in this half marathon began to dwindle. I was wide eyed and smiling erratically. I couldn’t stop staring at people. I tired to talk to others but I forgot to take out my ear buds so I couldn’t hear their responses. There was a lot of miss communication going on.
I hit mile 8 and things got hazy. I had only 5.1 miles left, which is less than my favorite distance of a 10K, and I started to forget what I was doing. I remember opening a GU energy gel and shoving the entire thing in my mouth and then violently chewing at the plastic wrapper and then eventually spitting out the remnants when my mouth thought I was done. I’m classy. My mind started to focus on things like my hands. They looked so tired from flopping back and forth as I ran. Christina Agularia was yelling at me about being stronger, and breathing felt like I was inhaling cigar smoke.
But none of it mattered. I was some how transported into this world where there were no other runners. I was being led by a beautiful light in front of me, and I just followed it.
You all think I am either lying or bat shit crazy, well, at this point my salt levels in my body were so low and I was starting to feel dehydrated – so for all I know I was passed out on a curb this entire time and someone gave me a medal out of pity.
I started contemplating my life plan at mile 10. How many more years did I want to live, in reality? Could I quit my job and just live in a hut somewhere in the desert and paint? Why did I want to be Georgia O’Keefe suddenly? Did she run in her life? Are their artists that are also runners? ZI wonder if Marilyn Monroe ran, or would that have made her less desirable. Are runners desirable? I sure don’t feel desirable. I feel slimy. May be guys like slimy? Does TPWSNBN like slimy? Did I see him yet? Was he here? Wait. Did he come with me?
Around mile 12 was when it truly hit me that I was running a half marathon. I know. I’m tardy to the party most times. I actually said out loud “Holy shit balls”, effectively scaring the people running around me, and getting dirty looks from certain spectators. I felt the need to follow it up with “No, not me!” As if that were some way to tell them that no, I had not just gone to the bathroom in my pants, but I had just realized what I’ve been doing the last 2 hours and 15 minutes. I figured I should just shut up. Clarity swept over me, and suddenly I felt everything.
My feet were now stumps. I was stampeding up the final hill to the finish line like an elephant who was also falling asleep due to a tranquilizer hanging out of my ass. I began to limp and men and women around me were cheering me to finish. No, not just the spectators, but other runners. They knew I was dying.
I began to cry, as I realized the photographers had no way of getting a good race picture of me with how I let the insanity cover me this entire race, and the fact that I had had to pee since mile 4. I saw the finish line and mat that I had to step on to effectively end this race and I sprinted towards it. This changed my pace from the speed of potato sack racing to an old woman with a walker complete with tennis balls on the bottom.
Then it was done. Some nice gentleman put a medal around my neck and pushed me towards the carbs.
I inahled 3 bagel halves (so 1.5 bagels) and 2 bottles of water. I then realized my sight was still shaky and I just started saying “Gatorade?” in random directions. I wasn’t speaking to anyone in particular, but a nice event staff guy took me by the arm and led me to the trash can filled with ice.
“I don’t want to get in.”
“You don’t have to. There is Gatorade in there.” I stared blankly at ice before he dove in (at the time I thought his entire body) and grabbed me a Gatorade. I chugged the entire thing with in 30 seconds to a minute. Luckily he assumed I would, so he grabbed me another and then pushed me towards the picture area. I was positioned in front of a camera and told to smile. Luckily I was already smiling out of confusion.
My event staff man pointed the way out and then sent me on my way. I began making my way to the letter “X” where we were supposed to meet and frankly I am not sure how I made it there. This entire time is really a blur. I remember Switchfoot was there. That was odd.