Imagine the scene: you’re lounging on the couch, like all good Americans do, watching an awful movie and wasting away a Sunday afternoon.
In walks Boyfriend’s roommate, asking, “So does anyone want free tickets to run the half marathon next Sunday?”
You had just finished telling Boyfriend you had resolved to do one awesome thing every month.
He thinks “tortuous” is synonymous with “awesome.”
I called my own ran-a-marathon-last-year-roommate for moral support.
“Do you want to run a half-marath–“
“But–but I need moral support!”
“Oh, it’s with you? That’s fine then. As long as we can be ridiculous with it.”
We had six days to get in half-marathon shape. Boy Wonder over there ran miles and miles, along with his normal weekly two soccer games and three hours of basketball. Insane? Mhm.
I did a few miles of jog/walk/sprint on Wednesday, which turned out to be a gloriously bad idea.
Let me break down for you my current state of physical fitness by comparing it to workout DVDs. A year ago, Level 3 of Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred was no big thang. Today, I can’t handle the -push-ups on Level 1. Poor me.
No surprise then, Sunday I was still sore. Roommate and I decided that since our tickets were registered as walkers, we had to speed-walk it, but that we were allowed to dance at all the live-music spots along the way. Dance/walking is serious stuff.
To add to the madness, if you didn’t make it to the Birmingham Bridge by the 3 hour mark, you would get collected by THE SWEEPER. And if you fought back from getting peeled off the road you had likely collapsed on, they’d drive you the rest of the way downtown in a personal police escort.
We toyed with the idea of causing a ruckus with the marathon cops and getting on the news . But we wanted to finish more than we wanted to be infamous. We therefore spent most of the race looking behind us to make sure we weren’t about to get swept.
Rules of marathoning and how we broke them
2) Don’t run in anything on race-day you didn’t train in.
“Let’s wear skirts!” “OK!” Skirts are perfect for dancing, and there were different live bands all along the route. We got lots of cheers for the “Skirt Girls,” and our favorite was a teenage girl with a bullhorn shouting, “Oh, yeah I see you! I like your skirts. You run that marathon! I see you run that marathon!”
3) Don’t eat or drink anything before or during the race you didn’t train with.
Again, no training = eat whatever you want! Someone handed out 5-hour energies. We drank those (bad idea). We ate some power bars for breakfast (bad idea), drank the Gatorade they handed out during the race (good idea), and I even snagged a pretzel towards the end (bad idea).
4) Get plenty of sleep.
We did not sleep. Not that Friday night, nor that Saturday night. I think we got about 5 hours the night before the race? Which is why we drank those 5-hour-energies, duh!
5) Stay hydrated the week before the race.
Um. Boy Wonder and I thought we were being smart, and declined a beer with dinner on Saturday. But followed up dinner with ice cream. And then thought about it. Oops.
Roommate had a few Woodchucks. Meh, I’m sure they have electrolytes in them..or something.
6) Eat a good breakfast
We ate a power bar. The ones they give you in your little bag-o’-goodies along with your “hey look everyone I ran a half-marathon” t-shirt.
7) Protect your legs from chafing.
Roommate was smart, and wore biker shorts under her skirt. I did not think that far ahead. Luckily, just when I started to realize the next 8 miles were going to be miserable for my inner thighs, we passed a station of people handing out vaseline-on-a-stick.
I love those people.
8) Warm-up/stretch before the race.
We had about an hour and a half to kill. I was cold, so decided to keep my self warm by, well, basically doing lots of glute squeezes and bouncing up and down on my feet.
For an hour.
Everything hurt before we even walked the half-mile to cross the official start-line.
So I was sore when it started, sore halfway through, sore towards the end, and I couldn’t walk properly until Wednesday.
The dancing parts were hard, but so much fun I forgot how much I hurt. We’d dance our hearts out, then when the music faded realize dancing really takes a lot of physical fitness to keep up for 13.1 miles. Then we’d walk it out to the next band.
My only real regret is I didn’t take pictures of the beautiful city. The weather was absolutely perfect.
And then we crossed the finish line.
And got a medal.
And ate a bagel and a banana, and grabbed a few more bagels and bags of chips for the road.
Boyfriend finished in a totally respectable time, and now has dreams of actually training and dominating future half- and full-marathons.
Roommate and I finished 16th and 750th in our classes, respectively.
We were registered as a 69-year-old woman and her 40-year-old daughter.
I’ll train for the next one.