I’m running in a marathon on Sunday. Well, I’m running the second half of a marathon, to be exact. And the coolest part about running a half-marathon is telling everyone that you’re running in a half-marathon.
Me: “Yeah, I’d love to hang out, but I’ve gotta train for this half-marathon I’m running. No biggie.”
Usual response: “I didn’t ask you to hang out.”
I ran the marathon last year too, but that time I only ran the relay part, meaning I ran the final quarter of the race. I took the last leg because it was the flattest and shortest part. It also meant I crossed the finish line, and I’m a bit of a glory hound. Okay, I’m a lot of a glory hound. I even covered my bib number as I finished—that way I could fool people into thinking I had run the whole race. And, oddly enough, I sort of looked like I had. It was supposed to rain and like a genius I decided to run in a raincoat – a hot, steamy, dehydrating and totally unnecessary on this rain-free morning rain coat. I was haggard as hell come the finish line.
And then I got a medal, which was really cool … for all of five seconds. Then I remembered I had really only accomplished one-fourth of an amazing feat. It kind of deflated my victory. Yay me.
But this year, I’m going for the whole half! That’s 13.1 miles of jogging (okay, shuffling) through the flats of Oakland. Honestly, it’s been a grind. I’m not the svelte athlete of my childhood. I have a new ACL, the occasional bout of gout and a rather permanent case of stomach fat. I have excuses. But I’m not going to need them, because I am going to finish—NAY I am going to dominate the field! It’s a race, and I plan on winning. (I also plan to redefine “winning,” thereby enabling me to “win.”)
I’ve put in my training. I stretched a few times. I ate Ibuprofen and iced my limbs. I don’t want it to be too easy, so beer and pizza consumption has remained consistent. I think my wife wants to have sex tonight. I’m going to turn her down for the first time ever. I hear professional boxers don’t do it before fights—and running is basically the exact same thing—so I’m not gonna do it. I’m that committed.
Now that my body is right, it’s time to finalize my mental approach. I’m visualizing success. I will sprint the final 50 feet, and hopefully pass at least one person during that grueling stretch. In my mind, it will be a lean, rugged, cheetah-like human. I will extend my arms behind my body and lean into the finish, energizing and elating the adoring masses gathered in anticipation of my triumph. Chances are better that I’ll crossing the finish line in a heated battle with a geriatric pushing a stroller as the cleanup crew follows closely behind. Nevertheless, I will talk respectful shit to this elderly person, get my medal and promptly begin my post-race vomiting. It’s going to be pretty amazing one way or another. Be there, or miss something truly remarkable.
Thanks in advance for the support.
The Big Prefontaine-Acado