Well, Internet, I dunno if you knew, but notwithstanding the local schooling' trials and tribulations over the last little while, ole' JJ did find time to run himself a marathon a couple of weeks ago.
Hesitated writing this:
a. because of other stuff going on, and
b. whereas my zoo run post pretty much wrote itself, what with with my misadventures during, this one was a little less ha-ha and a little more wahh-wahh. No pooping during this one! (Notwithstanding that this dude had to poop and still only qualified for the olympics...but whose story was funnier?!)
Nevertheless! A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do!
1. The expo!
Get my race kit at the expo. Wouldn't mention it at all except for how its a bit discombobulating to go to these expos. GIves one the impression that society is made up almost entirely of in-shape wasps who are middle to upper class. Makes me feel bad! Lose weight! Make more $! Whitey does love to run.
2. The arrival!
The Zoo Run, as you might recall, I was late for. So this time, made sure I left early. Got to the run at 8 am and it started at 9. So had to screw around for 45 minutes, but that's ok!
I knew I wasn't gonna be qualifying for the Boston Marathon or anything this time out, so I figured "hey! I'll take an iPhone and take pictures of all the hilarious things that happen during the run, as I am sure they will be plentiful!"
While sitting around waiting, I spotted this fellow wearing a running tank top. The. Dude. Was. Hairy. Basically a bear rug throughout arms and back. My immediate thought: "shit! I can't compete against the likes of a fully grown Teen Wolf!" Then I thought: "elfin' rights! I'll take a pic and put it in my diary!"
So that's what I did. However, if there's one thing I don't want this blog to be, it's mean spirited. So I considered whether taking a pic of the dude could be considered to be mean spirited. But then I figured "the guy is hairy as shit, does not shave (or wax!)....and he's wearing a tank top to a race...that takes place in mid October...so clearly he is not too self conscious about the body hair..." But upon further reflection..., I just couldn't do it. So no hairy guy pic. But please feel free to imagine an extremely bodily-haired guy.
The bag drop off was next! I have never been much of a user for the bag drop off. But I rode my bike to the run, so didn't have a car to leave my stuff in. But it was ok. Drop off went very smoothly!
Then...8:45...time to get in the starting corral! So I try to find out where my corral is...corral is all gated, thousands of people...I can't find a way in, then I see my corral, but I think its the 1/2 marathoner corral, so I run back and to the other side of the massive corral and finally get in, when someone disassembles one of the fence pieces. Turns out, there was no 1/2 marathon corral / marathon corral. It was all the same corral.
May go on a bit of what could be considered an elitist rant here, so, you know, sorry. But running a marathon is hard. You can't just say "hey, there's a marathon next week, I think I'll run it!" Every time I have run one, it has been hard. Every time, I have wanted to stop at some point. And when it's over, the rest of my day and a lot of the next is shot. On the other hand, if you can run 5k, you can probably run a 1/2 marathon. Lots of duffers sign up to do a 1/2 marathon. The same is not the case for the marathon.
So, because its hard, and because of the commitment it takes to be able to run one, I am afraid I may be a wee bit snobbish about it. I just don't feel I should have to line up among 10,000 half-marathoners and have to dodge around them for the first half of the run. So I was a little bit ticked by the same start time and same corral as the 1/2 marathoners. Not that I don't respect 1/2 marathons or 1/2 marathoners! I have run my share! But dang!
"The corral! Moo! Baa!"
So the gun goes off and we get going (with me in the completely wrong corral, but I don't give a crap! Sticking it to the man!).
We get going...I am still under impression marathoners and 1/2 marathoners are in different corrals, so I think that I am running wrong race. I look around me and all I see are people of university age. 99% of university age people run the 1/2. That's just the way it is. And we are going east! When I thought we were supposed to go west! So I ask somebody if I am in the right place...by which I mean I don't ask anyone, because I am afraid they would say "what!? you don't even know what race you are in!?", and I just keep running...
First half of the run, I feel so good. I see the 3:35 pace bunny (a dude who you can run beside if you want to finish with that time). Guy looks about fifty. I catch up to him and run with the group for a time.
I see his left calf and see this symbol
Ole JJ has two athletic goals in his life:
1. Qualify for the Boston Marathon,
2. Do an Ironman triathlon.
That tattoo means this dude has done an ironman. Dang.
So I see it, and try to take a picture of the tattoo:
What can I say? Running and taking a pic with an iPhone is more complicated than I thought. But I am feeling good so leave this dude in the dust!
One of the best parts of the first half is seeing an entire family in costume, including two kids in "Nemo" costumes. Adorable! I'll take a pic!:
Ansel Adams, I am not. That faraway orange blob was one of the kids.
Moving on! It's cold! Windy! Coming from the west! But I am feeling good! Almost done the half!
When I got here, I thought to myself "aww, yeah...bad-asses to the right..." my unfounded arrogance soon to be humbled in the second 1/2 of the run...First half: 1:45. On pace for 3:30. Oh, yeah. Km 23...niggling in the right illiotibial band. My achilles heel. Which is kinda funny to say, because my achilles tendons felt fine! Niggling worse and worse. Then. Legs. Die.
The next, you know, 15 km or so, a miasma of pain and humiliation. Legs creak as I am now performing a bizarre run/walk shuffle. My 3:35 pace bunny passes me (along with his brood). I try and keep up....lose him. 3:40 pace bunny passes me (along with his brood!), I try and keep up....lose him. 3:45 pace bunny passes me (yes, along with his effing brood, gaaaah!), I try and keep up...lose him. No pictures taken by JJ in this period ("Why did I bring this stupid effing thing...I hate everything!"). Want to stop. Want it to be over. But keep shuffling! Has to be said, spectators awesome. Calling out the runners by name, including ole JJ.
Last 10 km. Last 10 of a marathon are always a bit of a gong show. It's when things really start to go south for a lot of people. People trying to stretch out cramping muscles. Walkers. Stoppers. Pass a guy laid out being tended to by paramedics.
Last km! I run hard, so redemption of a sort.
Finish. Wife and boys supposed to be there to be cheering me on...but where are they? Why aren't they calling my name?
Wife and boys track me down along fence. So great to see. Want to go be with them!
But first gotta wait 45 minutes in the 6 degree weather to pick up my bag, while the guy waiting behind me collapses and needs medical attention. Bit nutso.
But at least I have found a new look!