I had a hard time and a good debate with friends about this particular day. I couldn’t decide if it was the worst, best day of my life, or the best, worst day of my life. I chose the latter, but I’m not sure it really makes any difference. So what am I talking about exactly? Well, naturally, I am talking about October 12th. Yes, October the 12th was the best, worst day of my life. Why? I ran a marathon. All 26.2 miles of it. I want to tell you the story (which might help to explain why I haven’t been the author of many posts around here lately). Gather round, gather round.
It should first be noted that this was the first time, and will also be the last time in which I ever take part in such a silly endeavor. It all started when my dear friend Kimmi, a colleague of mine, convinced me that it was a good idea. We had been training together with no particular purpose in mind for some time, when she dreamed up this idea that a marathon would be a good idea. We texted back and forth and I somewhat relented and agreed to go along with it. We googled some training plans and given that there were only nine weeks left until it was going to go down, we altered a 12 week plan by skipping the first 3 weeks.
This training began excellently, as it was during the summer and we had all the free time in the world to tackle the challenges laid out in front of us. The world was our oyster, or something like that. We ticked off the days, talked about upcoming workouts and generally just prepped for this. We both clearly had no idea what we were doing, but with a track background I felt at least I had some idea of what I was talking about. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.
Let’s fast forward to race day. The Baltimore Running Festival. It was slated to be this massive day of marathon, half-marathon, 5K, and relay. The whole city was essentially shut down. Katie and her parents had secured a spot at our favorite restaurant , which was right on the course. Free mimosas. A sign cheering us on. Enough said. I was ready to go.
So the horn went off and we headed out on our way. We had to make the decision early on about which group we wanted to run with and initially, we chose pacers that were planning to run 3 hours and 55 minutes. Our goal was 4 hours, so it made sense. After feeling it out, we decided we actually felt better than that and moved up with the 3:45 group (read: we made a really dumb decision). As a social experience, the marathon is awesome–you get to talk to lots of people, see cool signs and hear lots of people cheering for you at random, just because you are insane. We weaved through the streets of downtown, ticking off the miles. 20 to go. 15 to go. Halfway there.
We met Katie and her family at mile 16, which is where they were many mimosas deep and were cheering and taking pictures, much like this one:
(Sweet orange shoes, bro)
I hate to be cliche here, but this was the beginning of the end for both of us, as the streets went from what we call in algebra flat, to what we called in algebra steep. As we climbed up, our mental state was going down. Right around mile 21, we decided it was time to sever ties. Kimmi thought that going faster would just end the pain–I thought that going slower would allow me to finish.
The last 5 miles were an absolute blur of exhaustion, dehydration, a guy in a tiger suit, some gummy bears, my boss running a quarter of a mile with me taking selfies and the finish line.
I didn’t get whatever “bug” people say you get when you cross the finish line that makes you want to do a million more marathons. Instead, I got a medal, a heat blanket, 5 bottles of water, and a seat on the ground next to the other exhausted people. Twins.
I’ll never do it again. Ever. Maybe the half. Maybe a 5k. Maybe I’ll just stick to walking. In the end though, crossing off such a major accomplishment from a bucket list will do!