I Did It: The Half Marathon

My running partner says that doing a half-marathon is like having sex because it’s always over too soon and you wonder when you’re going to get to do it again. My running partner is full of shit. I’ve never had a sexual experience that ended with shinsplints, an IV and a handful of Aleve. Well, there was that one time on Spring Break but I’m pretty sure I took Tylenol then.

Mmmm. Metal.Last weekend I pinned a number to my shirt and ran the Charlotte Racefest Half-Marathon with 2,400 other idiots who decided it was a fair trade to run thirteen miles in exchange for arthritis and a hideous t-shirt that will look awesome on a rack at Goodwill. Thirty minutes before the start, we began filing into place behind the elite competitors, the singlet-clad 83-pound runners who shun iPods in favor of keeping pace with the rhythm of their own breathing. That, and the fact that the added weight of a Nano could tear one of their tiny arms out of the sockets.

I found myself standing beside two women who were each complimenting the other’s pale pink sportswear. One gestured to the race’s major sponsor, the sporting goods store whose parking lot served as our temporary corral and announced “I got it in there. I love Dick’s! I can’t stay away from Dick’s” I of course snickered and said “Who can? HAHAHAHA!” The women both shot me a nasty look and my smirk faded when I noticed that the delicate script on Dick Lover’s pastel hat said “Fuck You, Fuckball”.

The starter began the countdown, I turned on my iPod, and every one of us undoubtedly said the same silent prayer that we would make it across the finish line without chafing, without cramping, and without grimacing in any of the pictures being taken along the way. Huh. So maybe it is like sex.

I was able to keep a running diary (um…no pun intended) of my progress, because I’m just that awesome. And I was plodding along slowly enough to make notes on the back of someone’s windbreaker.

Mile 1: All right, baby. I’m born to run, just like Springsteen says. I have already sprinted past a man pushing a stroller and a 70 year-old woman who is undoubtedly inspiring for running a half-marathon but equally terrifying for selecting a sports bra and a pair of tiny denim cutoffs as her running attire. While that ensemble was lovely on the Binford Tool Girls, seeing it on her makes me understand why Dorothy, Sophia and Rose chose sensible pantsuits instead. And why Blanche never had sex with the lights on.

Mile 2: Still feeling good. Just saw a runner who is carrying two massive, car-dealership sized American flags, one in each hand. I don’t know whether to run past him or ask about financing a new Jeep Liberty.

Mile 3: The first hill of the race. People in Charlotte have nice lawns. It’s a shame that runner number #4178 is taking a piss in one of them. Good thing their newspaper is wrapped in plastic.

Mile 4: Look at all the kids standing on the course cheering for the runners! Supercute! The two women running in front of me are debating which race has the best finisher’s medals. I hope that this year the awards are made of Immodium.

Make This End.Mile 5: I’m already covered in sweat, drool, and Gatorade, which hasn’t happened since my last date.

Mile 6: One more hill. I keep telling myself what doesn’t kill me just makes my butt look perkier. Chances are, some tiny Kenyan has already won by now. Oh well, it’s not like he’s going to eat all of the post-race bagels. Or any of them.

Mile 7: Another fucking hill. Forget perky. My ass is going to be halfway up my spine by the time this is over.

Mile 8: Confidential to the Owners of the Tudor-Style Home at the Corner of Old Providence Road: You have beautiful azaleas. I’m sorry for throwing up on them. I’m even sorrier that your dog ate it.

Mile 9: I was just passed by a guy wearing a bunny suit.

Mile 10: Fuck you, Springsteen. Born to run, my ass. You were in a car.

Mile 11: Damn you, courteous drivers. I’ve thrown myself in the path of an oncoming Miata, a Corolla, and an F-150 and all have swerved out of the way. C’mon, Festiva. My femur on your fender would make that car increase in value. But then again, so would filling the gas tank with midgrade.

Mile 12: Goddamn kids are laughing at me. You think this is funny? Why don’t you put down your Nintendogs and strap on a pair of sneakers, you little shit. Then we’ll see what’s funny. Nice sign, by the way. “Run good, Mommy!” MommyRace Number needs to run your ass into the Sylvan Learning Center.

Mile 13: One tenth of a mile to go. Bunny Suit’s struggling right beside me. His fur’s matted, his ears are drooping…dude looks like a pregnant woman just peed on him. Sweet Christ, here’s the finish line! Right in front of the sporting goods store! What can I say? I love Dick’s!

Epilogue: Yes, I did finish, in just over 1 hour and 38 minutes, which equates to the pain of a 7:33 per mile pace and the pleasure of rubbing Aspercreme on my entire lower body. Just like that time in Cancun…

42 thoughts on “I Did It: The Half Marathon

  1. I kept having to hold in my laughter as not to scare the guy in the office next to mine, which led to an accidential snorting up some coffee and an unfortunate nasal burn.

    And holy fucking six-pack J-Money. Talk about hot and sexy!

  2. JMoney is my idol. I feel so proud of myself after my little runs around Wrigleyville in the mornings… and from now on when I’m feeling tired and ready to hit the showers, I will remember JMoney and her abs of steel and lickable medal, and I will keep running.

  3. I’ve resigned myself to doing crunches since I can’t look hot in 289 shirts/Steelers tanks/Mets gear like y’all can… :)

    Jim, I always save the nipple tape for the second date.

  4. What’s a “crunch”? TSW keeps telling me about them and I just assumed it had something to do with potato chips or that really crunchy cereal.

    Mmm… potato chips.

  5. 1. Congratz on finish the race, and that is an awesome time, especially if you haven’t run one before.

    2. Great writeup regarding the run as well.

    3. Considered a tri? You just have to learn to bike & swim…and much more fun than a half…

    4. As mentioned by others, awesome, awesome abs…I think you would look damn hot in those shirts…

  6. Metsy – Did you miss the part where he mentions that I’ve often hinted at him he should look into more crunches.

    (Not that he looks bad. He great. I just worry about his heart with the stress, and poor eating, and the slight amount of extra TSB… ;) )

  7. Oh, Marge!…

    I’ve come to terms with the “slight amount of extra TSB”. If it wasn’t supposed to be there, then it wouldn’t be, as far as I’m concerned.

    And if a rigorous game of Wii Tennis can’t solve my caloric issues, then I don’t know how much “crunches” could help.

  8. I love the orange t-shirt picture, even with the mismatching hat (gasp!) but I thought it was just a random photo. But that’s the author? (Begins packing for next Deadspin baseball party). :-)

  9. I have friends at work who keep bugging me to do marathons with them, and stories like yours are the reason I continue to say no (and I’m nowhere near in that kind of running condition); my running is done on treadmill ONLY.

    My pony keg (shrinking, thankfully) is hellishly jealous of your six-pack.

  10. McBias, a Red Sox hat matches everything! And yep, that’s me, knee brace and all. :)

    Signal, I commend your commitment to the treadmill. I’d rather go outside and run 30 miles tonight than to do 3 on a treadmill. Yuck.

  11. Note to self: Stop mentioning the 42-14 at the half tourney game; you can’t outrun her, and she’ll probably kick your ass.

  12. G-Shum: yes! The hour and 15 minutes I spend in mass every Sunday is eternal.

    Wish the 3 hours I spent somewhere else lasted that long.

  13. Those abdominal ripplings taunt me… Personally, for my paunch, & [redacted].

    & don’t me started on the medal fetish/oral fixation.


  14. I don’t think that really qualifies as a knee “brace.” It looks like one of those bands that Glen Rice used to wear all the time. When I think of knee braces, I think of giant offensive lineman….or women’s basketball players.

    Oh, and terrific abs. I have nice abs, they are just innies instead of outies.

  15. I think that the only way I could complete a half marathon (or even half of a half marathon) would be if I was chasing those abs all the way.

    Although I was hoping for a pic of the perky ass.

  16. Does it actually say “Run For Your Life” on the top of your number card? What’d they do, release a bunch of rabid pit bulls on you at the starting line?

    Congrats on doing the half. Are you going to try for the full 26.2? I did my first last year and at mile 22 I would’ve sold my soul for a Segway.

  17. Gordo – PHENOMENAL ABS! (That’s why I never take my Michael Owen jersey off – my abs are covered up by some ‘extra BTO’).

  18. ONE hour 38 mins? Christ. That is my 10k time. (Sob.) I am reg’d for the White Rock HM this December (my first) and am terrified. I laughed so damn hard while reading your post, will keep the bunny suit in mind while I am suffering! LoL Thanks for the comic relief, needed it! -stacy z.

  19. I am going to do my first half in October and I came across this post somehow…but I am so glad I did. I was laughing so hard I was crying. My husband thinks I am an idiot over here, but he thinks that anyway because I run and he wouldn’t run if someone, or something were cahsing him. Thanks for the great post and I look forward to the race.

  20. I’ll be thinking of this when I do my first half marathon ever, in about 4 weeks. I’m hoping to get under 2.5 hours. I’ll enjoy these images along the way. Excellent blog. Nice abs by the way, you just made me throw out the other half of this chesseburger. :) Cheers to you and your run!

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