I’m not going to run the entire thing.
Runners crowded in around me, waiting for the whistle to blow.
Gosh these people are intense.
I looked at the thousands of dollars worth of shoes that pranced around me, everyone keeping their muscles warm.
Six months ago, my co-workers had this brilliant idea that we were all going to run a half marathon. I think I forgot that since high school, I hadn’t ran, hardly at all. Although I was a four time state qualifier and three time state placer on my track and field team, did not mean I had ever ran 13 miles consecutively. And all of the beer, smothered fries, and Starbucks coffee that kept me fueled through college, that wasn’t really doing me any favors either.
As the race began, I started out in my intended wog. The furthest distance I had ran in a few months of training was four miles. I was finishing up my observations to become a teacher, and I worked three jobs. I questioned the doctor’s office job, because, well, those batty ladies are the ones who led me here.
Wogging wasn’t an option. The crowd was so packed at the beginning of the race, I had no choice but to stride out. What started as overstimulation, quickly turned into competition.
I realized after a few miles that there were people literally three times my age.
Kicking my college-aged-beer-drinking-mentally-unstable ass.
Morrison is in the mountains of Colorado, and the half marathon we entered was one of the best to qualify for the Boston marathon. With the downhill grade, you could move, quite fast without trying.
Did I mention I was a broke-college-aged-beer-drinking-mentally unstable-ass?
My shoes were old Nike’s I had worn for the last three years. I didn’t think it would be a problem.
Drink stations passed, I phantom peed inside a cold porta potty. I guess the nerves were telling me there was liquid to dispose of, but my body was using it all to keep me alive.
At mile seven, the woman on the path shouted our splits.
“11-minute miles ladies!”
Oh fuck. I realized in that moment, my broke-college-aged-beer-drinking-mentally-unstable-ass was also not very smart.
As my co-worker and I started into mile 8, my foot ached.
Boom. Boom. Boom. My old Nike’s slammed against the pavement, even harder with the angle of the mountain. I needed new shocks, new breaks, new axels, it was all coming apart right now, and I had five miles left.
I would run. Walk. See the old ladies passing me, and start running again. My co-worker waited for me in concern. My leg dragging behind me.
Each mile marker came slower and slower. The ladies on the side of the path stopped telling us our mile split. This must be what they do when you are too far gone to even place.
13.1 miles. I was going to finish, even if my foot broke off and stayed on the mountain.
My lungs were hot, I choked as I sucked in searching for oxygen, and remembering that is the other great thing about Colorado. There is no oxygen.
I mustered up every oz of courage and stupidity left in my body and sprinted. Everyone staring at me as I gimp-sprinted to the finish line. But then I realized why they were staring.
The sign was for the 13-mile mark, not the 13.1 mark. I had one tenth of a mile left. And after that sprint, my co-worker grabbed me, throwing my arm around her neck so we could finish.
Damn broke-college-aged-beer-drinking-mentally-unstable DUMBASS.