Monday, October 12, 2009
Puck Boy finishes half-marathon but drops post-race banana and almost cries!
The problem is that on Sunday I ran my first half-marathon down in Long Beach and I'm a little sore today. Scratch that. I'm a lot sore today. Human beings are simply not made to wake up at 3:30 on a Sunday morning and run 13.1 miles. Human beings are made to be home on Sunday mornings, reading the NYT Sunday Styles page (photos of hottie brides!) while watching the Bengals deliver a collective "suck it" to the crab-infested Baltimore Ravens.
But my friend and I decided many moons ago to run the race, so run the race we did. And we actually did well. She clocked a 2:00:27 in her first half-marathon -- and ran the first six miles wearing a jacket because of the sub-Arctic 64 degree weather. For the record, she certainly would have finished under two hours if not for having to remove the jacket and cope with an errant iPod. I'm very proud of her and feel badly that those 27 seconds will continue to haunt her dreams until the next race.
I didn't do badly myself, finishing in 2:02.50. I was at 1:32 after 10 miles, but I lost my legs in the last three miles. If someone wants to start a charitable foundation to forever eliminate calf and hamstring cramps during running races, I have a $100 check waiting for you.
Some highlights of the race:
*I was so excited about finishing that I spiked my $24.99 water bottle at the finish line, producing a sweet geyser of orange Gatorade and annoying the race official whose foot I almost hit. The bottle skittered away, never to be seen again. I pray someone got a photo of this.
*As runners were being filtered in a chute away from the finish line, race officials handed out bananas -- actually it was about one-third of a banana. Being a total potassium junkie, I took a couple of bites of mine and then proceeded to drop it. Starved for calories, I actually leaned over to pick up the rest -- the fact that it was being stomped on by dozens of runners was not a concern -- until a security guard said "son, you know you can have another one." I almost wept.
*Along the route, race organizers handed out water but sometimes the little cups had blue Gatorade in it. Blue Gatorade happens to be the worst flavored drink in the history of the Earth; it's like drinking Iguana piss. On one occasion, I grabbed a cup and thinking it was water, dumped it over my head to cool off. Suggestion to race officials -- stick with all water, all the time.
*Here's my message to people who run in half-marathons and marathons and think it's fun to have long, deep conversations with their friends while running: Shut the fuck up and get the fuck out of my way. I don't give a shit about the fact that you've now run a marathon in all 50 states. If you want to congratulate yourself, I suggest stepping off the course and spanking off in the woods.
*Here's my message to Long Beach officials: why the fuck was the 710 freeway backed up for five miles before the race? You knew 20,000 people were going to show up to your city. Would it have been that hard to put some traffic officials at the end of the exit ramps to keep things moving? But you didn't and now you have people like me posting on their blogs that LONG BEACH TRAFFIC OFFICIALS ARE DOUCHEBAGS. Congrats!
I'm not sure that I would call running the half-marathon fun, but I will say this: the sense of accomplishment afterward was immense. I was informed several times yesterday that I wasn't the first human being to ever run 13.1 miles, but if you've never done it in a competitive environment it's kind of hard to resist the temptation to throw open a window and begin shouting "I ran a half-marathon and didn't suck" to anyone who will listen.
As for running a full marathon, I don't know. The thought of tacking on another 13.1 miles yesterday is too gruesome to even contemplate and running 26.2 miles seems like an awful lot of needless wear and tear on this 43-year-old body. I want to continue running as a way to improve my hockey. But I'm wondering if the best way to do it is concentrate on making serious improvements in 10Ks and half-marathons -- races that surely test your stamina but don't require half a day to complete.
In the meantime, I'm hoping to hit the ice tomorrow for a short skate, legs permitting.