On New Year’s Eve, I posted the typical sappy wishes for 2012 – To taking chances and leaps of faith, making decisions that make my heart pound and having fun along the way.
Heart pound? I didn’t mean romance or sky-diving. I’d be checking that New Year’s resolution off on day 7.
Last night, I threw together a rather random playlist. We discussed the merits of a playlist of angry girl music (or 3 straight hours of Alanis Morissette “You Oughta Know”). A playlist of songs such as “I Would Walk 500 Miles” used to get pumped while being punny.
And then I just went with what makes me happy.
In the process, it was determined Jacob, 13, Cass, 15, and I all know the lyrics to Bobby Brown’s “Every Little Step.”
Tips. I was told “long strides downhill, short strides uphill.”
Jacob: “Yeah, and if you kick your knees really high as you go uphill, it helps.”
And then he dissolved in a fit of laughter because he’s a dork and that was garbage advice.
Mom told me using the porta-potties kills your time because the lines are long.
“Okay. I’ll just wet myself.”
“Runners do that!”
I picked up my number last night, and I’m glad I did. I slept better when I saw how many people had registered. I had these visions of twenty people showing up to run and them having to keep the course open for me, the straggler. I was worried most about ticking off the high school volunteers who had to stay at their station until the last walker went by.
They follow that question up with “What is your pace?”
My pace. My pace. Well I did 3.3 miles in 86 degree heat on Thursday after a sandwich in 38 minutes. That was 11.5.
“12? Yeah. 12.”
“Wow! That’s really good for a walker!”
It is? Then I think I meant 14.
They tell us to line up according to our paces. My pace would have me line up at the grocery store across the street, but I choose the last window they had marked, for 12-minute mile participants. Hundreds line up still behind me. The digital clocks start running as soon as the 5-minute-mile runners start running, but the chip tied to my shoe is the official time keeper. Until official results get posted, I’ll know to shave approximately two minutes off the clock at the finish line to get a realistic idea of my time.
First song on my playlist, set on shuffle, was “Something to Talk About.” You know, Bonnie, I will give them something to talk about. Half a mile in, I’m realizing this is going to be tough. My ankles are already bothersome.
Mom had said you’d see clothes people strip from and toss throughout the race. We’re not two minutes in and a girl throws her sweatshirt.
I have four hours to get a medal. Anything under 3:30 and I’ll feel super.
Big Mile 1 sign with a digital clock appears. 14 minutes.
Second mile seems to be taking forever. Daryl Hall and John Oates are telling me I make their dreams come true. If the mood was right, I’d have had them singing “Do What You Want, Be What You Are” but that’d be too slow.
Second mile. Oh my. Forever. Like… too long. Almost worrisome. I’m suddenly nervous this is going to be much harder than I anticipated.
Oh, thank goodness. I just didn’t see the Mile 2 sign. It’s 38 minutes in, and I’m just completed Mile 3.
I start parodying songs to pass time. Or at least, imagining every song was about me and this marathon.
On that sunny day
Didn’t know I’d meet
Such a beautiful girl
Walking down the street
Seen those bright brown eyes
With tears (of sweat) coming down
She deserves a crown
But where is it now
It was working wonders.
Somewhere around Mile 5 I tripped. More troublesome than any foot injury was the granola bar I started choking on in that moment.
Mile 6.5 sign was sponsored by Starbucks. I looked ahead thinking, just give me a line of baristas holding out shots of espresso. It might send my heart over the edge, but I’d feel so good about it, if only for a moment.
It’s been an hour and seventeen minutes. I’m going to get tired but I’m getting in under 3:30. I celebrate by eating my free packet of peanut butter. I could learn to love half marathons if just for that opportunity.
Smooth, Rob Thomas.
Sir Duke, Stevie Wonder.
We Didn’t Start The Fire, Billy Joel.
I Only Wanna Be With You, Hootie & The Blowfish.
I Feel the Earth Move, Carole King.
Love Get’s Me Every Time, Shania Twain.
Manic Monday, The Bangles. Being sung as “just another manic run day.”
Waking Up in Vegas, Katy Perry.
The Battle of Evermore, Led Zeppelin.
What You Need, INXS.
Fast Car, Tracy Chapman.
It’s 2:08 and I’m at Mile 10. I can do this under three! I celebrate by dashing downhill past a few 13-year-olds who had slowed to chat. I high-five a 60-year-old jogging.
Yes, I’m still in the rear(ish) of the field, but I’m killing my personal goal and better, this isn’t killing me!
The only sign of any physical distress is in my right ring finger. I’d forgotten to take off my rings and there is far too much blood pumping down there. I can’t get my rings off anymore. I wear two, silver. They say PEACE and GRACE.
One because when I was 13, I had a crush on a boy who ended every conversation with “Peace.” The other bought a few years later when Ella Grace was adopted.
Clearly, one of those stories is more touching than the other.
Every Morning, Sugar Ray.
I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), Aretha Franklin & George Michael.
2:22, Mile 11.
You Oughta Know makes it’s appearance. So does angry Kelly Clarkson. My family moved to upstate New York early in the summer of 2002. Without school in session, I couldn’t really make friends. American Idol Season 1 was on. We still refer to Kelly Clarkson as my best friend. I’m loving this too much. I wish singing along was acceptable, because she’s ticked and it’s fun.
I can see the finish. Cheerleaders hold signs saying “Run like you stole something” and “Best Parade Ever.”
Marathon finishers are doubling back to cheer us to the end.
2:34, Mile 12.
Spencer Davis Group and I are finishing this together. Fun fact: Every lyrics website I just checked had different versions. Nobody knows what they’re saying but my temperature’s rising and
I’m so glad we made it,
so glad we made it
I see the balloons.
I start running.
Headphones fall out.
Don’t let that red face fool you. I’ve never felt better.
I’m pretty darn excited.
I’m pretty darn sore.