Monday, April 19, 2010

26 things I learned while running 26.2 miles

1. Don't run a spring marathon that forces you to train during the worst winter in the last few decades (unless you really enjoy the treadmill).
2. Don't run a spring marathon in the Pollen Capital of the US, aka Virginia. We were so coated with pollen, we looked jaundiced at the end, covered in yellow grit.
3. Always check the inside of your socks very carefully before the race. After 26 miles, even a tiny string will leave an amazing blister.
4. Don't trust the race organizers to have enough energy gel and Gatorade for the duration of the event. Carry your own. We had none for the last 13 miles. Half the race with only water!
5. Don't trust race organizers who describe the course as "fairly flat with some rolling hills" if they are also ultra marathoners and have lost all perspective on what counts as a rolling hill.
6. Pee wherever you want. Those same out-of-touch-with-the-common-folk race organizers will not have enough portajohns. People were jumping in and out of the woods to do their business like antelope. One's level of modesty decreases as the level of pain/exhaustion increases.
7. Expect the event photographer to be planted at the hardest, most grueling part of the course to catch your pain and then post on his website for all to see. That's just rude.
8. Cover yourself in several layers of Glide or other anti-chafe balm. Parts of your body that don't normally touch will darn near light an ember after hours of rubbing together.
9. The couple wearing tie-dyed smiley face shirts and sparkly antenna headbands will run faster than you.
10. So will the crazy screaming lady with pink hair and a sequined miniskirt.
11. Not true for the veteran struggling but still running with the biggest flag he could find. Salute him when you pass.
12. The biggest motivator is your 4 year old son cheering "Go Mommy!" I nearly flew after hearing those words.
13. Wear a watch. Yep, blame those race organizers again for having not one time check on the course.
14. Who thinks a good idea would be to have the biggest climb of the race at mile 24? Apparently my awesome race organizers. I don't know these people, and yet I deeply detest them.
15. If you want the best beer in the entire world, run 26.2 miles for it first.
16. If you want the best massage in the entire world, schedule it for 2 days after that beer.
17. Pack an extra set of knees because yours will be lost on the downhills of the incredibly not-flat course.
18. Do not be demoralized when the oldest female entrant, aged 62, is already in the pizza tent when you cross the finish line.
19. Wear your medal. Why would they give it to you if you weren't expected to wear it? I'm going grocery shopping in my mine.
20. Ever ask a friend what your blind date looks like and get the answer "He's really nice"? Yeah, well, when someone describes a marathon course as "scenic", that's code for "You're better off running through the seven circles of Hell."
21. You might not have the energy to cry at the finish but tears will roll when your son hands you a certificate he made at school saying "Way to go, Mommy and Daddy! I am proud of you."
22. A good post-marathon recovery program does not include running a 10k two weeks later.
23. Take it easy on your stomach for the following few days. And maybe hang close to a bathroom too.
24. There is no greater inspiration for finishing such a monumental task than trying to live up to the efforts of your young son with special needs who always tries his best through every therapy, doctor visit, school day, etc no matter how hard it may be for him.
25. And he does it with a smile because he loves life.
26. What's your excuse, mom? I can't ask my son to work that hard and push himself if I'm not doing it too. I run for my son. Every step of every mile for Caden.