It’s an odd thing to run a half-marathon on the same course you run every day. It’s just a sidewalk that parallels the bay. Out and back. The only difference between this and any other long run is that I paid 70 bucks for a cup of water and some substance that may or may not have been Windex.
And it started at 7 a.m. Ow.
It went OK, I suppose. Training has been going pretty well other than the ice pick in the chest, and I hadn’t run in several days, so the legs were pretty fresh. I ran consistent 12:05’s the entire way, which is right about what I wanted. No fade. Must’ve been the Windex.
Well, sure, I got freebie cotton gloves from a plumbing company, if 70 bucks can be considered free. And there IS something about a race. The people huddled around the propane heaters, the excitement of the start, the waves and “Good job” exchanges along the way. But in a tiny race like this, there’s not much more for most of the race than the same empty stretch of sidewalk I see every day.
Still, it felt good. Familiar and comfortable, like an old pair of Piranhas that are broken in just so. Although I was wearing Skechers. The first half went along easily. You know it’s an OK race when you hit the halfway point and it’s no big deal. The run back was pleasant. Emergency came just as a construction site porta pot showed up. Nirvana, except for the part where Cobain dies. Picked it up for the last few. A nod to Selena and a nonexistent sprint to the finish.
Then I crossed the line, accepted by little medal from a disinterested cheerleader and walked across the street. Sat in the car, called Mo to tell her I survived and texted Jenny to exchange notes on our races. Then I stopped off for a breakfast taco and went home.
Because there’s just something about a race. The ugly T-shirt that doesn’t fit, the medal that goes unloved on the floorboard of the car, the experience of crossing a finish line in a race against the demons that want you to quit.
And two days later, I’m sore. Some muscles along the outside of the quads that I haven’t felt in many years. So apparently I was pushing enough that I maxed them out.
Worth 70 bucks? Sure. Running is fun. Racing is suffering. Suffering is your friend. Friends are hard to find. Embrace them when you can.
More Windex, please.