Monday, April 27, 2015

May the course be with you

For Rachel's next race, I'm going to get a larger than life cutout of Ted Cruz's head and say, "Run faster! You can't let him win!"

My second marathon is now under my fuel belt, and if you exclude the injured knee, the passive-aggressive knee, the four cramps in my left calf and the one cramp in my right that hit with half a mile to go while the other leg was cramping, it went pretty well. This made the limping forward significantly more pronounced.

Fortunately, thanks to a friendly medic walking over and massaging my disgustingly sweaty calf while I tried not to cry, I was able to finish, both running and not limping. Success! That's the good thing about a marathon. Finishing is the success. The time doesn't matter.

Having said that, I was a little mad at my time (4:15, nine minutes faster than my last one), because it would have been better if I hadn't stopped to massage my stupid calf. Five times. (Which is pure conjecture. Maybe stopping to fix my leg let me rest enough to help me finish strong. Who cares? Finish line for everyone!)

So, even though I came in after the pacer who had a donut hanging off the brim of her hat (genius!) and I walked around for the next hour with a bag of ice wrapped around my leg and I spent the night before the race listening to the biker club sharing my hotel revving their engines to some weird symphony, I'm a happy girl. (And I'm a marathoner! Even though it's absolutely fine to consider yourself a marathoner after one, for me the line was more than one.)

The Oklahoma City Marathon Man

Now, to the funny signs! These are why we run races -- well, the signs and the random conversations you  have with strangers, such as this one where the marathon separated from the half-marathon:

Runner No. 1: "Is this the full marathon?"
Me: "Yes, this is the full. I've been looking for it; I was afraid I missed it."
Runner No. 2: "No, I thought they said this was the fool's marathon."

  • "Run like there's a hot guy in front of you and a creepy guy behind you."
  • "It's rude to count the people you pass." For my first half-marathon, I counted the number of people I passed in the last mile. It was somewhere in the neighborhood of 15. I also completely ignored the number of people who passed me in the first 12.1 miles. #runnersmath
  • "This seemed like a good idea four months ago." 
  • "Humpty Dumpty had problems with a wall too." Yasssssss!
  • "We thought they said rum!"
  • "I hope someone's behind me to read this." The T-shirt on a girl I passed. I giggled mentally.
  • "Just beautiful" This was actually on a for sale sign we ran by, but I thought "hell yeah, we are beautiful!" This was in the first eight or so miles. I still felt good.
  • Lots of jokes in the poop/fart/pee your pants genre. If you're not aware of them, Google them. Here's one.
  • "My running partners pushed me." Held by a woman in a cast
  • "This is a lot of work for a free banana."
  • "Chuck Norris never ran a marathon." I mean, maybe, but it's Walker, Texas Ranger.
  • "I want to run a mare-athon, but my wife is such a nag." Held by a dude wearing a horse's head. 
  • "If this were easy it would be called golf." Sorry, golfers.
  • "26.2, because 26.3 would be crazy."
  • "Pedestrians Prohibited" On a trail that at some point had 3,000 pedestrians 
There were also people offering shots of whiskey, goblets of wine and plastic cups of beer. There was also a street corner party where they were playing Maroon 5's "Harder to Breathe."

The Oklahoma City Marathon also takes what I think is the delightful step in putting our first names in reasonably large font on our bibs, so people occasionally yelled, "Good job, Heidi!" The first time this weirded me out. How did he know my name? After that it was pretty awesome.

If you're thinking about running this marathon -- which I know you all are, particularly after finding out that random strangers are available to grope you(r legs) -- a word of caution and then encouragement. It's a big event; more than 22,000 people ran. (Half of those were in the half marathon, so we got rid of them reasonably quickly), but that meant a lot of people at the starting line and in the parking lots, and downtown Oklahoma City is kind of a train wreck when there's construction and the almost-million-participant Oklahoma City Arts Festival and the marathon expo all at the same time.

But it's a beautiful course that runs through some really nice neighborhoods (and through some strip malls), along a lake and in and around downtown. There are only a few hills, and the "Gorilla Hill," for anyone who's lived somewhere with more terrain than Lubbock, is quite tame. Do it! You will regret it, but that'll pass, just like the urge to throw up on the volunteers at the finish line will pass.

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