I ran in the Philadelphia Half-Marathon today. Me and 24,000 of my closest running pals gathered at the Art Museum and tested our mettle. I'd run one other half marathon in my life, but that was about 11 years and 40 pounds ago, so I wanted to see if I could still pull it off. I'd been training for a few months with the sole goal of running the entire race without having to walk, which I couldn't do the first time around. Follow me, if you will, as I take you through what goes through a large, somewhat overweight runner's mind as he runs 13.1 miles.
7:00am (0 miles)--We're lined up in our starting groups, and the announcer gives us a countdown to get everyone started....3, 2, 1! And the race has begun.
7:10am (0 miles)--I still can't even see the actual starting line, and I begin to realize my race won't be starting any time soon.
7:24am (0 miles)--My group finally gets started. The mayor is giving high fives to people as they get started, but I there is a line of 4 people waiting to get a chance to get one. I pass, as I have very important running to do.
7:36am (1 miles)--I'm feeling good, although not thrilled that it took me 12 minutes to run a mile because all of these jerks are in my way. Clear a path, people!
7:47am (2 miles)--This is really cool. I get to run through Center City Philadelphia without worrying about cars or, more importantly, bicyclists. Stupid fucking bicyclists.
7:57am (3 miles)--Now I'm getting my rhythm. I like my pace and I'm even passing a lot of people. This pace will in no way come back to bite me in the ass later on.
8:07am (4 miles)--Running down South Street. Must resist urge to run into Jim's for a cheesesteak.
8:17am (5 miles)--Making my way down Chestnut Street and through a major part of Center City Philadelphia. Coming to terms with the fact that if I was not running in this race I would want to kill everyone in the world for fucking up the city's traffic patterns.
8:27am (6 miles)--I'm almost halfway done! Still feeling really good, with the adrenaline and the cheers of the crowd keeping me moving. Hey, maybe next year I'll even try a full marathon!
8:37am (7 miles)--I think it was around here that I could see the river, where a good number of the full marathon runners have already passed the 13.1 mile marker and are in the second half of their run. My feelings are hurt a little bit, but I'm OK.
8:58am (9 miles)--OK, I'm hitting a bit of a wall now. But I'm on the back end of the run so as long as nothing unexpected comes up, I should be fine.
9:04am (9.5 miles)--Who the fuck decided to put the courses largest hill at the 9 mile portion of the race!? Are they trying to make me cry? Obviously there's a conspiracy here.
9:08am (9.8 miles)--Well at least they put a water station soon after the hill. And this one even has energy gel! I never realized how dense this stuff was. While trying to eat it I can only assume that I look like a dog with peanut butter in it's mouth.
9:21am (11 miles)--Fucking bicyclists! Just one of these assholes manages to insert himself in this race, and I get stuck next to him in a crowded downhill section of the race, so I get to hear him constantly creaking his breaks as he keeps almost hitting runners. Die.
9:22am (11.1 miles)--Oh, and I am dying right now. I haven't hit the wall, I've torpedoed into it.
9:33am (12 miles)--Oh, thank you Jesus. One more mile.
9:39am (12.5 miles)--Shit, are these miles marked properly?
9:45am (12.8 miles)--They start directing half-marathoners to one side and full-marathoners tot he left. I realize that if I was running a full marathon, I'd just about be at the half-way point. I make a solemn pact with myself right then and there to never run a full marathon in my life.
9:46am (13.1 miles)--I've made it! I've run 13.1 miles without stopping! .....Oh dear God. If I stop moving my legs I think every muscle in them may just seize.
Well, thankfully they didn't seize. I must admit I was a little bummed out that I came in a little bit behind the 1st place female runner...of the full marathon. But all in all it was a pretty great run. Plus, afterward, I had my lady waiting for me AND a waffle breakfast. Not a bad way to end a day. Yes, I realize it's only around 10am at this point. But I don't really plan on doing jack shit for the rest of the day.