I write this narrative from my bed the morning after. People who complain about hangovers have nothing on my calves. You don’t know pain.
Leading up to the marathon, I tried to train. I mean, I did train. I ran twice a week. My friends, Ally and Emily, trained with an actual training team. I trained once with them. But back in September, at a half-marathon, a woman told me that to properly train one should run two miles more than the race distance aka 28 miles. But, like, betch, why would I run 28 miles and then go run a marathon? I would’ve already done it.
The night before the race, my friends and I went to Mamma Zu’s to carb load. And then I went to a concert. Yes, that’s right. I went out on the town. But it was one of my favorite bands, and I wouldn’t have been living my best life if I didn’t go see them perform live. I got home at midnight and then slept five hours.
I awoke at 5:30 and nursed a Trenta iced coffee, no ice, soy milk, and three pumps pumpkin sauce from Starbucks that I bought the night before knowing I would need help feeling awake. I also ate a PB&J.
I opened my phone to order an Uber to get me to the start line only to find there was a surge: Rides started at $26.
I walked to the start line. It was a 40-minute walk. I still had a marathon ahead of me. Whoops?
I didn’t feel bad. This was doable. But this was only mile one? Dear Gabriel, there were 25 more miles ahead of me? How boring.
I’m never doing this again.
Should I stop to pee? No. It’s too early. And do I really need to pee that bad?
Should I stop here to pee?
Wow! Look. I’m running a decent pace. I only have to do three more, and I’ll be done.
Crap. I’m not even a third of the way through.
I should pee. I’m not going to enjoy the next 17 miles (17 miles?! Whose idea was this?!) if I have a throbbing bladder. Peeing isn’t going to affect my time that much.
Oh. My. Gawd. Why am I running a marathon? Why is this a thing? 26.2 miles? People do this more than once in their life? That’s not healthy.
OMG HOW AM I GOING TO MAKE IT THROUGH
I eat Fuel100 Electro-Bites that I have in my pocket. Review here!
Where is water? Up until this point, I have been skipping the water stops because that will just slow me down.
WHERE IS WATER?!
Me to water boys: “Can I have two cups?”
Okay, feeling better.
Yay! I’ve run a half marathon. My time is good. It’s downhill from here. Figuratively.
I grab some M&M’s from a junk food stop. The signs leading up to it say, “Your parents told you not to take candy from strangers.”
Only 12 more miles.
That doesn’t sound hopeful in my mind.
I walk a quarter of mile.
We run across Leigh Bridge, which is the longest bridge of my life, and I whisper to myself, “F*ck this bridge” over and over.
I want to walk, but there are too many spectators. They keep yelling, “Keep it up! You can do it! Keep running!”
I’m worried what they’ll do if I walk. Will they yell more vigorously for me to keep running? Because I don’t want that. I want them to embrace me for who I am.
No spectators in sight. I walk and check my text messages.
I decide I can’t walk that long. This is a marathon. I start running.
From this point forward, there is no turning back. This is the furthest distance I’ve run in my life.
I pass my apartment. I run up on the sidewalk, unlock my lobby door, and throw my pullover into my lobby. I’ve had that pullover tied around my neck since mile 2.5. Good riddance!
I rejoin the pack.
It’s only seven miles to the finish line, but…that is not hope…that is not motivation…that is not anything…I’m over it.
I keep running, walking, jogging, walking, jogging. I get ahead of some people, then walk, and they continue running past me, and then I jog more and pass them again. I become that annoying person who can’t let someone pass me.
Back at miles one and two, I passed the 4:00, 3:50, 3:45, and 3:35 pacers.
The 3:35 pacers come up on my tail end. A whole pack of them. They are going to finish in 3:35.
When I started this race, I wanted to finish in under 4:00. I now want to finish in under 3:30.
No. I must persevere.
Spoiler alert: They pass me.
Water stops at every mile at this point. I compromise with myself that I can walk a hundred feet at each water stop from here until finish line.
I walk more than a hundred feet.
Spectators are offering shots of beer. They are disgusting. That is the last thing I want.
Someone has Coca Cola. I have never wanted carbonated soda more than this hour.
Okay, I’m just going to stretch. I do a squat. I have never felt these muscles before. What is this? What is this spasm? I shouldn’t have stretched. OMG, I have done the irreversible. Can I get out of this stretch?
Just two more miles. But I don’t care. I am actively walking. I can walk faster than some of these joggers.
My calves and quads continue to spasm. I’ve heard people describe this before, but I never thought it’d happen to me. I’m in shape. I work out every day. How is this happening?
Marathons aren’t healthy.
I’m actually not sure if I can run the last mile. But something in me gives through. I tell myself I just have to jog. Not even run.
I begin to pass people.
Yes, betches! I am faster than all of you.
Is this not the finish line?
Some old man passes me, sprinting. I want to tell him I probably ran faster than him the whole thing, so there’s no need to act like he’s faster now.
I lope over the finish line.
At my bag pickup, a guy tells me I look tired. I wish I could say something smart. I reply, “I am.”
Outside of a line of Porta-Potties, I lay on grass and take a selfie that I caption, “I am never doing that again.”