Fuzzy butts as far as the eye could see

fuzzybutts

Here’s a running joke…

How can you tell if someone ran a marathon?  Don’t worry; they’ll tell you!  (Rimshot)

But now that we’re on the subject and since you’re virtually twisting my arm, I give up. I’ll tell you.  I ran a marathon.  My first.  Last weekend.  A marathon.  26.2 miles.

Holy crap…  What the hell is wrong with me?  Why would a sane 61 year old person do this?

I think the answer is obvious.  I’m just a little bit crazy.

It’s one thing if your running style resembles the hare.  If you’re fast and have a chance to qualify for Boston.  Or have the chance to win your “age group”.  Or want to be the fastest marathoner in your hometown. You know, those people who run 26.2 miles in three hours.  Freaks.

It’s an entirely different matter if your more “mature” and have telltale tortoise tendencies.  You know, the “little engine that could” syndrome…  I think I can, I think I can; I know I can, I know I can.  Slow and steady.  So slow and steady that it takes you almost six and a half hours to run 26.2 miles.  Not that I’m referring to anybody specifically…

Yeah, okay – that was me.

But as slow as I was, I did finish.  I’d heard that many people break down when they cross the finish line of their first marathon.   It’s an overwhelming accomplishment. Being half German, I felt as if it would be genetically impossible for me to display emotion like that in public.  Part of that whole German stoic work ethic, you know?  You run 26.2 miles, then wash the car, vacuum the house, paint the garage floor then it’s off to pole dancing class.  No big deal.  Just a normal day.

I was wrong.

While I didn’t break down blubbering like Tammy Faye Bakker at a 1985 PTL fundraiser, I did get very verklempt as I crossed the finish.  I was literally fighting back the tears.  I guess my “feeling” brain knew it was a bigger deal than my “thinking” brain wanted to admit.  I guess I was proud of myself.  I’m not used to that feeling.

I’ll tell you…when you’re on your feet for six and a half hours, all sorts of interesting and potentially disturbing thoughts go through your mind.  I discovered all kinds of things about myself and running in general last weekend.  So here’s my brain dump – in no particular order – from my very first “AGMA’s burnin’ off the crazy 26.2 miles”:

  1. The tutu isn’t just for little girls taking ballet lessons any more.  I saw more fuzzy butts last weekend than at my 4th grade ballet recital.  I danced as a stalk of celery in that particular event by the way…  Just go online and search for “running tutu’s” and prepare to scratch your head in bewilderment.  It’s a thing.
  2. Slow runners get minimal love.  At the beginning, there’s great crowd support and music from live bands all along the course.  Yippee!  But as the day wears on, most of the bands playing music shut down.  And the crowds drift away. Instead of wildly cheering crowds at the finish, there a few hardy souls, waiting for “their” runner.  Crickets.  Instead of all of the wonderful treats and give-a-ways at the finish for the runners, there are empty tents with empty tables. More crickets.  I managed to scrounge up a banana and a beer so I was happy.
  3. Suffering in a group is much more fun than suffering alone.  Seriously.  Unless you’re a Kenyan, it’s all about the peer support.  I was mentored by a runner 25 years my junior who helped me get to the finish with a smile on my face. Actually it was more of a crooked grimace.
  4. Just like in life, you have to run your own race.  Most of the time, it means you have to let the hares pass you and not worry about it.  You have a different goal than they do.  I think I can, I think I can; I know I can, I know I can.  Go the distance.  No Rosie Ruiz shortcuts.
  5. A shot of single malt Irish whiskey the night before your run is extremely helpful.  Come to think of it, a shot of single malt Irish whiskey in any situation is extremely helpful.
  6. No matter how svelt and gazelle-like you feel when you’re running, you still have little, squat fireplug legs, a large chest, a short waist and a hefty midsection in the official photographs.  Damn.
  7. A week after you run 26.2 miles, you rear-end will still be sore

I know, seven is a weird number.

Would I do it again?  Oh yeah.

I already have my name in the New York Marathon lottery.  And if I don’t get picked for New York, I’m going to go for the Chicago and Marine Corps Marathon lotteries when they open.  And if I don’t get into those, I’ll probably try Philadelphia.

Because I’m just a little bit crazy.

Aging gracefully my ass!

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67 thoughts on “Fuzzy butts as far as the eye could see

  1. Wow, that’s quite an accomplishment. I know a few people who have run in marathons and I know how long and hard they trained. And I know of some who trained for months and were not able to reach the finish line, so you did good. Congratulations. You have inspired me to train for something. I’m going to start tomorrow to prep for the 26.2 meter walk. To the grocery store. And back. Carrying two bags of groceries. Wish me luck.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. For starters, CONGRATULATIONS in the capitals. You’re an inspiration!
    I’m 20 and I can’t run 500m without breaking down for breath. I’m going to go join an exercise class this week itself.
    You’re an amazing, strong and beautiful person, and that has nothing to do with your age. It has everything to do with the person you are under that body!
    Great job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow – you are very insightful at 20 to make a comment like that! I don’t think that would be a “typical” 20 year old response. Or at least I sure wouldn’t have said something like that when I was 20. The mantra back then was “Don’t trust anybody over 30.” Ha! And you sure wouldn’t have read their blogs (if blogs had existed back then…)

      I hope you do join that exercise class! Just so many great reasons to get active, from the purely physical benefits to the psychological/emotional benefits to the disease prevention benefits. Do what you can, when you can and you’ll be able to go well over 500m before breathing hard!

      Your many compliments are appreciated more than you know… Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

    • The knees are good! I was never very athletic as a child or teenager or younger adult, so I guess I saved them from too much wear and tear. Until now… Had really sore quads which I’ve never had on a long run. Got some great myofascial release 2 days after the run which helped tremendously. Thanks for the 2Xwow! And I really liked being called “milady”…

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    • Do be proud of your 3 mile run! There are many people who couldn’t do a 3 block run! Truth was that I was too busy with work, raising kids, taking care of a house and yard when I was half my age so I couldn’t have done even 3 miles back then! And had I had access to a smart phone, the internet and social media, it would have been all over! I just had to wait for the right “season” of life! The downside is that I will never be fast – that ship sailed a while ago. But that’s okay – just glad to be part of the party even if I’m not a VIP. Ha! Thanks much for the congrats!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Love point 1! In fact love the whole article – well done on your marathon!!

    I entered a triathlon as a relay team recently and took on the cycling part – was pretty proud of myself too! No fuzzy parts on display, although seeing the swimmers streaking across the tennis court in their swimsuits, to pass the baton to us waiting cyclists, brightened my waiting time!! Louise

    Liked by 1 person

    • Louise, I like your style! 🙂 Do they do the tutu thing in the UK? Or is it just us crazy Yanks?

      I’m jealous of you – I never learned how to ride a bike! I think I did a blog post on it last summer. However I DID take a lesson and bought a helmet so I’m figuring this will be the summer of the cycle! But I’m a wild cycling fan thought – went to the TdFrance 2 years ago. Going to go the Worlds here in the US in September too! Gotta love those guys in those tight little riding outfits! Thanks again for the “well done” and for liking my post!

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      • Yes, do get on a bike! It’s so liberating: you can travel far more miles than running and pass through beautiful countryside as you do so! I started using cleats on my bike last year and that was entertaining viewing…for others!! Two tumbles to date!! (I have a blog post on the subject if you want me to send it)

        All sorts of races here in the UK and it wouldn’t surprise me if we have a tutu one!! We even have a red nose day where we all wear red noses for charity…as you do…look forward to your next post!

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      • Yes – please send me the post! My husband bought me a bike in the 90’s, and I would try to ride it up and down our street. I took a couple of pretty hard tumbles, so that was the end of that. I think I’m ready to try again (be be upright, not tumble!) I really admire the cyclists who race on the dreaded cobbles; now that’s a wild ride!

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  4. Congratulations on the marathon race. I know too what it feels like, when the music has stopped and the people at the finish line are tired. I have only none one Marathon and I am glad I did it. One foot swelled up the shoe. The other foot was okay. There was quite a distance from the finish line to where my car and things was and I realised that to get there was almost impossible. But I felt the Runner’s high and talked to strangers like I knew them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Congrats on your marathon! So few people can say they have hung on for 26.2 miles! And I know what you mean about having to walk afterwards… Ugh! But you’re actually supposed to walk for a mile after the marathon and then walk for another 2 miles later in the day to keep your legs from getting too funky. I didn’t do the extra 2 miles later in the day. 🙂

      Sadly, I’ve never gotten the runners high, but running does help me be more “balanced” i.e. I don’t get as stressed and upset about things when I’ve gotten a good run in. I would LOVE to feel that high though! Thanks for the congrats and taking the time to post!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Awwww – thanks! I’m just gettin’ so much love from this post…

      My mantra during my training was “you’ve had two male children via natural childbirth and raised them to productive adulthoods with no arrest records; running 26 miles is nothing compared to that.” TMI, I know, but that’s honestly and sincerely how I got through the training. Now you know waaaayyyy too much about me! Thank you again!

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    • Hmmm – I haven’t had any single malt since the night before the race. It’s a chilly night out and I have a very nice bottle of Green Spot downstairs that I think I hear calling my name… Brilliant idea Donna!!

      Thank you, thank you for the two congrats! Completing the marathon was pretty amazing, but having my post called “terrifically enjoyable” is also pretty amazing and to me, is as much of an accomplishment. But I’m kind of weird… And kinda crazy… 🙂

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    • I think they only destroy male Italian bodies… 🙂 Seriously, as slow as I go and as careful as I am with my training, it’s highly doubtful the running will destroy it. It’ll probably be the single malt whiskey that gets me first!

      Thanks for the kudos! I think part of the “addictive-ness” (is that a word?) for me is the community that is built around running. I have made some really good friend through running and we all have something that’s a big part of our lives that we share. Much like the “soccer moms” that I used to hang with when my children were young and in school – it was such a HUGE part of my life back then. It’s the “pack” you run with at the time that shares your passion.

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    • Thank you, thank you and thank you! And you wouldn’t be overly awed if you saw me – I’m probably the most unlikely looking person to run a marathon you’ll ever see. I had a couple of people do double takes when I told them… I just smiled.

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  5. If you make it to NYC or Philly PLEASE let me know. I can’t promise a band, or even a boom box –can you still get them these days? But I WILL crank my iPhone all the way up and blast out a victory song as you cross the finish line.
    Best part of your being slower–I don’t have to get up early or fight for a parking space.
    And I won’t even insist that you wear your celery costume to get the beer I’ll be holding in my hand. (Although it WOULD make it much easier to identify you!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • You CAN still get boom boxes! I heard that on NPR last week…

      Yeah – my husband came to cheer me at the 1 mile point. He easily could have gone back to the hotel, gotten a 5 hour nap and still made it to the finish with time to spare!

      Thanks for the offer to by my cheerleader! I’m flattered! Can you do the perfect cheer? 🙂 I WILL let you know if either NYC or Philly makes the final cut! I’m leaning towards Philly because lots of folks in my running group are planning to go and it would just be FUN! But NY is so iconic. They’d just better have beer!

      I will NEVER forget that celery costume… The theme was a vegetable tray. Pretty lame now that I reflect on it. I had a cap that tied under my chin and fake foliage sticking out of the top of the hat! And it was a glow in the dark fabric – probably radioactive I bet. It was the early 60’s… During the actual recital, while we were dancing, they turned the lights out. My teacher neglect to tell us that small bit of information. She was lucky nobody got killed!

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      • I just looked up the dates for the two marathons and saw they are both in November. Well, at least you won’t have to worry about heat stroke, and I will definitely be in the area for the entire month. At least that’s the plan so far.
        You won’t get the boom box, but you WILL get the cheer. (In my past life, I owned pompoms)

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      • It’s a date!! That is unless some incredibly delicious trip comes up that you just HAVE to go on… That’s my worry about committing to a marathon in the fall – there are GREAT travel deals in the fall. I don’t want to let one pass me by but then again I can just blow off training. What to do, what to do…?

        I’m supposed to hear about the NY Marathon today. And for the record, if I head East, I want the pompoms!!

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    • Thanks so much for ALL of the kind words! I’m pretty sure I break most rules of grammar in my writing, but at my age, I can’t worry about that too much. And I love that you think I’m funny! I kind of think I’m funny, but it’s always good to get some reinforcement!

      And you too can run a marathon if you: 1. Have moderately healthy knees and hips 2. Are willing to train 3 times a week for 6 to 12 months. 3. Are slightly crazy 🙂

      Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You are my new hero! There is a “marathon” here in Virginia in September called Mudderella, and I want to do it so bad. How my 300 lb ass (no offense to your donkey) is going to accomplish this, I have no idea. I am trying to lose weight, but my jerk husband brought home a huge box of chocolate for Valentine’s day. Really? Yes, really. But I have until September. I can do this. Congrats on your first!

    Liked by 2 people

    • The donkey takes no offense… You can do this!! I use the Galloway Method of running. It’s a run/walk method and is virtually injury free if you ease into it and GREAT for those of us (talking about me not you) who are a bit older. I could absolutely NOT have done 26.2 without it – just too hard on the body. Google it and check it out. You may have a Galloway group in your city you can train with! So excited for you!

      And it’s nice that your husband actually got your something for Valentines Day even if it does undermine all of your diet plans. In a passive aggressive sort of way. Hopefully it’s all gone and can tempt you no more!

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    • Thanks much! Not to take anything away from my sterling 6:23:16 for 26.2 miles, but there were a number of people who did an ultra-marathon of 110 miles! They started the day before and ran all through the night… Yikes! My husband saw some of them finish and he said they didn’t look any different that the marathoners.

      But I will still accept the holy cow! Thanks again!

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  7. Pingback: Inspiration and Health – Starting a New Personal Trend | Alpha Female, Mainstream Cat

    • As my dad used to say when I told him about an accomplishment (and remember, this was a long time ago…), “That and a dime will buy you a cup of coffee.” I actually DO remember coffee being a dime! But it was awful coffee! Ha!

      Even though he would not be impressed (he passed in 2000), I’m so honored to have your respect and kudos! Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Verklempt: had to look that one up. Not sharing the link or meaning! I am gonna use that everyday for the next year!!!!

    Second have you seen the movie ” Run Fat Boy Run”? If not watch it, this post caused me to recall it with chuckles.

    🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey DB!! So sorry it took me so long to get back to you. Yikes!! Mike Meyers did a reoccurring skit on Saturday Night Live in the early 90’s called “Coffee Talk with Linda Richman”. He played Linda and used the word verklempt all the time in the skit. He/she would say, when overcome with emotion, “I’m verklempt; talk amongst yourselves.” Definitely a word to use everyday!

      Liked by 1 person

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