Diva legs

marathon legs

The conversation went something like this past Sunday:

AGMA:  I really need you two to try a bit harder.

Legs:  Ahem – lady, we’re going as fast as we can.

AGMA:  Look, I gained 3 pounds carb loading since Thursday and hydrated like a pro for the past two days just for you.  And I’ve been doing a great job taking in nutrition on the run. You two have everything you need to go faster.  So what’s the deal?

Legs:   Yea – thanks for doing all that, but we already told you…we’re moving as fast as we can.  Seriously.

AGMA:  I admit I didn’t have the best training season this winter.  My 23 mile training run was a long 6 weeks ago.  But I did 18 miles two weeks ago.  That’s gotta count for something!

Legs:  Well, that could actually be part of the problem…   Six weeks was really too long ago for your long training run.  We know you tried to make it up a bit with the 18 miler, but two weeks really isn’t quite long enough for us to fully recover from that.  We’re still a bit undertrained and tired.

AGMA:  Complain, complain, complain…

Legs:  You can’t get away with that stuff at your age.  You’re not 35 anymore you know.

AGMA:  Ouch!  That hurts!

Legs:  How ironic…we’re hurting right now too.

AGMA:  But ya’ll did so well in Chicago last year.

Legs:  For heaven’s sake – that was 12 months ago!  You were 8 lbs lighter, Ms. Chunky, when you ran Chicago, it was cooler and Chicago is a pancake flat course.  By the way, what the hell is with these hills today??  Did you know there were going to be hills in this run??

AGMA:   Kinda…  But seriously, you both need to pick up the tempo.  I really wanted to finish with a time around 6 hours and 30 minutes.  At the rate you’re both going, I’m not gonna do it.

Legs:  Oh boo hoo…now that’s a real 1st world problem right there. Do we need to remind you that you are running today, against our advice, while you have a raging cold.  We mean, who does that??  We tried to tell you this morning not to get up and run.  But nooooooo…..

AGMA:   OK – you don’t need to remind me.  Trust me, I really wanted to turn the alarm off this morning, take some cold meds and go back to sleep.  But three other people are doing this race because I talked them into it.  I couldn’t not show up at the start.

Legs:  Uh…yes, you could have.  But that’s beside the point now.  We’re over 22 miles into this thing.  We promise you we’ll finish, but it’ll be on our terms.  Got it?

AGMA:  Good grief.  I’m totally dealing with a couple of divas.  But, okay, I guess…

Legs:  Glad to see that you’re being more reasonable.

AGMA:  But when I cross the finish line, can I get some action down there?  Like prancing or leaping or maybe a little dance?

Legs:  Bitch

(The Legs did indeed keep their promise and finished the 26.2 miles in a very slow 6 hour 41 minutes and change.  AGMA was grateful to them that they enabled her to finish her 7th marathon. And, despite their petulance, they did provide several leaps at the finish then proceeded to ache for the next 3 days to spite her. )


Fuzzy butts as far as the eye could see


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!