Monday, October 15, 2007


Well then, I ran and I finished. Not as fast as I originally planned (unfortunately I added my predicted finish time when I was running 10 minute miles OH so long ago and before injury), but I'm not hurt or blistered or all that hobbly today.

It's a nice feeling, you know, to not die from doing something you signed your own self up for.

To quote a wise man (Bubba), "This was your big stupid idea."

But I won't lie and say it was super easy. I mean, it's still 13.1 miles of running. Let's not kid ourselves about that. Running, for any distance, is never just easy like Sunday morning. I have just discovered that when considering distance running, there are different activities that coincide with the mile markers.

Like, miles 1-3 always suck ass. In an "I don't understand how I'm supposed to go on for 13 miles if I can barely barely breathe without snarfling or set a pace that feels right" kind of way. But I knew this. I have never gone on a run where the first 2-3 miles weren't just a total pain in the ass. This is when I always doubt that running beyond 3 miles is actually possible or going to happen.

Miles 4-6 are usually my best. I tend to check my watch a lot at the beginning of any run waiting to pass the 30 min mark because I know that beyond that, for at least a few miles, I'll be in my comfort zone where I breathe in a regular way while still running at normal speed (read: not running in that super slow way where bystanders are thinking, "She knows she's not running right? Because that is not running.") I also spend this time trying to situate myself in a pack of not-gross people so that in later miles I won't spend my extra energy hating their American flag shorts, being grossed out by their inexplicably bare cellulite or baffled by their protruding beer bellies - all while we run the same speed and I wonder how I got lumped in with all the weirdos. And, also, what is wrong with me (has my ass jiggling increased to the point where I can only belong with the other gelatinous runners?) and I should be ashamed of myself for thinking mean thoughts about people who are at least as equipped to run this race as I am.

Miles 7-10 are my slow and steady miles. This is when my speed (however minimal in the first place) takes a nose dive. I settle into my "survival" pace. I start to pick landmarks in the distance to focus on. I do a lot of checking in with my parts to make sure that there's no blistering, aching or stabbing pain going on. I look longingly for the "Sports Drink Ahead" signs and I make up names for other runners to keep myself entertained.

Miles 10-12 are when I put those perfectly appropriate names to good use. This is where I came to know (and avoid) "Farmer-Blow", "Big Farts", "Someone Give That Woman a Tshirt", "Bitch Who Talks on the Cell Phone", "Walks and Sprints But Don't Worry Because I Always End Up Ahead of Her", "Flag Shorts" (yes, he was there) and "Nice Dreads". I have to occupy myself so that I don't think about the fact that my legs each weigh two hundred pounds and if I stop or slow down even more (not possible) that I'll probably never start running again and will get to the finish line dead last.

The last mile. The mile between exhaustion and relief. It is a gloriously desperate mile. It is the mile where I stop seeing "Farmer Blow" and start imagining the finish line banner everywhere I look. There are more spectators over the last mile and, thank god, because this is where I'm most likely to bring shame upon myself by collapsing in a gooey heap of giving-up, which I will not do with so many people watching.

It is an interesting method of self-preservation, my vanity. At the end of the day, I'm a very self-involved and vein individual that prefers solitude when behaving disgracefully and will continue to behave appropriately as long as there are people watching.

Meanwhile, I ignore the much faster runners who are long since finished and strolling lazily along the sidelines with their finishers medals, wearing flip-flops looking all, "Hey, we already finished and don't you wish you didn't slow down at mile 7 because you could be me right now eating a plain bagel and trying not to vomit."

It is an emotional mile and one where I'm acutely aware of the look on my face and my posture because now is when I know spectators are looking for the tortured faces of people who never should have tried to run a half marathon. I'm determined to look like I meant to do this. I put on my best, "I'm totally loving this and living in the glory of the moment!" face while I try to figure out which of my internal organs is shutting down.

13.1. And, btw, when did a tenth of a mile hurt so bad? Geez man. Seeing that big 13 mile marker and then realizing that I had to turn a corner and hit the gas for .1 miles to the finish line really tried to kill me. I was determined to do The Big Finish to the finish line but I'm sure it didn't look like a Big Finish to anyone but me. I'm sure it looked more like a "Hey, she's still breathing, that's something..." kind of finish to most spectators, but inside I felt like I was sprinting. While dragging tugboats behind me.

Crossing that finish line was the best feeling ever. Well, not as good as *walking* around aimlessly looking for an orange wedge and a bottle of water with my wobbly legs, but pretty fucking good. Also very good was managing to see Bubba and The Dog at the starting line, Mile 4, Mile 10 and the finish line cheering and wagging, respectively since I know that they probably traveled as far as I did just to make that happen.

And then I had Celebratory Cheeseburger and Race Fries to restore my salt balance and allow me to properly absorb the water in my Sprite.

See, I'm very technical.

P.S. I am signed up for another, albeit shorter, race.


  1. Congratulations, Jessica!

    I am so very proud of you! You are a much better woman than I!

    >>bystanders are thinking, "She knows she's not running right? Because that is not running." << LOL!!

  2. Congratulations!!! You did it!!! YAY!!!!!!

  3. Congratulations!!! The big question is...what did you eat, after???

    I had a huge Krung Thai take-out all to myself...yum.

  4. Congratulations!!
    So awesome!!

    (I personally have never been able to figure out how anybody manages to run more than 5 miles)

  5. Wow!! Congratulations!! I bet nothing tastes better than a celebratory cheeseburger and race fries!

  6. What is so funny to me is that cast of characters you just described pretty much sums up every single one of my long races. Even flag shorts, which is particularly humorous when flag shorts is also jiggly ass and you wonder if they used an actual car dealership sized flag to sew those babies up.
    Something about distance racing brings out my inner meanie and she ain't pretty.
    Look at you -- Finny the super runner!!

  7. Wow. I can only imagine what it's like to use the words "running" and "finished" together in a sentence, let alone one describing the 13 miles that I cranked out yesterday. You are awesome beyond belief -- congratulations!

    Seriously, how can one take part in any sort of distance running and maintain a beer gut? That must require some real dedication to both pastimes.

  8. Congratulations! I'm glad to hear you survived, and did so well at that!

  9. Congratulations!

  10. That's so great! I especially enjoyed the remarks about arranging your face for the spectators in the last mile - totally with you there. Or, like, making your form look really good like it's a total breeze, this is just a training run whatever people no big deal.

  11. Oh, I love your description of running. My only running experience was cross country in high school (only 5K), but you pegged the whole thing perfectly! Although, I'm in no way comparing my 5Ks with what you just did. Great job!

  12. You kick BUTT girl!! I can't even run to the mailbox...and here you are completing a half marathon!!!!! Way TO GO!!

  13. Count me in as totally impressed! Way to go!!!! *it's an annoying amount of exclamation points but you deserve it!!!!!

  14. finny--
    congrats! i had a much better race than i did last year, and LOVED reading your race description--as kelli said, it also describes all the runners at mine as well, right down to the cellulite thighs in front of me (if only she could have left that jacket tied around her waist for miles 7-9). And the older person who was hobbling in front of me that i was compelled to pass--as in, "yes, i passed you, you seventy-something person and yes, i am only a forty-something person but i can run faster than you! but only barely! and no, this does NOT make me a good person! it makes me a pathetic one in that i am gleeful at barely passing someone who's got an easy 30 years on me". And the younger woman in front of me who was WALKING half the time, and was still ahead of me until we were at mile 12.5.

    Yes, it's hard. That's why i've already signed up for a 10 miler in a month. I must be insane.

    Enjoy NOT running for the next few days...i know i will.

  15. Congrats! I love reading about your training/race stories along with AfricanKelli...Keeps me motivated and I like that you show the reality of setting those goals, and the dedication you need to finish them. You'll get your 10 minute mile next time!

  16. Lera - Um, how many children's lives are you in charge of? Yes, I think we know who the better woman is here. Although I love your support! :)

    Fury - I DID! Will miracles never cease?

    Sara - Dude, Bubba took me to my favorite burger joint where I had intended to wolf a cheeseburger and every last fry I could get my hands on. However, the post run nausea was still semi-prevalent, so he had most of my fries and I didn't even finish my burger. But it was good!! And, OOH! I had a soda! I can't tell you the last time I drank a Sprite. It was WICKED good.

    Rohan - I'm starting to wonder myself. I think it was all a mirage.

    Lynn - You said it, lady. Although I probably should have waited a *little* bit longer. I could barely finish my fries!!! That's a new one for me.

    Kell - I can't tell you how much better it makes me feel to know that *real runners* like yourself sometimes end up amongst the freaks, too. I imagine this is the only time they get out with the general population. That must be why they don't realize how hideously they're presenting themselves.

    Meg - Totally! I was wondering the same thing! I mean, here I am, like, trying to decide if I should have shredded wheat before I go to bed on Saturday night and this guy's probably out tossing back pints! Meanwhile, there we are, running at the same pace. *Sigh*

    Stephanie - Next time, faster!

    Kim - Thanks!!

    Tasterspoon - Yes, exactly. I'm such a big faker on my way to the finish line. Like, Hey people, this is no biggie, I mean, I'm all relaxed and easy going. This is so easy. *LIES*

    Wendy - My friend, I'm still convinced that the first three miles of any run is really the worst. I mean, the last three were no picnic either, but a 5K is the least rewarding of all races, in my book.

    Raesha - Remember dahling, I started out not being able to run for three straight miles. And, I used to tell people that "I may do a lot of things, but running is not one of them". I apparently lie.

    Laura - Thank you for all your exclamation points! I felt the same way!!!!!!

    Duncan - Where DO people get all that cellulite and WHY do they insist on wearing those short flappy running shorts so that we can see it in all its glory?? Yick. I know they make longer running shorts. I have some. I am going to start loaning them out.

  17. Wow! Good for you and Congratulations on a race well run. Now, um...let's see...the next race will be shorter? That means you'll have to have stunts to make up for it -- um...Finnyknits...can you knit while you run??? ;-)

  18. congratulations! Mile 11 is always "the wall" for me, where i want to keel over, barf, and go home. i'm glad you made it through it!

  19. Yay, congrats Jess! I'm so proud of you! Reading your blog makes me miss you :( And the bag! How cute is the bag? Now only if you could run while sewing.


[2013 update: You can't comment as an anonymous person anymore. Too many douchebags were leaving bullshit SPAM comments and my inbox was getting flooded, but if you're here to comment in a real way like a real person, go to it.]

Look at you commenting, that's fun.

So, here's the thing with commenting, unless you have an email address associated with your own profile, your comment will still post, but I won't have an email address with which to reply to you personally.

Sucks, right?

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But, if you ever want to email me directly to talk about pumpkins or shoes or what it's like to spend a good part of your day Swiffering - shoot me an email to finnyknitsATgmailDOTcom.