Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Morning in the Life of a Crazy Person

Recently I came across a Runner's World article from 1995 that I'd saved in my senior memory book. The article talked about how people think runners are crazy, and the author was embracing the crazy. This piece inspired the copy I wrote for the track page in my senior year book (I was copy editor for my high school yearbook...I'm sure this is shocking news if you didn't know). On Sunday morning as I was driving to Ann Arbor to run the Ann Arbor Half Marathon I was thinking for the first time in a while that being a runner makes one a little bit insane. It's a strange dichotomy because running makes me insane but is also my sanity. How does that work? Just for fun I thought I'd give you a glimpse into my crazy mind for a few hours last Sunday morning. I hope you're ready for this.

4:22 a.m. Wake up with a start realizing the baby has slept all night. Lie awake thinking about random things...things that come together to become a whole thing and keep you awake. Fitfully fall back to sleep.

4:53 a.m. Wake up and realize it's just easier to get up than wait seven minutes for the alarm. Groggily walk to the closet and put on my running clothes. Put in contacts, brush my teeth, amble downstairs to let the dogs out.

5:15-5:45 a.m. Attempt to actually wake up. Eat breakfast (English muffin with Trader Joe's cocoa almond spread) and have cup of coffee #1. Snuggle the dogs. Wake my husband up to tell him I'm leaving, and then I'm out the door with cup of coffee #2.

5:50 a.m. Everything on the radio sucks. Plug in my phone while weaving all over the dark highway to listen to a Spotify playlist instead. Thank you Drake and R. Kelly for keeping me awake.

6:49 a.m. Arrive at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor. Pay $5 to park. Not amused. Sit in the car for a few minutes before jogging to the bathroom. Regretting cup of coffee #2.

7:05 a.m. Back in the car. It's cold (about 16 degrees). Listen to more music and play on Twitter. Attempt to relax. 

7:15 a.m. Emerge from the warm confines of my car and walk to the finish line. The sun is starting to rise, but there's only shade behind the monstrosity that is the University of Michigan's football stadium.

7:30 a.m. Race starts perfectly on time. I align myself with the 8:58 pacer. I am a pretty solitary runner and am generally annoyed by pace groups, but I need to figure out how to handle my first half marathon in almost a year.

7:39 a.m.(approximately) One mile in. The pace group is running in downtown Ann Arbor. You can hear runners talking and the drum beat of our feet. Spectators? None. It is a ghost town.

7:57 a.m. Nearing the 5k mark running on Geddes Road. It's quiet (why aren't people out on their lawns?!?) It's legit hilly. That part I dig.

8:42 a.m. Miles 3-8 are mostly a blur. We run on roads with little crowd support. The pace group is getting smaller. I walk through the mile 8 water station and realize I can't stick with the pace group. The guy talking about how he "didn't train but just did a half Ironman" is annoying me anyway.

8:50something a.m. The sun is really bright, and it feels great. Crap. I forgot to put on sunscreen. Great. Now I'll have a sunburn and wrinkles. Rookie mistake. Shoot I also forgot to put Body Glide under my sports bra. That's gonna leave a mark.

9:00 a.m. Mile 10 is up the hill near the medical center. This hill is serious business. Oh I need to make an appointment with my GI doctor at U-M medical center. I wonder if other people around me have Crohn's? Doubtful. Lucky bastards.

9:02 a.m. We run into the Arboretum. The asphalt turns to gravel. I read this in the course description. It didn't prepare me for how annoying it would be to run on the gravel. Screw it. I'm walking. When's the last time I walked in a half marathon other than through water stations? It's been a while. My goal is 2:10. I'm still good right? My stupid watch battery died. Killing me.

9:10ish a.m.  The hill in the arboretum is rough. I count to 60 in my head as I walk up the hill. I love hills, but this is too much. Quads screaming. Oh my goodness there's the water station. It's probably just easier to keep walking until it's I get some water. Maybe I need Gatorade too. Yup...definitely need Gatorade.

9:20 a.m. Ooh we're running through campus. It's so pretty and relatively flat at this point. I hear a voice behind me. Is that a pacer? (Glance back). Crap that's definitely the 9:10 pacer. His voice is loud. Is a loud voice a requirement for a pacer? He sounds pretty engaging actually. They're definitely going to pass me. 

9:27 a.m. Running past what appear to be vacant frat houses, and I hear nothing. I listen for noise from the finish line maybe half a mile away. Nothing. Where are the people? Where is the noise? 

9:31 a.m. Oh my God there's the finish. Hurts. Hurts. Hurts. Keep running. Done! Now where's my medal? Wait THIS is my medal? Come on. 

9:35 a.m. Drink water. Stretch. I've got to walk back to my car. Is there a shuttle or something? I don't see anything. It'll be good to walk it out.

9:45 a.m. My hands are free-zing. Why is this water so cold? The wind is brutal. Why didn't I sleep in this morning? Oh right. Because I'm a bad ass.

9:55 a.m. Heat in the car as high as it will go. Frozen. Now I've got to drive home. My hands won't work to turn on my Spotify list. I guess Sirius has to do.

As I do a play by play of what race day is like, I definitely sound crazy. Wasn't it Einstein who said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? In that case runners are nuts. But come all know I'm a little crazy. That's part of my charm, right?

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