Wednesday, March 24, 2010

the hardest thing(s) about running 26.2 miles

there is a term, widely used in therapy circles, called "parallel process". the one more commonly used in everyone else's lives is "oh my god, seriously? me too!" i have already waxed lactic about the metaphor between the marathon and a more generic struggle for everyday self-actualization (whether it's learning to become a better listener to your partner, or learning to become better at operating the thermostat), but apparently my character had been atrophying over the recent winter training months.

excluding racers birthed at southern equatorial altitudes, the traffic in LA simulated virtual conditions for the first 4 miles of road rage (at least for the other 34,991 participants) on this particular course. clearly, days filled with sitting 65 miles below the speed limit in the requisite bmw/lexus/mercedes creates significant levels of unsuppressed agitation when commuting for one's venti soy decaf botox. this became more apparent, when the start was delayed by 27 minutes because shuttle buses were still stuck on the freeway to dodger stadium. subsequently chris o'donnell, shia lebouef, that one navy doctor from the bachelor a few seasons ago, and several thousand other less attractive people in shorts began walking, shoving, and snarling at each other for a PR.

in more of an effort than "not being last" or "just finishing before someone wearing cotton shorts and tube socks" i decided it was time to focus on attaining a loftier goal by beating a more serious competitor; oprah winfrey. * and assembled myself (with approximately 27 other 10 minute queen bees and wannabes) behind the 4:30 balloon toting pied piper of the clif bar pace team. it was all going so well- and fast- through west hollywood, beverly hills and rodeo drive.

my half marathon time was great. unfortunately, the course expectation was to run and repeat until i crossed the beeping mat in santa monica to become swaddled in a space blanket. i'm not sure what happened during the next 5 miles, other than noticing the balloons moving further away, coupled with an awareness that all of the people who were tracking my bib number at every bleeping mat saw this actuality too. finally, passing under mile marker 19, i did something that is exceptionally irritating in others; i pulled out my cell phone.

- i'm-so-sorry-i'm-not-going-to-make-my-time-i-feel-so-awful-and-everyone-is-watching-me-and-i-came-all-this-way-and-i-did-all-those-runs-in-the-freezing-cold-and-i've-been-up-since-3:30-this-morning-and-now-i'm-letting-everyone-down-and-i-don't-want-people-to-be-disappointed-in-me.....

- are you crying?

- yes.

- you are doing this because you want to. i hate to tell you, but unless nike is going to be after you for sponsorship in the next year, i really don't think you have anything to be too worried about.

- but-i-want-you-to-be-proud-of-me.

- i'm proud of you every day.

the remaining four miles were a series of excruciating bullet points; 22 i saw a friend, briefly whimpered in her direction, and we parted ways; 23 there was a "we heard you fart" sign, proving that no matter how shite you feel, farts are always funny; 24 and 25 had plenty of spectators calling out "looking good, disa!", "you're almost there, disa, stay strong!" ** reinforcing why, unless i do my next marathon in scandinavia, registering under "hjordys" is simply not as easy to pronounce, and therefore gratifying- to them, or me.

the final stage of grief comes with acceptance, where i now realize that short of michael flately lining up at the start, and performing an abbreviated version of riverdance on my feet, i am obviously not meant to develop black toenails. the same cannot be said for some pretty raunchy looking heart rate monitor/waist band/overstuffed back pocket chafe.

* who reportedly ran a 4:30 at the marine corps marathon way back in one of her skinny stages.
** a sales 'technique' that is utterly annoying when i call an 800 number to check on account information.


ruth said...

I'm so grateful to have been that friend at mile 22 (that was me, right?) Whimpering ... YES, that's what you were doing, come to think of it. :) Don't worry, you have an adorable whimper.

I was so proud of you!

Disa said...

it was so good to see you. i had been thinking about getting to mile 22 and was worried i wouldnt see you. i needed a witness to my pain to make it real, so i could actually get over myself and move on! :)