Some people like running and all things athletic. Some people THRIVE on this stuff. The competition. The sweat, the blood, the tears. Me? Not so much. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I love running. I hate running. Ok. I actually love to hate it and hate to love it. Are you pickin’ up what I’m puttin’ down here, heifers? I love it, and hate it. And I am obsessed with doing it – and can’t stop. Won’t stop, even though my old, decrepit arthritic knees are begging me to stop. I can’t. I won’t. I’d go nuts. And then my family would wonder what happened to me and where their next meal was coming from…so, yeah. Can’t stop running.
And I KNOW you guys know all about my friend Erica by now. The one who drags me into all these shenanigans. Or maybe she would say I drag her (like the triathlon, originally that idea was mine – I blame a lapse in judgment and maybe an Ambien-induced slumber for that…but that’s neither here nor there at this point.) If you need a refresher on Erica, click here. It’s the triathlon post, so get cozy before reading it because it’s long. Very long. Very, very long. Come to think of it, this post may be almost as long. Sorry.
After the triathlon was over…. we had one more event together on the horizon … the Lincoln Half Marathon (and after the whole medal “SITUATION” (not that I’m still bitter)… I did verify that there was, in fact, a shiny medal awaiting me at the finish line for this race. Because, WHO DOESN’T GIVE A MEDAL FOR A RACE!!!?!
Ok yeah see, I thought maybe I was over it by now. I’m not.
Anyway – medal confirmed. I was booked on a Friday night out – it was a typical boring weatherless night and I had a great flight, sitting next to some really nice guy that gave me his business card. I forget his name because I lost his card. I think this may have been foreshadowing what was to come (insert dramatic horror movie music here. Use your imagination) And hey, random guy, if you’re reading this, email me!
(Is that weird? I don’t want to be weird. But we were networking. Until I dropped his card in the airport toilet.)
I get to Lincoln. And it’s late. It’s VERY late, like midnight-late. If y’all recall, I am geriatric. I go to sleep every night by 8pm because I’m up at the crack of dawn to run or hit the gym. I was barely able to hold my eyes open during the 90 minute ride back to Lincoln (because of course, I flew into Omaha, but that’s a whole other story that we won’t get into).
Arrived to Erica’s house, and she was kind enough to have stayed awake to greet me, then we summarily hit the hay. I think I had a record 2.1 seconds from hitting the pillow until I was out cold. I was exhausted. Networking on a flight takes a lot out of you, you know. All that smiling and nodding can be exhausting.
Saturday morning rolls around – Erica and I hang out all day and until it’s time for the EXPO! Who doesn’t love a good race expo?! Let me add a few notes about Saturday night. It was cold. When I say cold, I don’t mean chilly. I mean flat out, IT’S GOING TO BLIZZARD cold. It was May 1, people! MAY FIRST! Why was it cold? AND… it was raining. Like, the whole day. Why would it rain on race weekend? It’s a joke from the universe to me, since here in Phoenix, uhhhh, it never rains. I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve had to run in the rain. Because, let’s face it. I’m so sweet. I might melt.
Anyway, back to the expo. They had this cool board that we could all sign about why we were running. My writing was awful because MY FINGERS WERE FROZEN but it says “I run, heifer, run!” Then of course the cool tshirt that I really need to buy, and then there’s me and my sister from another mister, Erica, and then, oh hey look! It’s me and some really REALLY large muscular, young strapping ball players. What kind of ball, I will never know. Maybe football? Dunno. I’m not into sports-ball, so… no idea. But they looked big enough that I THINK they are either football guys or just way early for Trick-or-Treating this year. And really, WHY am I wearing my sunglasses inside? I don’t know, because it wasn’t even SUNNY out. Whatevs. I don’t even want to take a guess.
The expo was actually huge and I really enjoyed all the vendors. I even treated myself to a Lincoln Marathon JACKET because, again, it was freezing outside. Whoever ordered up rain on race day should have been shot. Because, wind chill. But I’ll get to that.
After the expo I forget what we did to bide our time until the very coolest thing I’ve ever seen for a race.
Seriously. It’s genius. A pasta-thon. Professional carb-loading for professional marathoners. What could be any better? I’m telling you. I was in heaven.
There’s my pal Erica. Eating her Valentino’s-sponsored pasta.
Sidenote – if there are any heifers out in Nebraska, you guys are SO lucky to have Valentino’s. I have a love affair with their buffet. The pasta-thon food was just “eh” — but really who can complain when it’s FREE PASTA!!! Plus, it was very midwestern. We literally just walked RIGHT into the tent. Nobody asked us for our bib numbers, our ID to verify entry into the race. This could have been a homeless man’s feast-come-true. Maybe it was … I hope so. They had a lot of extra food and I would hate to think it was wasted. I’m from Philly and so to me, any event that huge without security is a crazy thought. But the good old Midwest – man, you guys pull that sh*t off beautifully.
My pastathon plate runneth over. But I rose to the occasion, like a boss. Far be it for me to waste a breadstick.
And the dessert?? ICE POPS!! Who cares if it’s -29° outside? When there’s ice pops up for the taking, you eat one. Plain and simple. She had the fudge, I had the banana. I think it was a win-win in any direction. Both were good (I might have had to eat a fudge one, you know, for research purposes). But I cannot confirm or deny that nor do I recall.
This is the face of carb-loading heaven. Heaven I tell you. Minus the arctic chill in the air.
After the expo was over and our bellies were full of delicious pasta, bread, and popsicles, we realized that the rain wasn’t going to stop. The forecast was downright UGLY. Erica even mentioned that had I not flown in for this, she would have skipped it and slept late. Now, you KNOW if a Nebraska girl says the weather’s gonna be bad, you are about to feel pain. I was stuck …. I wanted to quit, but no way. I flew all the way out there, networked with some nice guy I’ll never see again, and bought a Lincoln Marathon jacket. No way was I backing out now. The only logical thing to do??
RAIN GEAR, BABY!
Don’t even pretend that you think I didn’t buy it. Oh yeah. All mine. What could POSSIBLY go wrong running a half marathon dressed like a vinyl goober? I’m all about staying warm and dry. I live in Phoenix. Those are the only two weathers we have. Warm and dry. Al Roker even said so. It’s legit.
Armed with my 3-piece vinyl rainsuit, I felt ready to run. Like a gazelle through an African field. Like a baby zebra in Uganda, living on a protected game preserve, because, while we’re imagining things, why not imagine a beautiful baby zebra running through a game preserve. It’s a pretty sight. Close your eyes and imagine with me…
See? You feel calm now, don’t you?
Thanks. Back to reality.
I’m mentally steeled and ready after Erica water-proofed every single thing we planned to wear on race day. All 23 layers of shirts, pants, socks, hats, headbands, and gloves. Don’t judge. I keep telling you. It’s hot in Phoenix. I only know one temperature. Running in rain and wind is foreign to me, especially with temps just topping 30°. It’s just inhumane!!
Here we are. Our clothing, running shoes (I call them sneakers, my BFF running friend Kellie says they’re called running shoes, so this is for her), hats, everything is water-proofed (thanks Erica!) We were READY TO ROLL!!!!
I had cool “Team EriKahn” tank tops made for Erica and me, because, we are nothing if not fashionista-runners.
(OK I just puked. We are dressed from Walmart, who are we kidding? I don’t buy those $129 Lemonator pants or whatever they’re called. I have four kids. I buy Nike pants on sale. I’m thrifty like that.) Note my super-cool Lincoln Marathon jacket and my very fashionable poncho. I opted for that instead of the 3-pc vinyl rain suit because she was making fun of me. A lot. And I’m a sensitive heifer.
Yeah, that’s body glide. All you runners are nodding your head in agreement thinking I was wise to bring it, and all you new runners are shaking your head wondering “what the….?” Trust me on the glide. When it’s wet and cold, you don’t want chafing. Anywhere. ANYWHERE. Always err on the side of the glide.
We wake up early, get dressed in our 982,323 layers of water-proofed protection, and head out. I should also mention Erica’s two sons ran this race with us. They still haven’t forgiven us for making them do it. Teenagers!
We arrive to the race. The wind chill is 29°. WHAT?? Is that even real ??? It’s pouring rain (alright, alright. Actually it was raining pretty steadily but NOT pouring. This correction is for Erica’s benefit because she thinks I exaggerate a lot, when in reality, she just has a bad memory.)
Pardon the fuzzy pic. The lady behind us in line took it and she was too excited about our awesome matching shirts to hold the phone still. Aren’t those tank tops awesome? They’d be more awesome if they weren’t over 234 layers of thermal jammies.
So there we are. Two heifers and two teenage boys. All geared up in ponchos, 323 layers, and not wearing happy faces. I will say this. Lincoln knows how to put on a race. These people are the real deal. It was organized, orderly, and well-attended by people from all across the USA and quite a few other countries. The race route was beautiful, through old Lincoln (well isn’t it all old, actually? How old IS Lincoln, anyway? Anyone know?) Whatever. It was a pretty route.
Here’s the thing about Lincoln. And maybe other Midwestern cities do this too, but I’ve NEVER seen race fans like I did in Lincoln. These people are die-hard fans. It was FREEZING outside, a steady stream of rain falling, and have a look at all the crazy characters who came out to support the runners.
There’s a lady handing out Krispy Kreme donuts at mile 2. Seriously. Donuts in the rain. Here’s Erica and her boys enjoying some extra carbs. I was afraid if I ate one, it’d make me sick so I passed on the donuts. I still kinda wish I had eaten one. I like donuts.
Submitted without comment. Because, what can I really possibly say about this ?
Then there’s this guy. Handing out shots of Jack Daniels and Fireball. For realsies. During a marathon. You gotta love that spirit. You just gotta freakin’ love Nebraska. And no, while it might appear I’m enjoying some JD… I in fact was just posing. I limited myself to water and jelly beans. I swear.
What’s not pictured here are the 32,999 Newfoundland dogs we saw along the race route. I love Erica and Erica loves dogs. She stopped to pet every single last wet, stinky, muddy dog, and chit-chat with every single wet, stinky owner. I’m a dog person but by the time the race was over I was covered in dog hair and looked like a shag carpet. But you know me, I can’t complain. Plus it’s not like it was going to hurt our finish time, because… yeah. We’re not A-list athletes. We’re out there for the fun. And the donuts. And maybe she had some Fireball. Once again I cannot confirm or deny.
Then there was this whole situation. I can’t even.
We kept running and eventually the rain became a slight drizzle. By that point I was sweaty and cursing the very layers that kept me warm the first 10 miles. But sitting on a nun-impersonator’s lap really did make things better. I can’t tell who enjoyed this more, me or this nun-guy.
We did stop along the way near the many bands and boomboxes to have a little dance-off. She won every time because her hips don’t lie. Mine just looked dumb and I jumped around like a fish out of water, trying to scope out the next Fireball table. Seriously. Check out her moves. She’s available for parties. Message me for her number.
And this. This is my favorite photo despite looking like the freakin’ staypuff marshmallow runner. I don’t even want to share this pic because I look like I weigh 321 pounds and I still have body image issues – but it’s a must. This guy was the BEST. Not to mention he was so blitzed that he probably didn’t even remember the entire day—but this guy gets the race fan of the year award. For real. Love this Fruit of the loom! haha, see what I did there?!
We FINALLY crossed the finish line —
RELIEF. And exhaustion. A bit of the race was uphill (the last bit, actually, and if anyone reading is a race course designer, don’t make the LAST BIT of the race UPHILL. That’s inhumane). We did get passed by that one guy at every race – the guy with one leg. He always beats me. No matter that it’s not the same guy every time. There’s always a guy with one leg who beats me. I’m not an A-list athlete, remember that. I was really happy for the guy. I was also happy to be done with this race. I think his titanium leg may have been slightly rusty by the time he was done though. Does titanium rust?
A shiny finisher’s medal which is now hanging proudly on my medal rack. It was a really fun experience running a race in a different state – and I hope to do more….
Erica…. where should we register next?
THANKS for reading this, heifers!