Sunday, October 8, 2017

Empire State Marathon (Almost Killed Me)

Today was all about my brother Alex. He trained hard, following a plan I wrote him (with some help from Geoffrey). He ran smart and he pushed hard and he had an amazing marathon, despite the challenging conditions. And.... that's it.

I quizzed him in the car. I was like, this is going to make a really boring post. Tell me what you experienced in the marathon. He was like, I followed the plan, and I had a good race! I frowned.

"Well I don't want the post to be about ME. All my posts are about me. This race was all about you!" I whined. My body was in a devastating amount of pain, so everything I said came out whiny.

"It doesn't matter. Just do it," he shrugged.

"I suppose I could write about how I almost died, but, like, in a funny way."


Last week at Wineglass I had an amazing race with Carrie. But she broke me! Before today's race she told me to run like I was being chased by two-headed space crocodiles. If that had been true, I would have been eaten. Oooh, and how amazing it would have been to stew in the digestive juices of that voracious crocodile. Because then I wouldn't have been running anymore.

Somewhere in the vicinity of the 20's today - I can't remember, I was stumbling and saw three of everything I looked at - I TXTed Lois. Lois, whose banister I broke last week. Oh, I didn't mention that in my last post. I break her things all the time and then I message her with the following.

"This is an epic torture fest. Never again back to back marathons and never again Empire State"

"Whyyyyy do I keep waving the golf carts past?!"

"I seriously feel worse right now than I did at the end of Mont Tremblant"

I sent those three things in a row. And instantly she was extremely concerned for my safety. We messaged a bit. At some point she asked, "Are you OK?"

"Lol nope"

"Not. At. All."

You know why I said that? Because I'm a douchebag, that's why. I wanted to have a pity party and she was my hapless victim. I mean, yeah, I was in a gargantuan amount of pain. And I felt just how I felt at Musselman before I passed out on a park bench. Usually I just grin and pretend the world is amazing. But I wasn't going to finish the race without distracting myself with TXTing and venting some of that agony.

We messaged a bit more, her panic growing. And then suddenly I.... stopped. Of course she assumed I had finally passed into the great beyond.

That wasn't it though. I ended up walking with a runner named Rachael, and she freakin' saved my a$$. As I did hers apparently. We were both in a mega pain fest. But we kept each other company for the last mile and a half (which still took like 20 minutes to finish). And somehow, I don't know how, we ran the last mile. I was pumping my fist and screaming my head off. She was like, "omg, you're so positive!"
You saved my butt Rachael!

It's a lie. It's a bold-faced lie. Grin for the cameras. Pump my fist for the guy in the golf cart when he asks if I'm OK. Explode into a goopy pile of joy when I encounter other humans. Life is fantastic! I suppose I should be "thankful" for my bizarre habits. They're the reason I've never DNF'd a marathon. And ooooooh how I've wanted to, especially today. I was at mile 24 and still begging the cart to pass me again. I was like, "it's Alex's day; it doesn't matter if I finish. F*ck that medal."

Oh, right, my brother. Who I should be writing this post about. We ran together for the first almost 18 miles. Unlike Carrie, I didn't regale him with stories. I was breathing too hard. My ears did that obnoxious thing where they feel like they want to pop but don't. It hurt to talk. He entertained me, in fact, upbeat and jovial and all those characteristics we share. At some point my laces came undone and I said, "just go!" I never saw him again.

I knew he would finish strong though, and he did it with aplomb! One of my coworkers once asked what aplomb means; she didn't know. Apparently I use the word a lot. It's apt here. We maintained about an 8:50 pace for the first 12 miles. Then we hit the West side of Onondaga lake and our pace went to trash. Well, if you call 9:20ish trash. He told me that our GPS must have gone wonky. I just agreed, because if he had tried to speed up, I would have literally died.

We both survived!
Photo cr. Audrey

I didn't want to hold him up though, so at 18 I let him go. And I walked most of the rest. I used to hate myself for walking, but I've had so many awful races it doesn't even phase me anymore. I debated reading in my Kindle app on my phone to at least keep me occupied. Eventually I settled on terrifying my friends with TXTs.

An attractive lass I met yesterday asked me to tell her how my race was going. I said, "I feel TERRIBLE lol."

I suck at flirting. Seriously, look at this sh*t:

"Are you excited about tomorrow?" She TXTed yesterday.

"Haha I'm kinda blasé about it. After the Ironman, marathons are like.... shrug." I replied. I seriously said that. It was the most awful thing I've ever said. I hastily added, "Geezis that was the worst humblebrag ever. Sorry." Also, I spelled it blazé. I always thought it had a Z in it!

I am never talking to another woman again.

Alex's girlfriend Audrey came with us. She got up at 5am and went with us and hung out in the NBT Bank Statium parking lot for like 7 hours. My ex went to one of my half-marathons - once - and hated me the whole time. Audrey was amazing! She even tried to send me inspirational messages while I struggled. I'm blessed though. Despite my rampant awkwardness I have a lot of amazing people in my life.

That's why I finished Empire State today. Because the more pain I experience, the more joy floods into my life. It's some kind of bizarre karma. But I'm not going to question my good fate. I have more love in my life than I deserve, and I will literally die for these astonishingly beautiful people.

If you read my last race report, you'll know that in Corning last week, I was just obscenely over-the-top. One of my friends messaged me in the middle of the week, wanting to talk on the phone when I was available. I was like, "uh-oh, here it comes. I've earned this." You know what he said to me? He said, "keep being you. Don't change a thing."

I was thunderstruck. After a lifetime of battling insecurities and judging myself too harshly, I've found people who not only tolerate me, but appreciate me. I knew my friends were amazing, but that moment made me realize how amazing. And I want to give that appreciation and love back ten-fold.

My brother Alex did an amazing thing today.

I would've suffered the pain today ten times over to be a part of it.

Oh! I have to give a shout out to my dear friend Cynthia for feeding two stinky starving runners after the marathon. Her two small dogs were wrestling with each other the entire time and it was heavenly.

That is baked veggie pizza with fresh arugula on top!!

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