If the title is any indication, the past four days were not an urbane or low-key affair. There was no sipping of tea while discussing retirement plans. The people - my unbio family - laughed uproariously as we exchanged possibly the most terrible jokes a group of humans has ever exchanged. You expect me to say that we cuddled and glowed in shared affection. Yes, we did that. But we also talked extensively about jars of dicks.
Jars of dicks is now a permanent inside joke.
Some of my extended LUNAR family may be reading this and thinking, "why wasn't I invited to that? How did I miss those shenanigans?" It's because only with extreme levels of comfort can I let loose with labia jokes. Oh, you meant labrum. Sorry Jenn.
Labias are now a permanent inside joke.
Bart Yasso came to our LUNAR meet-and-greet on Saturday. That was a fairly urbane and low-key event. Then I came over to talk to Bart while he chatted with Shawn. I stuck my dumb kilted behind between the two of them and told him a story. I told him that the day before we saw him walking across from us on Market Street. Sue looked over and said, "It's Bart F*cking Yasso!"
Bart F*cking Yasso is now a permanent inside joke.
I don't go to Corning to run a marathon. Or at least, not to just run a marathon. Carrie said to me, "it must be painful for an IRONMAN to be slumming it in a measly marathon." I shrugged my shoulders nonchalantly. "I know right? I'll probably have to go on a 100 mile bike ride after this." Sidetracked.
I don't go to Corning just to run a marathon. I go there to have an obscene amount of fun with some of the people I love most in the world. The jokes we made were awful. Really awful. And that's the special thing about our bizarre little clique. We destroy ourselves every day, and we let loose the most terrible things lurking in our psyches without any fear whatsoever of judgment.
|Lots of love. No judgment.|
That's really f*cking hard to find in life. The whole world right now seems to be awash in judgment and anger and fear and hatred. That sh*t has been building up in me for months. And this past half-week it all boiled up and came out. It came out transformed into something we could all laugh at. That laughter was a release, a way for all of us to cleanse our souls, leaving nothing behind except happiness and love.
Those jokes weren't at the expense of anyone else. They didn't hurt anyone. They weren't an expression of bias or rage. But only with people that I deeply trust could I let loose, knowing that all that grunge would be turned into joy. When I flashed the underside of my kilt at Mike Hammond while he facetimed with Martha on her phone, it was just a very weird way of saying, "I love you." I also used to throw rocks at girls when I was 6. Apparently my methods these days are no less crude.
|Chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels|
also cleanse the soul
I don't know if this is coming across right. Maybe you have someone in your life who you can say absolutely anything to without fear of misunderstanding or retribution. If you do, you understand. You also understand how critical it is to have those people in your life. If you hold all of your demons in and never let them out, you will die.
Lois, my secret doggy lover, welcomed us into our home, knowing full well that we would destroy it. She gave us a - what do the millennials call it? A safe space. She's a type A and an errant fleck of dust will normally drive her nuts. She has a beautiful new kitchen, pristine in its perfection. Every inch of that house got covered in sweaty socks, Chris's coffee cups, and general refuse. She didn't bat an eyelash. Perhaps it was a release for her too. The time we were there was a time beyond reality.
|Millenials? Safe spaces? When we went to school,|
we had to go up hill. Both ways. In a hurricane. With sharks.
Lois had asked me to wake her kids up at 6:30am for school. I was only too happy to oblige. I ran up there in the dark in my underwear and jumped up and down on her bed. All of the other beds in the house were taken up by manic runners, so her kids slept in her bedroom. "Fee fi fo fum, Lois' kids have to get out of bed." When that failed, I pretended her son was a burrito and tried to eat him. He's an angsty preteen, but even he couldn't help but laugh. They got up in time.
While I was getting my race bib at the expo, I was engaged by a woman I didn't know. She recognized me by my kilt, which seems to happen to me a lot. She turned out to be Theresa, the expo manager. Lois came over and said, "hi Theresa, this is my Peter." I didn't miss any words there; that's what she said. Theresa was dumbfounded. Then I mashed salaciously against Lois and Theresa's jaw dropped to the floor. It took her 30 seconds to recover.
Curt, if you're reading this, one, I love you. Two, you don't have to worry. I'm obnoxious, as you well know, but mostly harmless.
I met some new people. Martha stayed at Lois'; she turned out to be shorter than we expected. We met Jenn's husband Michael, who melded seamlessly with our ridiculous bunch. At the races and the Meet-and-greet, I met Craig, Harold, Lori, Don, Tami, Kristi, Annette and her son Joe, and countless others (I'm sorry I didn't mention you by name!). I got reacquainted with Jack, Mark, Charlie, John, Todd, and many more. My brain is terrible for remembering everyone.
|Martha: Shorter than expected.|
Friday night we broke into the Information Center to help Sheila load up some stuff for the Corelle 5k. Wait, is that illegal? I meant we came in through an unlocked door by invitation. Cough. We went to bed at an almost decent time that night. Chris stayed out all night partying. He insists he came home at midnight. Michael and I were pretty sure we heard him stomping around at 3am.
|Michael really f*cking loves apples|
Chris, Sue, Lois and I volunteered to bike marshal the 5k. It was brutally cold. And raining. And cold. On the plus side, I didn't fall off my bike a single time. Although one of the runners did throw a cup of water directly at me without ever looking. The cup bounced off the frame, spraying water everywhere. I was already wet and miserable, so I just laughed. He never even knew. I may have also come perilously close to running over a child. I maybe was looking at a TXT from Sue that said, "I'm f*cking frozen." I'm not sure.
|It feels a bit cold out. Nah, we'll be fine.|
I do know I almost froze my labia off.
The meet-and-greet was at the Radisson. Nothing too stupid happened, beside me telling Bart Yasso that he was "Bart F*cking Yasso". He remembered me from last year's Wineglass. Can you guess why? Here's a hint: It's plaid. I went outside a lot to vape. I tell people I'm an introvert but I don't think they believe me. Random people stopped to talk to me outside the hotel. You're not even in LUNAR, I don't have to talk to you! But I swallowed my sociopathy and was polite. My mind was overloaded with social interaction and I couldn't wait to rush home and get naked on Lois' couch.
|Me, Shawn, and Bart F*cking Yasso|
At some point I ran into Aria on the street but I have absolutely zero recollection when. She came to the meet-and-greet with Geoffrey and Meghan. Even though it had only been a couple days, I'd felt like I hadn't seen them in a lifetime. They were there to support Aria in her first ever marathon!! But also to babysit her and make sure she went to bed at a reasonable time. It's a good thing he's sober now. Before Geoffrey and I quit drinking, we would snuggle in hotel rooms until 2am the eve of a mrathon drinking beer and wine, eating bags and bags of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups (registered trademark symbol here).
We had a super massive potluck dinner Saturday night. I made curried pumpkin soup. I spent all day tasting and seasoning that soup in the slow-cooker. That soup was my baby. It had Lois' homegrown pumpkin, cauliflower, veggie stock, onions, coconut milk, curry spice, basil, cinnamon, salt and pepper. And when I decided it was the worst thing ever, I added honey. It turned out alright! Of course there were a thousand other delicious things there. But Jeff Holbrook went f*cking wild for my stew. Hashtag win!
|I was really excited about those pumpkins...|
Photo Cr. Sue
Against all odds, we went to bed at a reasonable time Saturday.
* * * * * * *
Elros sat at the table, his eyes glued covetously to the pack he knew held the One Ring. The Black Numenorean had already tried to steal it once, but was foiled when a rock slide nearly took his life. He'd manage to fast talk away the suspicions of his party that time. They were taking it to the icy North, with the hope that the fire of a red dragon could destroy it, taking it out of Sauron's clutches forever. Elros intended the ring to never reach its destination.
He'd already planned his second attempt. This time he would not fail. Once his associates were asleep, he would slip out through the stables with the ring in his possession. He would travel to Rohan, and make those weaklings tremble beneath his new found might. He clenched his bandaged fist in anticipation.
Too bad for Elros, the ring was fake.
I told Carrie a lot of stories Sunday. As her pacer in the Wineglass marathon, it was my duty to have nearly (but not quite!) four hours of material. When Carrie crossed the finish line at Musselman 70.3, her first words were, "did Peter make it?" She had passed me on the run course right before I fell over unconscious on a park bench. So when Lois asked if I wanted to help her achieve her goal of a sub-4 hour marathon, I jumped at the chance.
|Before the race|
It was a brutally cold Sunday morning. There was a frost warning, which is a warning for plants to go inside and sit by a fire with hot cocoa. Lois lent me her son's robe, and that thing saved my life. Carrie had a robe too, but that's because she's a cassowary. All dinosaur-shark-birds have robes. It hides them from their prey until the moment they're ready to pounce with their vicious beaks.
The three force adepts sat in a dingy cantina in the bowels of Coruscant, nursing their injuries. The Renan Irongut barely took the edge off the pain. The two-headed space alligator had very nearly gotten them, and only a lucky swing from a lightsaber had prevented their demise. They stared dimly through the haze of tabac smoke as the Holoscreen blared over the bar.
"Once we find the Century Pufferpig, we can get out of this Sarlacc pit. Pick a point among the stars and never come back," mumbled Dak Erso, trying to figure out which glass in front of him wasn't empty. He missed his ship. Just then the Holoscreen flared with a cacophony of noise and color.
"Prepare to have your weekend ANNIHILATED by the Mega Monster Ship Rally! Featuring all your favorite ships: The Angry Cosmonaut, The Wookie Ragemachine, The Asteroid Grinder, and brand new this Carnival Week, The Century Pufferpig! Don't miss this chance to experience enough metallic slaughter and debris to fill a lifetime!"
Dak sat bolt upright, his eyes wide, "my ship!!"
We met at the buses at about 6:30am and rode with Michael and Chris, who were also doing the full. The rest of the gang were doing the half. Aria just barely missed me, but quickly caught up with us in Bath, NY. I think Carrie was nervous, but I was talking nonstop trying to drown it out. "Tina you fat lard, come get some food! Tina, eat the FOOD." We sat in the slightly warm garage for an hour.
|Really wanted to be doing this instead.|
At some point, I took my seventh poop. You almost skipped right over that sentence. Yes, that's right, I had SIX poops at Lois' house. Mike Hammond, eat your heart out. Lois, I'm sorry! I txted Carrie from the Port-O-Pottie. It felt super good.
You may not know this about Jenn, but she has a thing where the cold can literally kill her. She had the worst half marathon ever. It was really super horrible for her. I'm saying that because I want you to really get the feel for the arctic conditions we were dealing with. Remember, it had been 90 degrees just two days prior. I waited till literally the last minute before throwing my robe into the UPS truck. We barely made it into the starting corral before the race started.
Matt crouched next to the burnt out army jeep, his shaking hands clutching a baseball bat. He really needed another hit. He warily eyed the writhing black mass of chaos as it slithered around the encampment, searching for him. Once Matt had been a Minor League Baseball Player, a pretty good one. Then drugs had ruined his life. He thought that was bad, until the Great Old Ones arrived, bringing with them horrors from his worst nightmares. Now him and a small handful of survivors struggled to avoid having their faces ripped off by a mound of gibbering terror. He really needed another hit.
Just then motion erupted in his peripheral vision. The headless body of a soldier slammed into the window of the jeep, inky tentacles stretching from the neck stump, pushing through cracks, reaching for him. The sharp smell of gasoline reached his nostrils and he suddenly had an idea. Just then the dark tree-shaped creature in the middle of the camp zeroed in on him and rushed forward. He only had a few seconds.
This would all be so much easier to deal with if Matt was high.
Sheila had made the announcements at the start, and as we ran past her, I yelled, "see you at the finish line Sheila!" She replied, over the megaphone, "see you there Peter!" That was supremely awesome. I'm glad I'd had the chance to volunteer and help out throughout the weekend. Wineglass is the best event of the year.
|I told Sheila to look tough and important in|
this pic. Instead she smiled :)
I can't give you a blow-by-blow of the 26 miles with Carrie, because it went by blazingly fast. She was breathing hard and couldn't say much, so I just talked the entire time. I told her about the many roleplaying games I've run for my friends. I told her about Mont Tremblant. I told her about my trip to St. Petersburg, Russia. I told her about my first marathon with my brother Alex in Lake Placid and my many subsequent races. I talked for over three hours straight.
We played marathon hockey with Aria for about the first 10 miles before she got ahead of us. We ran with Chris for a bit. Carrie's husband and kids appeared at various points along the course, serenading her with glorious trumpets. I danced in my kilt. Geoffrey and Meghan appeared many times as well, screaming their heads off. And the other spectators were all amazing as well.
Quin Deleaux stood before the wrought iron gate, its black patterns outlined in rust. The pavement below his feet passed through the gate and stretched over a tree lined yard before ending at a massive Victorian mansion. The building was on a hill, so it had survived the flooding form Hurrican Katrina. Quin wasn't a superstitious person, but he could feel ancient energy oozing out of the house like an old ghost. The night darkness only deepened the mansion's foreboding look.
Quin moved up to the gate, his footsteps instinctively quiet. He admired his earlier handiwork. He had rigged the gate mechanism to fail the next time it had opened. He couldn't simply climb the gate or the stone walls on either side as the tops were lined with motion detectors. But the gate now stood slightly open, allowing him to quietly slip through.
Luckily the owner of the home didn't have any dogs or security guards: An eccentric recluse through-and-through. Quin's holstered pistol chafed the inside of his arm as he sidled towards the house. He had a conceal carry permit but had never shot the gun outside of a range. He hoped that fact would never change, but he had chosen a dangerous pasttime.
Quin carefully popped off the front off the keypad on the door to the garage with a small screwdriver and examined the exposed circuit board. Suddenly a light turned red. "Shit," he breathed. That meant he had 30 seconds to disarm the alarm...
At mile 23 I finally ran out of material. We had run past the horses. We had run past the donuts. We had long since crossed the halfway point. The miles had flown by so fast, we often missed flags and found ourselves farther along than we'd realized. There had been several points that Carrie was worried about, parts that were challenging for her. Parts that had nearly broken her in previous years. I jammed her brain full of stories and pushed her right through those parts.
But now my brain was empty. So I yelled at her. "Come on you slimy barnacle, hurry up before I kick you in the spine!" I'd make a terrible drill sergeant. But I managed to be inspirational? I think? She told me I was the best iron unicorn dragon ever, that without me she couldn't have done it. I had gotten so wrapped up in my chatter, I'd forgotten that we were running a marathon! Marathons are hard! But Carrie was supremely strong, and I had no doubt she was going to crush her goal.
|Iron unicorn dragon?|
Somewhere around this time the 4 hour pace group caught up with us. Ooooh heyll no, we said. Carrie yelled, don't let them pass us! I kept yelling epic motivational sh*t. Purely by accident, I helped push the runners in the 4 hour group as well. One of them even thanked me after the race, and the 4 hour pacer told me I should be a pacer.
"Kingsbury Ave! We are running over a street in which KINGS are buried. We are crossing the tombs of royalty!"
"Thanks random lady! We do indeed GOT THIS. We are disintegrating so much concrete right now!!"
"Stop.... if you're slow! Which you're not! So freakin' keep running!"
And sometimes Carrie told me exactly what she needed to hear.
"Tell me I'll never have to run again!"
"What? Like... after?"
"Tell me after I crossed the finish line I'll never have to run again."
"After you finish you will NEVER HAVE TO RUN AGAIN. So f*cking go go go. And then you'll be done. FOREVER."
|This finish line?|
"Tell me I'll finish in under four hours."
"Well I've been watching your pace and I'm pretty sure that as long...."
"Just tell me I'll finish in under four hours!"
"You're totally going to crush the sh*t out of this race in under four hours! Easy!"
|Spoiler alert: We made it!|
Finally, after what felt like 2 seconds of epic running (but was actually several hours), we hit the bridge. We could see Wegmans! I was manic. The energy levels were insane. I was yelling nearly incomprehensibly. She was going to get across that finish line if I had to throw her.
There was no need. We turned on Market St. and she shot up the street like a bazooka. I could barely keep up with her. She was a gazelle, a cheetah, a motherf*cking cassowary. She left broken stones and flying detritus in her wake as she smashed the earth out of its orbit with her feet.
She crossed, I crossed. She had done it. I knew she would have. And now she knew it too. Carrie had finished Wineglass marathon in under 4 hours. Her net time? 3 hours, 58 minutes, and 44 seconds.
|No sweat for a woman who|
can hold up the world.
Tears and hugs were exchanged. Personal space and stinky runner sweat became irrelevant. We were a whirlwind of joy and emotion. I felt high. Drunk. It was the most awesome marathon I'd ever run. It was FUN. And I was so g0ddamn proud of Carrie. She blew my mind with her sheer will.
She wasn't the only one. Aria had finished about 15 seconds before us. In her very first marathon, she ran sub 4 hours too! She had worked her butt of all summer with singular dedication, and it had paid off. Every time we saw her on the course, Aria looked strong. And she finished strong!
There were many other runners who did amazingly as well, and a handful who had bad days. All of them though amazed me with their strength and pursuit of their goals, no matter how hard those goals are or how much they cost. I wish I could name each one of them. If you ran Wineglass and you're reading this, you're f*cking amazing. Thank you to the volunteers, spectators, police, and the many many runners and friends who make Wineglass unbelievable. And thank-you Carrie for letting me run with you. It was an honor and a pleasure.
|You earned ALL of the medals.|
* * * * * * *
Jenn and Michael's obscene "oatmeal" recipe.
- One packet of oatmeal
- One scoop peanut butter. "Scoop" is loosely defined.
- Handful of chocolate chunks "to taste". Apply liberally.
- Optional: several crumbled up chocolate chip cookies
- Do NOT add cacao powder to your oatmeal. Do NOT continue adding peanut butter and sugar to try to "correct" the bitter flavor. Do NOT force yourself to eat a Himalayan sized bowl of oatmeal that's still totally inedible. And whatever you do, do NOT send the following TXT to your husband at work with no other commentary: