Saturday, I ran the Endless Summer 6-Hour Run, hosted by the Annapolis Striders and the flyest race organizer on two legs, Mosi Smith.
BOING. He’s OK, I guess.
The race went a little something like this.
Before the race
Wake up, brush your fangs, put on a bright ass outfit. Quietly eat a boring wheat bagel. Drink hot tea while dropping some hearts on your friends’ Instagram pics. Double-check your bag to make sure you have everything you could possibly need, including 3 changes of clothes. Forget a towel, but remember to bring an oatmeal chocolate chip cookie. Priorities. Drive to Annapolis by yourself, blasting “The Humpty Dance” in your roommate’s Honda Accord. Regain composure and park the car. Apply Body Glide and Band-Aids under your sports bra to prevent chafing that makes you scream in the shower. Obsess about when to pee. Wait for the airhorn.
Start your Garmin watch and trot delicately like a cartoon cat burglar. Decide this is fun, you love running. Meet Kathy and Jenny during their twelve-mile training run. They ask if you’re a student. Act flattered (fan yourself like being courted by a Southern gentleman in July, 1908), laugh, and explain that you’re 30. Exchange high fives and say, “Thank goodness for running, right?”
Complete Lap 1 (4.15 miles)
Take your shirt off. Eat a bunch of Shot Bloks. Drink even though you’re not thirsty. Run with new friends Perry, Crystal, and Phil. Surprise! They’re delightful.
Talk about favorite races and distances. Make self-deprecating jokes about your sanity, pace, and imminent death by running. Usually, you’d be like Yo, shut up, I’m trying to run right now. This is the fucking quiet car, bro. Let’s keep it library. You usually like to keep it solo dolo. But today? You need to keep your pace in check. BE EASY. Talk to humans.
Complete Lap 2 (8.30 miles)
Eat a handful of pretzels and a full banana. Wonder if this is how Ben and Jerry come up with ice cream flavors. Meet Amanda. She has run “a few 100 milers,” just got into med school, and is going to Africa tomorrow. Realize you’re not that cool.
Complete Lap 3 (12.45 miles)
More bananas. Watermelon. Gatorade. On a different day, actually cry for running a half marathon in over two hours, but today it means you did a good thing. Remind yourself to BE EASY. Fill your handheld waterbottle and add a packet of Hornet Juice because that’s what Mosi would tell you to do. Run behind a shirtless dude with a ponytail. Wonder if it makes you sexist that you think men should not have ponytails. Decide it’s a “live and let live” kind of day, but you draw the line at long braids. Just cut that shit out. Reconsider when you think of corn rows. Feel warm inside, like gender equality just took a step forward. Realize it’s actually just the sun having its way with you.
Complete Lap 4 (16.60 miles)
Eat an ice pop, flavor: blue. Have life-altering experience. Forget that you’re running. Some dude relaxing in the shade tells you, “You must be doing the relay,” as you run past. Consider mooning him because that is your signature move. Instead, smirk and tell him you’ve been running for three hours, fifteen minutes. Realize you’re more than halfway done. Be unsure if that’s a good or bad thing.
Eat two Oreos. WOW ARE THOSE THINGS DELICIOUS. Remember that you haven’t had milk all week. Miss it like the deserts miss the rain.
Complete Lap 5 (20.75 miles)
Eat a Gu. Shudder in disgust, likening its texture to 3g of runny boogers. Decide to stick to bananas and pretzels forever. ZONE THE F%$# OUT.
Complete Lap 6 (24.90 miles)
Run down the big hill. When gravity makes you run faster, boldly announce, “But I don’t want to.”
Note that you complete 26.2 miles in 4:12, which is faster than your first marathon time, back in 2008. Remember that your goal was to beat Diddy. Give yourself a little a Harlem shake. The real kind. None of this new age bullshit.
Complete Lap 7 (29.05 miles)
Fight every urge to walk or stop because you know once you do, it’s over. There’s no getting back on this train.
Chug more Hornet Juice. Chug Gatorade. Be endlessly thirsty.
Explain to your competitive instincts that you’re going to have to be OK with running 11+ minute miles for a bit. Pat yourself on the back! You’re actually reasonable for someone who voluntarily runs for six hours in 85-degree heat.
Complete Lap 8 (33.20 miles)
Notice you no longer feel your quads. Notice that the bottom of your braids look like dreadlocks, which are unacceptable on white people. Add this to the endless list of reasons you wish you weren’t white.
Notice you did not chafe because of your preventative Band-Aids. Get called “The Band-Aid Girl” by someone at the timing table. Wonder if that’s as cool as Harry and Marv, alias The Wet Bandits. Continue patting yourself on the back as a distraction from the audible grunting sound you involuntarily make.
Almost complete Lap 9 (36.70 miles)
Talk to yourself in the woods, confirming once again that you’re a beach person.
Obsessively check your Garmin every minute like you’re on a treadmill. Ask out loud, “Who runs on those hellmachines?!” Be proud of yourself because hellmachine is a great word and you think you just invented it. You’ve already accomplished something great today.
Hear an airhorn. Stop running. Plant your flag in a pile of leaves.
Begin walking as if your shoes are still held together by a plastic ziptie, like when you buy them at TJ Maxx.
Administer four thousand high fives. Eat two hot dogs, stacks on stacks on stacks of baby carrots, potato chips, watermelon, and gummi bears.
Remain standing to avoid whatever the living version of rigor mortis is. Stretch your legs, which feel like someone hit them repeatedly with a meat tenderizing mallet. Wipe the dried salt from your face and disappoint anyone who thought you might be attractive.
Wait for official results. Accidentally win your age group and place second for all women. Immediately strategize how to win the race next time. Then tell yourself to shut up. You did it.