Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Notes from the Philadelphia Marathon (part dos)

People have been asking me about my experience with the Philadelphia Marathon. No one asked me my time. (4:22.) No one asked me if I even finished. (All 26.2 miles, biatches.) The only thing people wanted to know was whether or not I shat my pants.

Seems to me that you people are the ones with the pooping fixation.

As this was my first marathon, I wasn't sure what to expect.

I ran the first 13.1 miles with two of my friends from Back on My Feet. Which was wonderful because when you run with friends, you can do things like talk. And talk. And you can do a lot of talking for 13.1 miles.

And then, because we all run at different paces, we split up. But at that half-way mark, I saw my friends who yelled things like "GO, BRIDGET!" And then a few steps further I saw even more friends from Back on My Feet waving a sign that said things like "GO, BRIDGET!" (With glitter.) And all those GO, BRIDGET's really got me to ... go. (Because what says go more than glitter?)

And then came the hard part. Because while there were plenty of people hooting and hollering and calling my name (which, incidentally, happens fairly often when you get your name printed on your shirt with the command for people to cheer for you) as we ran through Center City and West Philly and Fairmount Park, those people really thinned ... out ... after ... that.

So I did what I tend to do under moments of duress and/or intoxication: I got loud. As the elites raced towards the finish line, already having come back from the turnaround point six miles away, I cheered for every name I saw (which was a lot, considering every racer's name was printed on his bib). And runners cheered for me. And as a whole, this was quite enjoyable. Like a walk in the park. Only faster. And for a very, very long time.

But then I made it to Manayunk, which, if you're not from Philadelphia, is that section of the city inhabited entirely by 21- to 24-year-olds who live in such a state of constant inebriation that they seem to have forgotten that they graduated college, which, naturally, means that's where the best cheerers were waiting. And they were loud. And after you've run 20 miles, loud is exactly what you need.

And after I passed the table of men giving out free beer to runners and passed the screaming group of girls dressed up as my Thanksgiving dinner and passed the restaurant giving out brownies (because if you haven't pooped your pants yet ...), I passed B and my parents. And that's when my mom, who has been my life-long running partner (and co-cream-donut-consumer), jumped in to run the last six miles with me.

And let me tell you something about that last six miles. The marathon training schedule peaked at 20 miles. That's a lot of miles, but not as many as 26.2. And it was that last 6.2 miles that made me a little nervous leading up to the marathon. No no, everyone assured me, you only need to train for 20 miles because adrenaline will get you through that last 6.2, no problem.

That was a lie. A dirty, stinking lie.

Those last 6 miles hurt like hell. But with my mom there with me, they hurt a little less. And I got a little bit of that steam back. Not much, but a little. Which, on a scale of holy shit this is HORRENDOUS to oh my gah this is AWESOME inched the needle towards eh, not so bad.

But then that beautiful last half mile happened. That part where you're desperately searching for the finish line, but the closer you get, the thicker the crowd and the louder the cheers and, quite miraculously, the faster your legs. ADRENALINE, BABY. And as my mom jumped back into the crowd and I wound my way through that tunnel of people and felt my legs getting faster (I certainly didn't see THAT coming) that pain didn't matter anymore because that. Was. AWESOME. The next morning though? That's when the pain would matter again because hoooo boy I had no idea stairs were so tricky. And I'm sure my neighbors who happened to see me walking to work on Monday morning were left wondering what, exactly, I had stuck up my butt that weekend.

But when I crossed that finish line and my friend Monica put that medal around my neck, I totally understood when all those people (who I had previously written off as batshit crazy) said that running marathons is like an addiction. Bring it on. Momma's got a lot of cream donuts to eat.

And in case you were wondering (because I know you were), you can still donate to Back on My Feet.


Bridget said...

i think we were actually sprinting the last half mile...you want to put on a good show for all those people cheering you on!

Amanda said...

awesome recap! Congrats again!

RuthWells said...

Absolutely amazing.

Deidre said...

you're awesome Bridget! Well done!

Jordan said...

... and on to number two.

Hilary said...

I don't even think "congratulations" covers it! I can only imagine the awesomeness/intense pain of completing a marathon- knew you could and would do it. Nice time, btw!


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