Champs Like Us

Yesterday, I gave a big F-you to my weak, weak body, which has tried to tell me at least three times now that training for a long, organized race is not in its best interests. My first half-marathon is complete. I can’t really walk (Jeff has to help me down the stairs) and I am SO VERY TIRED (still), but I don’t care. Simply, yay!

In 2004, after tearing my calf muscle while sprinting to first base during a kickball game (And the ball was foul! Blast.), I dropped out of NYC marathon training. I was halfway through my program in 2005, when my shins said “nope,” and intense pain prevented me from running for about 3 months. Grr.

So I decided to aim smaller – the Brooklyn Half, with my two roommates and friend from DC. I ran a lot. I ran a lot more on weekends. Brooklyn was mine. 13 miles? Piece of cake. Bring it on. And then, after a 10-11-miler 2 weeks ago…OW. Goddamnit!! Some weird muscle in my upper leg was making it hard to, oh, WALK. Ow. Shit. Are you kidding me?

But I wouldn’t take no for an answer. I stayed off it for two weeks, yoga-ed like a champ (See, I really can’t completely buy into the yoga thing. I need sweat and a heightened heart rate. And I’m just not mature enough to “ohm” without wanting to giggle.), popped Advil like candy, and hoped for the best.

Yesterday, after waking up at 5am to train it to Coney Island, standing around for an hour in 27-degree weather, and consuming 2 packs of special energizer Jelly Belly beans, we were off! The first two miles were fine, and it was especially cool seeing Jeff around the 1.5 mark. But then, right as we exited the boardwalk…oh, no. Oh jeez. The thing is, I realized, trotting along…I can’t so much put any weight on my left leg because (despite popping Tylenol pre-race) it really hurts. A lot. When it hits the ground. And I have 11 miles to go.

I am stubborn and dumb and wasn’t ready to accept that. And so what followed after that initial 20 minutes was about 2.4 hours of cursing everyone around me and questioning my sanity. Hey you…yeah, you buddy with the red hat and spandex. YOU THINK YOU CAN PASS ME? F-YOU! And then I try to pass him and it just hurts so much. And then I get really angry at the mile markers, almost crying at mile 10 when I saw the path slope cruelly, cruelly uphill (damn you, Prospect Park). And then….victory! Hooray! I ran 12-minute miles (very slow for me), but I finished. I might be able to walk like a human in two weeks, but at least I can chow down like a champ for a few days guilt-free.

Thank you, Interpol, the Original Broadway Cast Rent Soundtrack, Britney Spears, and Franz Ferdinand for your shuffled appearances on my iPod. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Bring on NYC in November!


  1. Wow! I am proud of you. I know running hurts and running hurt feels even worse, but persevering through that pain (for a half-marathon) shows a lot of character. It must have been very satisfying (more satisfying than yoga, at least). Congrats.

  2. There is no shame in bailing out of a race because you are injured. If it hurt that much, you probably should have stopped. Running through pain is one thing, running when you are injured is foolish. Better to stop, rest, heal and run another day, than to risk making a minor injury much worse.

  3. Thanks, Rich! So very satisfying.

    Beast, yes, I know there was some degree of foolishness. But I just really wanted to do it. I was there, I had trained, people I loved were all around me. Although hurt, I knew I could finish if i pushed. Now that I've finished one, I'll be more careful next time.

  4. Beast (who's Beast???) is right of course. I'm still recovering from shin injuries incurred in 2003 that have never really healed because I chose to ignore them while training for a 10K. Which is why I'm currently on running embargo and I miss it like hell. But on the other hand...I'm so jealous!!! There's nothing as satisfying as not being able to walk downstairs, and you know what I mean. May I live vicariously through your discomfort?

  5. I just wanted to clarify that I am not condoning running through PAIN. But running through pain, a/k/a discomfort, is a good thing.

  6. i am so proud of you! i remember when you were weak like me and running 5Ks and thinking that was cool shit! you are my hero! :) nb: i biked 80 miles the day after getting stitches out of my foot. stupid, yes? the best experience of my life, to date, though.

  7. Yeah, I remembered when I carried a 500-pound gorilla up to the eighth floor of Ruggles and down 3,334 times even though my head was bleeding and my spine was poking out of my shoulder blade. It ruled!!!

  8. You are Chris Barmes from the Colorado Rockies. Wait...that was a deer.


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