In Portland, the beer at mile 23 really perked me up, prompting Nitmos to ask, “Has anyone even thought to analyze if beer is good during a race? The assumption is no. But maybe that’s a false assumption…” Recently, Frayed Laces also did a post about how she was getting Tapped Out for her next marathon, meaning no more drinking. And all of a sudden, a lightbulb went on in my head.
I still drink, but I don’t go on the crazy binges I used to in college, and even having a drink has become a special occasion rather than a regular occurrence. This all started around August, when I really committed to being healthy… and when my knee started hating me. Coincidence? I think not.
Before this, I prided myself on the ability to get flat-on-the-floor (in the words of Carrie Underwood) and then run a race soon after. One of my best times in the 5M distance came after drunkenly signing up for the race at 2 AM the night before and still being slightly tipsy while running. Heck, on New Year’s, I ran a 5 mile race while taking shots of vodka at each mile marker. So maybe the secret to a good time and no knee pain is drinking?
I figure I have nothing to lose by trying, so tonight, as part of my “two nights before the marathon prep”, I’m cooking orange broccoli chicken stirfry with sesame ginger noodles for me and Boyfriend… and downing a nicely paired bottle of Fetzer Gewurztraminer. Wine has carbs too!
Oh, and as for my contribution to Runners’ Lounge Take It And Run Thursday post: this week asks, what kind of signs would you love to see while running? My answers, in descending order of preference:
1. Electric Gatorade Aid Station
2. Free mimosas (why oh why didn’t the mimosa drinkers at Portland offer me any?)
3. Race sponsored by Corona – free beer at the finish!
On a non-alcoholic note, my favorite signs seen at races are the classic “Your feet hurt because you are kicking so much ass!” and all the inspirational signs on the Towpath of the Akron Marathon. I don’t remember what they said, but they were all short, thought-provoking stuff reminding you that this was your day and you were succeeding at a great goal.
I’d also be remiss if I didn’t include a picture of the signs my mom and friend Kristen made for me at my first marathon, back in May. This sign ROCKS!
And finally, if there is one thing that I wish could be a sign, it’s this post by Lana about triathlons. It’s way too long to fit on a sign or a t-shirt (and I’m not even going to quote parts of it here, because the whole thing is so good – just go to her site and read it), but I sent it to a lot of my friends and family yesterday to say, “Here. This is it. This is why I run marathons.”
For me, it’s the feeling of pushing the limits, of taking something that very few people can do and knowing that YOU can do it. You’re doing it right now and you’re going to finish. You’re not average anymore; you’re amazing and special, and people are cheering and calling you their hero.
Before I started doing marathons, my life was fine but mundane. I’d go home and flop on the couch to watch reality TV, cook, read, and maybe go to the gym. I work at a demanding job with hundreds of bright, motivated people who are so smart that even though I know I am smart, I feel pretty mediocre and dumb in comparison. I’m doing a perfectly adequate job, but I don’t stand out that much, and I’m certainly not extraordinary. Despite the long hours and tight deadlines, I know that I can get my work done – there’s no question of that, so in some ways it’s not a challenge.
But marathoning… that is something I never in a million years thought I would be able to do. It’s something that no one who knew me even just a year ago would ever have thought I could do. And then I run a race, and while I’m not first or second or anywhere even close to being the “winner”, I’m still accomplishing something amazing and impressive, and I am a winner, with a medal to prove it. Marathoning is my ticket to being extraordinary, and I’m going to ride the marathon train as far as it will take me.