Bucket list item: #57 Run a marathon
I had heard rumours of people running for fun. Ya know, marathoners, triathloners, iron men and such people. I was pretty sure they were all crazies because for me, I would rather do ANYTHING else besides long distance running. I would rather do burpees, plyometrics, weights, sprints, yoga, P90X, ANYTHING, but not long distance. I can confidently say that running is my arch nemesis, along with waiting to let your nail polish dry and folding fitted sheets. In my mind only wizards can properly do all of those things.
I mean who would willingly put themselves in such a terrible situation and potentially in harms way anyway? JUST WHY?? Is it to prove to themselves that they can in fact survive the 26 miles of gruelling running and 200 meters of swimming through shark infested waters and then a bumpy 20 km bike ride or do they actually enjoy it??
Whatever it is, I sort of envied it. So in hopes of tricking my body into loving running, I signed up for the Vienna City Half Marathon and opted out of the cancellation fee that would give me a full refund in case an emergency came up, ya know, like not training enough. And yes it was only a half marathon BUT I am still counting it as bucket list item #57 because I did it despite dreading the entire thing and that needs to be celebrated. Plus, it may be the last one I ever run in my life so let's just check it off the bucket list!
One person in particular inspired (forced) me to run, my friend Brittany, who we will refer to as Bbow for the rest of the story because I never call her Brittany. This super woman has run three half marathons before and has crushed it each time, one in New York, one in D.C and flew in from NYC to run in Vienna with me! She's a beast and she trained her body and mind to enjoy running and I want to be just like her when I grow up.
We ran (not together because as previously mentioned Bbow is a beast and I undertrained) the entire 13.1 mile course seen below. We began at the Danube where after 20 seconds of running Bbow distinctly told me, "This is where I leave you". I laughed and looked up to find that she wasn't joking and was already out of sight, lost among the 42,500 other people running across the Reichsbrücke bridge, literally translated as the bridge that lasts forever (just kidding but it was at this point that I was already tired). We continued through Praterstern park, past Schoenbrunn, past Naschmarkt, down Mariahilfer, and finished at Rathausplatz. Jesse attempted to bike along the entire course to find and take pictures of us at different checkpoints but only found Bbow once. I thank God for him not finding me, as I generally get squeamish seeing pictures of dying creatures.
As gorgeous and picturesque as the entire run was, I hated the entire thing. It was one of the toughest things I've ever done in my life, and in order to get through I had to pray and cheer myself on for the entire run, EVERY. SINGLE. STEP. of the way. And if it wasn't for the kindness of a random stranger who encouraged me when I was driving the struggle bus, I don't know if I would have made it! I like to call her my little running angel.
It was a terribly awful and wonderful challenge for my body and mind but at the finish line I could only feel proud of myself. I felt that I had just conquered the entire world. And then I felt nothing but pain because my whole body tensed up and could barely function. My hands, feet, legs, knees, elbows, fingers, neck, abs, fingernails, brain, everything just locked up and went dumb and numb. That is probably not normal and borderline dangerous, but I was still proud of myself. After finding Bbow and Jesse among the crowd, we celebrated with big bowls of delicious, carby pasta!
1. Train properly pre-half marathon: or you will be in pain (for a solid week).
2. Don't wear rings: my fingers got crazy swollen while running and my rings got stuck and cut off my circulation.
3. You will look stupid trying to run and grab the cup of water that the cup-bearer hand to you: and you will soak yourself and the nice person while taking it from them. and that's okay!
4. Triatholoners, marathoners, iron men, and everyone else are bad ass rock stars: they deserve money for doing what they do.
5. Our bodies are capable of so much more than we think: God created us in His image. That alone is enough to let us know we are super humans. I genuinely didn't think that I could finish it, but I did and I have the free beer, medal, swollen fingers and sore body to prove it!
Now ask me if I've gone running since... ha, no. But the important thing is now, I know I can do it!