It was an exciting day for me Saturday. I ran my first official run. Now, I am far from being a runner and I can be considered as a lazy fuck when it comes to exercise. In fact, when I committed to the race I thought I signed up for a 5K. Not a 5 Mile. 2 mile difference there.
On such a beautiful, positive morning in downtown St. Louis it never crossed my mind that this would be a post for WorldFullofIdiots. The factor that makes this a WFI post is the fact that the run took place before the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
I arrived downtown and walked close to a mile to get to the Starting Line. The energy was building as I merged into the throngs of people who were all there for the same purpose but definitely not the same reasons. The reason I was there was to meet the challenge that my brother gave me.
The excitement you feel when you start your first race is hard to convey. Adrenaline, the sea of people, the build up of all your training (which wasn’t as much as it should have been, I AM a lazy fuck, remember?). Here we go! I start my pace pretty slow, I don’t want to burn myself out too soon. I watch as hundreds of people start passing me, including a guy in a gorilla costume and a guy being pulled in a wagon that includes a keg. Idiots? I think not. Wait for mile 3.
I’m starting to feel the burn. Warmup is over. We run through a part of the city where it’s still business-as-usual. I look behind me, there’s people as far as I can see. Even more ahead of me. This is starting to suck.
This is in full suck mode. I’m halfway there. I know I’m going to make it but I start thinking to myself, wow, I’m in bad shape. I should have trained more. Why the fuck am I doing this?
I mean, come on I’ve got half way to go and it’s going to suck much worse than the first half.
Then I see them. The second part of my Tolkien reference – the Trolls.
Remember, it’s St. Patrick’s Day and and I’ve come upon the Parade Route. Even though the parade doesn’t start for a couple hours there are already people lining up along the street to get good spots. This might be a good distraction.
This was far more than a distraction. This was fuel!
Here’s a quick list of the Trolls I encountered (I could go into further detail but let’s face it, this post is getting too long and it’s probably challenging your attention span): 1. extremely obese guy in lawn chair with gut hanging below bottom of chair 2. already-drinking skanks who look like they haven’t slept in a couple days 3. over-tanned 40-something divorcees on the prowl AND the clinchers – 4. overweight college age girls with tight-fitting t-shirts that read “I’d rather be drinking than running”. ALL of these Trolls are smoking of course.
I laugh out loud and pick up my pace. I have a new vigor and enthusiasm. Then there it is: a water station. I slow down get my cup, drink it down and get ready for mile 4!
The race organizers have some fast paced rock music playing (New Sensation by INXS) and staff are there to yell words of encouragement. There’s even a handfull of old Harley dudes there honking horns and clapping. I thank them with a wave and push it on.
I’m almost halfway through the last mile and there’s my runner brother to run the rest of the way with me. Of course, he finished the run in 37 minutes and he’s ready to run another. Damn my luck, he first sees me walking instead of running. But at least I was walking to drink the water I was just handed. My brother, as expected, makes me pick up my pace and makes my final minutes excruciating. He encourages me with the details of what’s left and how close it is. We turn the corner and there it is: the finish line. Holy shit. It’s beautiful. This whole time it never occurred to me that I’d be seeing the banner and all the fan fair at the end of the race. Wow. Lets fucking do this!
The last 5 minutes were this odd mixture of terrible and terrific. Something you can only understand by doing it yourself. The best part was to see a group of friends waiting and cheering me on to finish. None of them told me they would be there. I crossed the line and…euphoria.
We all hung out afterwords and had a couple of beers. I overcame my exhaustion and was ready to celebrate. Incredible how I got my energy back.
I did, by the way, pass the keg-towing group. I’m not that big of a lazy fuck. I never did see the gorilla dude though. There were plenty of idiots around getting ready for the St. Pattys festivities.
Then I had to add one more idiot to that list:
Me. For not fucking doing this sooner.