Mardi Gras Marathon

Two months in between posts is okay right?  No one reads these anyway so I may as well just look in the mirror and talk to myself, but hey, just in case, right?  What’s more, my wife has abandoned me this weekend for a trip to Vegas and I have time to write something.  This post will focus on the Mardi Gras marathon I completed on February 5, 2012.  For those who do not want to read the entire post, I’ll give you a brief summary – “Fuck You Mardi Gras Marathon.”  A more detailed report follows.

For those keeping track, the goal here was under 3 hours.  For those who looked it up, the result was 3:48:00.  I learned a great deal from this race, but most importantly, Fuck You Mardi Gras Marathon.

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I struggled with a nagging injury going into the race and a fever the week leading up to the race so I suppose I should not have expected to attain my goal, but 3:48:00?  Next time can you just punch me in the face and then shove me in an ice bath?

My brother did the half marathon that day so we shared a hotel room the night before (no, nothing happened…that I know of…though I was drowsy the morning after and my ass hurt.  I now wear the cone of shame anytime we are in the same room)

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Oh well…back to the race.  We step out from the hotel lobby into 20-25 mph winds and freezing rain.  Now let me qualify that statement and remind everyone I’m from Houston.  No, it wasn’t 10 degrees or ACTUAL freezing rain, but it was in the low 40s and raining and, well, really fucking cold and windy.  We share a look of “fucking Galveston”, take a deep breath and run to the car.  We arrive at race start where, somehow, it’s colder and windier.  We stay in the car as long as possible then shiver next to the start line while some injured goat mewls out the national anthem.  I’m usually not so critical because that’s a ridiculously difficult to sing and it takes guts do it in front of anyone (even the 6 people who showed up for the Mardi Gras Marathon), but this was brutal.  I literally felt as if someone was stabbing my brain with every note. 

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So, the mewling stops, the gun goes off and I start running.  Not too bad.  Sore, a little tired from the fever, but feeling good for the first 1.5 miles, i.e. the only portion (save the last mile) NOT on the seawall.  I turn right on the seawall and into those 20-25 mph winds.  Wait…I was going to say something…oh, right…FUUUUUUUUCK!  I could see and feel my feet and legs moving, but I wasn’t going anywhere.  Alright, that’s ok, no pain, no gain, we aren’t setting a PR anyway.  I step up the pace and get into a rhythm and I know on the way back, this headwind will be at my back and, oh, look, we turn back into the neighborhoods for a little bit, that will be nice…or so logic and fucking physics would dictate.  How, Galveston Seawall, is it possible to have a constant headwind no matter what direction I turn.  “Oh, you want to go North…HI!! HEADWIND!  You’re heading South now…HEADWIND, HERE, HOW’S IT GOING?!  Going East you say?  HEADWIND AGAIN, CAN I COME!?!??  YOU LOOK EXHAUSTED!!” 

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Damnit Google Images.

Piss….and shit….and whore.  For those who think I’m exaggerating, blow me, but also see the photographic evidence below…that is me…really. The wind literally blew my clothes off…and gave me a Hitler mustache…and pube head.

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So I take it fairly easy the first lap with a 1:45:00 or so thinking, ok, I have a feel for it.  I step it up the last 2 miles of the first lap and continue that pace through mile 16 of the second lap when the small “nagging” injury decided to join up with Dr. Headwind and become my worst fucking nightmare injury.  “Oh, hey, you’re not using that knee are you?  I’d like to test the effect of this sledgehammer on common joints.”  So, I end up walking the next 5-6 miles…in freezing fucking rain and a constant twiriling, swirling, hurling wind.  And you know, I may have been ok with it, except, I saw several people cutting off parts of the course.  Here again, I’m distracted, I’ve lost my train of my thought…no, no, here we go…FUCK YOU!  Now, some of you may have just decided “Fuck this, I’m going back home” which is fine, but I followed many of you all the way to the finish where you accepted your medal like you earned it you sack of shit.  Most of the course was on the seawall so, it would have been (and apparently was) really easy to just turn around on the seawall and cut off 3-4 miles each way. 

And you know, running and triathlons and all this crap is individual.  You’re not supposed to care what other people are doing.  Don’t get depressed when the 300 pound guy wheezes passes you taking a hit from his inhaler “Are….you…o…k?” Nonetheless, the sport is self governing, i.e. the MOTHERFUCKING HONOR SYSTEM.  I won’t cheat if you won’t ok?  Now, I’m not, nor will I ever get paid for this stuff, but I will strangle you with my medal if I see you cheating (I’m now on trial for murder by the way…this post from prison).  So…cheaters will be cheaters. 

If that weren’t bad enough, my absolute worst nightmare happened.  “Injury?”  No, I never really think about that. “Bad weather?”  Still, no, never crosses my mind before I race.  What does cross my mind before I race and every runner’s real fear is having to take an enormous dump right in the middle of the race.  Never happened in 10 years of running…except during Fuck You marathon day.  Well, I’m walking anyway may as well drop a deuce as well.  Lord Almighty.  And yes, if you’re wondering, I found a toilet…I’m not that hardcore…or vile.

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I make it to mile 22 or so and the pacer with the “3:50:00” pace starts passing me and I don’t know why I then suddenly cared about time.  I thought to myself, you know what, no, I’m not going sub 3 hour today, but fuck all if I’m going to go anywhere closer to 4 hours than I already have.  I ditch the pity party and all but sprint the last 4 miles to the finish where my brother awaits with his “If you ever talk me into this shit again, I’ll kill you” face.  We ride off into the sunset (bleak disgusting morning), relax in our palace ($2/night Days Inn with complimentary feces and herpes with every pillow mint), and then enjoy a beautiful post race meal at a quaint little Italian hole in the wall (shithole…literally a hole in the wall.  Never sure what was going to come through that hole).

Below is a picture of my shoe after the race.  Apparently, I needed new shoes.  This lead to weeks of achilles issues.  Fuck You Mardi Gras Marathon and myself for not paying attention. 

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Also, to add insult to injury, literally, the shirt they gave us was hideous (see below).  I know what you’re thinking “Nick, someone has taken the liberty of urinating on your shirt before soaking it overnight in diarrhea.”  No, dear reader, that’s not what happened.  That’s the shirt.  Lime green with Mardi Gras colors.  This will come in handy when I’m directing traffic for the colorblind olympics “Wow…what a great shirt man!!” “No, RED means stop, GREEN means…oh shit, sorry man.”

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So, after all that pissing and moaning and self pity, what did I learn from this race?  A lot.  First, I’m not a cheater.  Second, I can finish any race.  Terrible weather, poor mental attitude, pre race fever, etc, etc., but I finished.  Third, rest is ridiculously important.  That sounds obvious, but I never pay any attention to it.  It’s sometimes better to miss 3 workouts and sleep then do 3 workouts on little to no rest.  I’m told your body needs to “recover.”  I don’t actually know the meaning of that word, but it’s a positive thing.  Four, never forget the basics.  Shoes, shoes, shoes.  That was a stupid thing to let happen.  Now I have bloody shoes and socks…take that Curt Shilling. 

Next post will be more positive and less whiny, but still about Galveston.  I was THIS close to beating Lance Armstrong. 

 

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