Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I came, I saw . . . I finished.

So it turns out I don't have ESP. Funny, considering those are my initials. But really. I believe I am anti-clairvoyant, and here's why:

In twelve weeks of running, I have failed to predict the next song to come up on my iPod 100% of the time. That's right, folks. My record stands perfect at zero hits, a bazillion misses.

Futile attempts to develop some degree of musical prescience only made up a fraction of the time I spent on the treadmill, trail, or road over the last three months. I also counted the bricks in my basement fireplace, and may have even, one groggy early morning, confused the complete lack of pattern in their placement for an image of Hugh Jackman. I made grocery lists in my head, air-viola-ed (left hand only, of course), and played the games I use to get myself to sleep at night (ready . . . name a world river starting with each letter of the alphabet . . . Go! Okay, now shoe manufacturers! Good! How about vegetables? Colors? Authors? Car models? Famous actors who can actually act? I could go on . . .) Best of all, I calculated what percentage of my run was complete, and extrapolated calories to have been burned by the finish line.

Anything to pass the time, right? I love to run, I really do, but sometimes I need something mind-numbing to push my body past the point I was sure I could never reach.

This past January, we spent some time at DisneyWorld, and as we headed in to the Magic Kingdom for the day, we caught the tail end of racers competing in the Disney Half Marathon. I surprised myself by tearing up a little -- these people came in all shapes and sizes, ages, and degrees of mobility, and I was utterly inspired. I surprised myself even more when I heard these words come out of my mouth: "I can do that."

My race was this past Saturday. On the registration website, there's a sweet little exit clause for the half-marathoners: no charge to do a last-minute switch to the 10K race, run concurrently on the same course. So when I checked the weather for race day, and saw 100% chance of rain and strong thunderstorms, I was grateful for a back-up plan.

I will not lie: as all of the short-distance runners began peeling away from the pack at 3.5 miles to finish off their race and I realized I had ten more to go, I wanted, as badly as I wanted a baby to FINALLY EXIT MY LOINS ALREADY, to be done. I wanted to pretend I took a wrong turn and ended up at the finish line an hour and a half early. My sweat-and-rain-water-soaked gear (which may never be the same again) would have been no less soaked from the shorter distance.

And I still can't tell you why I didn't. Extreme amounts of will power? Probably not. Mind numbed by a horrid combination of persistent rain, runner's trots (TMI, but thank my lucky stars for gas station bathrooms), and a total lack of pop/rock/hip hop ESP? Perhaps. The prospect of lunch (ahem -- dessert) at the Cheesecake Factory to replenish 1700 calories burned instead of a mere 750? A definite possibility. But after 200 miles run, twelve pounds lost, a (self-diagnosed) bruised metatarsal, a sprained ankle, and a broken (I'm pretty darn sure because otherwise it wouldn't have hurt so darn much) pinky toe, I don't know how I kept going -- I can only quote my effervescent and inimitable LaneyKate, who's first uttered phrase was this: "I did it."

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