Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Two marathons, a half, and a world record.

You heard me, folks, a WORLD RECORD. But we'll get to that in a moment.

First, we get to talk about heat stroke and marathon running. It's not as fun as it sounds. (You are all shocked, I'm sure, because it sounds like a friggin' party.)
It was just like this. Except I'm not a dude. And I never wear shorts. 
It all started on a late September weekend. The race was the Huntsville Marathon. The start time was 9 a.m. NINE A.M. WHAT. The forecast for the day was in the upper 80s to the low 90s depending on what source you're looking at. I am not fast. Y'all know this by now, right? So a 6 hour marathon (standard finish time for me) means that I would be finishing the race at 3 p.m. THREE P.M. WHAT.

When Jamie and I disembarked from the bus at the start line, the sun was already high and hot. We immediately took off our jackets and gloves and began fretting over how much we were going to suffer that day. We weren't the only ones having mild panic attacks as the temperature started climbing. It's good to know that we weren't alone in our freaking out. Jamie's plan was to run like a mad woman down the mountain until the heat stopped her. That was also my plan, and it was not a good plan, ladies and gentlemen.

By the first aid station I was already pouring water all over myself like I was in Flashdance. I was wearing enough bright colored spandex, after all.
This is an accurate representation. For real.
Pouring water over my head gave me sweet relief for a grand total of 2 minutes before I was fairly certain that I was on the brink of death. At least I had the downhill of the canyon to keep me moving along at a relatively decent pace. By mile 15, though, it was all over. The course flattened out and the sun was roasting me alive.  I would run in tiny spurts, telephone pole to telephone pole. And the moment there was any shade, my pace slowed to a crawl so I could stay in the slightly cooler air for as long as possible.
I'll never get over Monte Cristo.
As I was death marching my way along, I happened upon another death marcher and we decided to trudge some of the hot, awful miles together. It turns out that this gentleman had also run the Little Grand Canyon a couple of weeks earlier as well. So we reminisced about the blissful weather of that day as we made our way to the finish. After a couple of miles chatting and walking, I decided to try running again. Let me just say that that little plan of mine didn't last long. I was reduced back to the zombie shuffle in a matter of half a mile. By mile 25, there were some course officials driving around with Creamies. Holy smokes, you guys. I wanted to take ALL the Creamies and bathe in them. They were melting fast enough... But I refrained and simply ate one.

My trudging friend caught back up with me at about 25.5 miles and we just went the rest of the way together. We didn't dare to try and run until we saw the 26 mile marker. Surely, that .2 miles at the end wouldn't kill us, right? So we take off running, the finish line in sight. And I swear, it just kept getting farther away. My trudge buddy turned into Mr. Speedypants and I was pretty sure I was going to puke, then die, then come back alive just to puke again.
He's speeding out of the frame. I am just a statue, by comparison. 
I finally made it across the line. 6:18:something. Really? I hit the half way point by 2;42:something. That last half really took some time. Oh well. I wasn't the last person to cross that line, by a quite a bit. I headed straight to the recovery table to drink copious amounts chocolate milk. Ice cold chocolate milk, chugged as fast as I could get it down. OOPS. I instantly regretted that decision and spent the next 15 minutes lying on the ground trying not to vomit. Because being over heated doesn't mesh well with a belly full of frigid dairy product. Lesson learned.
Marathon #13. The race that tried to kill me. But what a great medal, amiright?!
With a week's worth of recovery, it was time to hit the Jordan River trail for a half marathon. The weather was approximately a billion times better than the previous week. It was a very low key event, meaning I was once again postulating a last place finish. Meh. Somebody has to be last, and my non-existent running ego can take it. I did somehow managed to beat 6 whole people though, so that was exciting. Also, I got a high five from my friend, Devin, who happened to be zipping down the trail on a training run. Shout out to Devin and high fives!
Can I get a woo hoo?!
Jamie and I celebrated our pleasant weather finish with a king size Kit Kat bar and some wild cherry Pepsi. Because we EARNED that shiz, yo.
Double agents celebrate in style.
Now the moment you've all been waiting for. The story of the world record. Buckle up, cats and kittens. This is an epic tale of stress, woe, murderous intentions, and ultimate victory.
Now you're all shivering in antici.......pation.
The Layton Marathon course is the only course in Utah that world records can be set on, due to it's relative flatness. So some crazy kids decided to get some other crazy kids together to break the world record for the number of people tethered together to complete a marathon. I'm a crazy kid, Jamie is a crazy kid, and we knew some other crazy kids, so we all signed up to give it a go.
We were a millipede; we were amazing. 
So this looks like fun, huh?! It sure would have been, if I hadn't been tethered to some awful specimens of human kind. The three ladies tied right in front of me were some of the worst examples of the running community that I have ever encountered. There's nothing quite like listening to three Boston qualifiers bitching about our pace for nearly 8 hours.

Hey, ladies. When you signed up for this, they made it very clear that speed was not a thing we were even going to worry about. We just had to finish. And with 82 people chained together, that was going to take some time. I knew that, and just about everyone else seemed to know that. DID YOU MISS THE MEMO?! By about the half way point, I was gauging the likelihood of being sent to prison if I strangled them each with my length of rope. I could plead insanity, because they were actually driving me insane.
"See? This is enough rope to murder three people with!"
I was willing to chance losing the record if I could just get those negative Nellies to shut the hell up. Here's the thing. Negativity isn't going to get us to the finish any faster. It's just going to make everyone hate you. And I do hate you ladies. You soured the experience of becoming a world record holder by being awful, selfish human beings. Your complete disregard for the well being of your teammates was disgusting. You didn't care that some people were struggling to keep moving. Some people weren't able to stay properly hydrated and instead of seeing what could be done to help them, you just screamed at them to keep moving. You didn't care when the man tied behind us tripped and fell. You kept us dragging him along for 3 solid feet before we could get you to stop. And did you ask if he was alright? Did you care that he was bleeding? No. You just complained that we would be even slower now.

I know this is level of vehemence isn't usually found in this blog. But I am still angry with the way these people acted for the ENTIRE day. The worst part is, they are an active part of the local running scene. I have seen them at many other races and I know I will see them again. I do not want to see them again. I may still harbor strangling urges. We'll see.
The bright spot at the end was that Scott (the ever-patient boyfriend) was finally able to come see me finish a race. He was there with icy cold drinks and Snickers bars. Because he is a saint. I knew we would be going to lunch together after the race, which was the ONLY reason that I didn't strangle anyone. They don't let you go to lunch after you murder people. They take you to prison. I had enough foresight to know the consequences of acting on my urges.
Not only a saint, but a diligent photographer. 
I am amazed that 82 people held it together long enough to complete this challenge. We did beat the previous record. We're just waiting on the final confirmation from the Guinness people. I would like to say it was worth all that we went through, but I'm still sort of wondering about that... My faith in humanity took a little hit to the gut. But it will pass. 99% of the people in the running community are the nicest, sweetest, most helpful people you could ever hope to meet. I'm going to try and focus on that. And hey, we set a world record. A WORLD RECORD. That's pretty cool, when you think about it. Plus, I learned that I possess much more self restraint than I previously thought. Learning is also pretty cool.

Stay tuned for another three race report next week, where I will also probably spend half of the blog freaking out about the Javenlina Jundred coming up on the 31st.

Happy running!