This morning, I completed my fourth Richmond 10k Trail Race around Brown's Island. I love this race because it has so many different things to keep you occupied. Much of it is on a narrow trail in the woods but every so often you have to run through a stream, or across a giant dry riverbed full of boulders, or scramble up the side of a hill, etc. I ran it with two friends and I joked at the start that I should stick with the man wearing a shirt that had a picture of a turtle and the motto "Start Slow and Taper Off." Instead, I somehow ended up starting the race with a Richmond City Council member and an over-eager Department of Health worker chatting him up. He joked that he was "drafting" me and called us the "Fastest of the Slowest runners". That man eventually passed me....and I found myself behind Turtle Shirt halfway through....
But every time I run a race, I can't help but remember my first substantial distance run: a 1/2 marathon in Virginia Beach several years ago. My friend Rebekah and I had really not trained at all for it and doubted we'd even finish when race day came. We kept ourselves distracted for a good few miles just joking about how far we thought we could actually go and then making up ridiculous "ratios" that made no sense but kept us entertained. "If we do a 1/1 (meaning run 1 mile, walk 1 minute) for the first 5k (3-ish miles), and a 2/1 (this time meaning, run 2 minutes, walk one) for 1 mile, and a 1/2 for the next 2 miles...." we actually made it to mile 7 without taking any walk breaks because we were so busy trying to do math while giggling at how RIDICULOUS it was to act like we were actually going to finish at all.
At that point, the sun hit me like kryptonite and I melted to a walk while Rebekah continued on. I caught up to her, and we actually finished the race by alternating between walking and running every mile after that. Around mile 11: I got overzealous with hydration. In the last quarter mile: I got overzealous with "finishing strong". If you've ever ran, you probably see where this is going. As I crossed the finish (and this is being videotaped), I turned to my left to slap hands with Rebekah.
Then turned to my right to vomit.
After that, we limped back to the guys' house we were staying at and they proceeded to try to be good tour guides of Virginia Beach. "You guys want to walk around?" "Go shopping?" "Jet ski??"
We made a half-attempt to look excited, but in the end it came across more like "You know what we've heard is the BEST thing to do in Virginia Beach?? SIT."
In retrospect, it was probably pretty silly to do a 1/2 marathon without training, but I'm afraid it's been more of a standing challenge for me. Like, "if I can do that without training, just imagine what other kinds of vomit-inducing activities I can barely make it through!"