My ridiculously funny, cake loving hubby is guest posting today about the Flying Pirate Half Marathon. Here is the race report in his words.
|“Fat guys shouldn’t runny wunny.”|
One of the great moments in cinematic history occurs in “Tommy Boy”. The late Chris Farley slips into the blue blazer belonging to co-star David Spade. He begins to twirl around in the jacket, which is obviously several–many–sizes too small for him. He giggles and starts singing, “Fat guy in a little coat” over and over. The portly Farley then accidentally shreds the tiny jacket in two. Fat guys and little coats don’t go together. Neither do fat boys and running.
There’s something about a 6’2″ 260 lb. neon-shoed man running slower than old married people have relations that elicits both side-splitting laughter and Hitchcockian terror. That’s me. Fat boy running.
I started running two weeks after Laura finished her first 5K. I told her if she finished in less than forty minutes, I’d run a 5K with her. She finished in 40:40. I’m a good husband. And so began my journey with running.
By mid-December 2012, I’d completed four 5K races with Laura. She had asked me several times to run the Flying Pirate Half Marathon with her. I shrugged her off every time. I couldn’t imagine lumbering 13.1 miles. If God had intended us to run 13.1 miles, he wouldn’t have created cars. But right before Christmas, I changed my mind. I decided to run the Flying Pirate simply because my bride asked me to.
In January, I compiled a fourteen week training plan. At 303 miles, the plan was ridiculous. I knew I’d never run each of those miles, but it provided me with a guide to building my aerobic and physical endurance. And so I began training, adding miles each week. As the weeks and miles piled up, I started lengthening my long runs, from six miles to nine miles. Three weeks before the race, I attempted my first double digit run. My knees, knowing that a fat boy has no business running that far, decided to go on strike nine miles in, screaming and cursing at me for the torture to which I’d subjected them. I had to rest them for a week. I wisely invested in some knee braces. I finished up my training with another ten miler a week before the race and a two miler two days before the race. Fat boy was ready to chase the Flying Pirate.
|My blaze orange Nike’s.
If you can’t beat ’em, blind ’em.
Race day started early–4:30 AM. Laura and I put on our space-aged running suits, loaded up on carbs and water, and headed to the finish line to catch a bus that would take us to the starting line. We listened to the runners behind us bragging about their full marathon times and trying to one up each other. I wanted to tell them how wonderful cake was. We finally arrived at the start. We got off the bus, checked out the portable toilets, and then lined up with our 1,500 new best friends.
The first corral took off promptly at 7:00 AM. Many of them would finish before we reached the half-way point. Our corral started at 7:04 AM. The first three miles were amazing… for Laura. She pushed us at around a 10:30 pace. At the half mile point, we passed our first puker. I wanted to puke. I couldn’t find my rhythm. It was warmer than that lying weather man said it would be. I struggled to get my breathing right. Our friend Dave ran up behind us, chatted for awhile, and then cruised ahead of us to a 2:05 finish. At the three mile marker, I thought, “This is the worst mistake of my life.” Fortunately, things improved dramatically from there.
Around mile four, we both found our rhythm. We would run for awhile and then walk for a minute or so to conserve energy and our knees. We crossed the five mile split at 58 minutes, which was the fastest I’d ever run five miles. We were on pace to shred our goal of 2:40.
And then came the blister.
Near the eight mile marker, which was at the Wright Brothers Memorial, Laura’s foot started hurting. We walked for several minutes. She stopped to apply Biofreeze and readjust her sock. Nothing helped. She gutted it out for the next three miles, walking more than she wanted to. We entered the woods around mile eleven. And my legs and knees decided they’d had enough.
All the walking we did to conserve Laura’s foot caused my legs to tighten up. My knees, which had been champs for eleven miles, started to ache. We’d run for several minutes, and I’d have to stop. I felt terrible, both physically and mentally. We were so close to Laura setting a PR, and it was slipping away. At least everyone else around us was walking. We finally arrived at the twelve mile marker. And just beyond it, the trail from hell.
The final mile of the Flying Pirate Half Marathon is a narrow trail through the wooded hills of Nags Head. Walking up the hills was torture. Running down them was worse. If we were in an episode of “The Walking Dead” we’d be dinner for the walkers. Every hill seemed higher. Every turn seemed harder. We climbed what seemed like the steepest hill on planet earth, and then we saw it.
The finish line.
|Fat boys get medals too.|
We emerged out of the woods and saw the large inflatable gate at the bottom of the hill just one tenth of a mile away. In that instant, all the pain in my legs disappeared with a huge shot of adrenaline. I took off down the hill with delirious abandon. You’d have thought there was a giant cake at the finish line. We finished together. The time–2:52:49 (unofficial–as I’m writing this we still haven’t received our official times). It was, by one minutes, a PR for Laura. It was a miracle for me. I’d caught the Flying Pirate. I was now an official half marathoner.
Running a half marathon was everything I expected. It sucked. It hurt. It was the worst idea I’d had this century. I could barely walk the next day. And I’m so glad Laura kept asking me to run it. I can’t wait to do it again.
But not yet. Right now, I just want some cake.