This post comes from May 15, 2011. Transferred from my old blog. --
So tomorrow I'm running The Pittsburgh Half Marathon.
Believe me, I know. 13.1 miles is more than I like to run in one shot as well. I'm more of a 5k or 10k guy. Actually, I'm more of a "someone please invent the health benefits of running without actually having to run" kind of guy. I'm not running this race because I like punishing myself though.
This weekend is kind of a "You think you can keep me down, life? Well watch this you bastard!" Then I flip life the bird and go run for 13.1 miles.
See, a year ago I was in Pittsburgh for this same race, but as a spectator. My girlfriend at the time was running the full marathon, as part of a fantastic ambition to run one in all 50 states. I supported that ambition passionately and promised I would be there to cheer her on for all of them.
Well, she completed it of course, because she's amazingly superbionic when I comes to running. While happy for her as always, this weekend was one of the most miserable weekends for me that I can remember.
At that time I was unemployed - growing increasingly frustrated at that fact, overweight, having all sorts of relationship problems in every facet of my life, and just all around unhappy. That day it ended up being rainy and cold which I can't imagine is fun to run a marathon in, but it's also not fun to be a spectator in. I had plenty of time to be grumpy and rained on which would have been bad enough.
Then, at one point in the race some brilliant <--(VERY SARCASTIC) lady runs across the course, right in front of a few runners who have to step out of the way...right into my right eyeball with the pointy corner of her umbrella, knocking my glasses to the ground and temporary blinding me.
A gracious old man next to me scoops up my glasses, curses out the lady and escorts me to the medical tent.
*I should break here to point out that I have "an eye thing". If you talk about your contacts or eyedrops or itchy eyes around me - instant waterworks for me. It's literally happening to me as I type. I would rather lose a finger than have eye problems.*
So yeah, misery index of the weekend on full blast as I sit there in a medical tent with these runners that just ran their hearts out and I'm some pudgy kid with a scratched retina (as was the end result).
Stay with me here. I'm not just going to bitch the whole time....
When I regained the ability to open one eye I watched people crossing the finish line. People of all shapes a sizes. Worse shape than me...shapes that I couldn't figure out how they manage to walk 10 feet more or less run 26.2 miles.
I said to myself, "If these people can do that, I can at least do half of that." I made a pact then and there to run a half marathon as part of putting my life back on track. I began training over the summer and did just that this past fall in Indianapolis.
Sometime in December I was at a party and a friend of mine and I were talking about running and half marathons and convinced each other to run one. I had no desire to do that again, but when I took a second thought about it I decided how fantastic it would be to return to the very scene of the height of my misery one year later, in better shape (40 pounds lighter!), financial situation, mental stability, etc and complete the Half Marathon to put an exclamation point on a year of betterment that I had dedicated myself to.
That's right. Take that life. You bastard!