The time has come: the Columbus Marathon is almost here. As I reflect on my training, I really feel ready! I’m concerned about the weather conditions for that morning (it’s supposed to be in the 30’s), but I have done everything I can to help ensure I reach my goal of a PR.
I’ve spent the last week or two talking with my other runner friends, most of whom run in marathon-in-training (MIT) groups. While they thrive on the camaraderie of that dynamic, I came to a critical realization: I need to run alone. As in, keep everyone else the f*ck away from me.
There are copious amounts of sweat involved.
Yes, sweat is normal when you’re banging out upwards of 4 miles, but we’re talking about a scenario in which my entire ensemble is soaked. I was once asked if it started raining while I was out on my run. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I sweat probably 6-7 times more than your average athlete (not a hyperbole). But what I can’t yet come to terms with is the fact that a soaking wet shirt creates persistent T.H.O. which is not cute when you need to run into Giant Eagle or CVS on your walk home. #PervAlert
Said sweat manifests itself in the most offensive of places.
Another regular spot is all around my crotch. I love looking like I’ve just pissed myself.
My face collects an impressive array of living organisms.
I hate to beat a dead horse, but this sweat… it’s so intense that it causes gnats and mosquitos to stick to my face when I run by the river. Once, I even “caught” a lady bug. Can’t make this up, guys.
My body turns into a wet noodle.
Have you ever picked up a spaghetti noodle and watched it dangle spastically? I = that noodle. I’m serious here when I say that I have ZERO control over my limbs. I mean, somehow my legs just magically keep moving forward, but in a very herky-jerky sort of manner. Quite frankly, I am astonished that I haven’t yet inadvertently smacked another runner or knocked a cyclist askew in passing. Shit’s dangerous.
If I’m real with myself, I’ll admit that it’s not just my limbs that have a wet noodle problem. I cannot take any responsibility for my lips either. You see, there’s a runners’ etiquette on the Olentangy Trail – you extend some gesture of hello and encouragement to other runners as you pass them. Without fail, my weak attempt at a smile results in something like this:
Which, no doubt, scares rather than encourages my fellow runners. My bad.
The logistics involved in hydration are complicated by my klutzy nature.
Trying not to break pace or drop my phone or tangle my headphones while raising a water bottle to my lips, tip it back, take a swig, swallow, yet somehow keep breathing… you guys, there is a LOT of room for error here. Error = tripping, spilling, dropping, choking, bruising my lip, chipping a tooth – GAWD, this is complicated! And no, I can’t just stop and take a drink. 1) That would be too easy, and 2) If I stop, I won’t be able to re-start the engine.
All the involuntary bodily functions.
Most of which are audible even over my spastic panting. Yes, I am talking about farting. And burping. And thigh rubbing (oh, the chafing!). Overall, my body freaks out on long runs and would create a veritable assault on the senses for any running partner. And frankly, I just don’t hate anyone enough to subject them to the ambush of my gaseous emissions.
Now I take a tone of jest, but there is truth in all of these things. What it boils down to is this: my family, friends and co-workers alike all see a polished, put together version of me. When I am in a sweaty, wet-noodle, farting state of physical exertion, it puts me in a highly vulnerable spot. I can think of maybe 3 people I would ever feel comfortable seeing me in that state.
“Oh, but CK, what about the social aspect of a running group?”
No. Uh-uh. No way. A thousand times NO. I have zero desire to try to hold a conversation while running – largely because I am focusing all of my physical and mental energy on NOT COLLAPSING IN A FETAL POSITION OF DEFEAT. Also, I keep a very robust social life outside of work and running. So there’s that.
And this, my friends, is why for me, running will always and forever be a solo sport. Please tell me I’m not alone in some of these embarrassments, ladies (or gents).
But, all of that said, I am ready to kick some half-marathon ass.