Despite being exhausted, we started getting nervous. It was really happening. We had to run 13.1 miles the next day. We decided to go eat a proper meal, and then go back to our hotel and rest. We went and had Japanese food. Healthy. We were walking back to our hotel, shopping here and there, when we decided we were still hungry. So we had Italian. Carb-loading, I guess. Then we stopped for gelato. Unnecessary. Then we had Philly cheesesteaks. Totally nuts. We were so nervous about running the next day, and about what we had done the night before, that now we were binge eating to calm ourselves. By the time we reached our hotel, we all felt sick. We decided to go to bed early to finally get some rest. It was turning into a disaster weekend. Old habits die hard. But then...Boom. Boom. Boom. We were staying in the hotel that the marathon had suggested. Boom. Boom. Boom. What the hell was that? In our pajama’s we walked all over ourhallway, but we heard nothing. But once we were back in our room. Boom. Boom. Boom. Our room was right above the ballroom which had a wedding going on. That was the base from the deejay’s music at the reception. We wanted to switch rooms, but there were nomore rooms available. The hotel was booked between this wedding and all the people running the marathon. After everything else, now no sleep! This is what you get for revenge running a marathon.
Around 5 AM, we were awoken by our wake up call, and none of us moved. We all felt dead. But we eventually got out of bed, laced up our sneakers, and headed out to the starting line. We hoped our debauchery all weekend hadn’t destroyed all the weeks of work we’d put in. They shot the gun and everyone started running. We knew we wouldn’t run the whole thing together, but wanted to run some of it with each other. We had matching t-shirts to look for each other. They said, “Might Die!”
It’s going to sound strange, but the first few miles were a blur. There were so many spectators. People cheering all of the runners on. Music. It was really nice. Before I knew it, I was at mile-8. I felt great, like I could run forever. But then I hit mile-10, and I started having problems. I had hit THE WALL.
I had heard about THE WALL, but had never experienced it, but I guess with everything I had done the last 48-hours I should have been surprised I hadn’t hit it sooner. THE WALL is when your body starts to experience extreme fatigue. It has something to do with your body not being able to break down carbohydrates into fuel fast enough. All of a sudden, I wanted to collapse and my body wanted to stop. But because I didn’t want to give up, instead of stopping, I started crying.
I was passing mile-10, with only 3 miles left, crying while wearing a shirt that said, “Might Die!” I thought about smug runners everywhere and cursed them. Why did I have to run my mouth off about being a runner? I cursed myself. Why did I ever do this? What was I thinking? All the doubts. All the reasons to quit.
I was cursing and running and crying, when I finally just stopped running. I stopped running and kept crying. Standing and crying. I felt so alone. But then in an instant, I was surrounded by runners. All of these hot, male runners surrounded me and encouraged me to keep going. Was this a mirage? Was I having some weird out-of-body running experience? I was surrounded by athletic men telling me to keep going. Saying that it was going to be all right. That I could do it. They knew I was hitting THE WALL, and they were pushing me through it. This was the “high!” This was what all of those weeks of training and pain were all about!
So I started running again. At first slow, but then with more speed. Mile-11. Mile-12. As I was coming up on the last mile, I ran into Time of Our Lives and BFF. We ran the last mile together. I told them about hitting the wall and meeting the hot guys. They told me about stopping at 10 porta-potty’s from being sick from everything we ate the night before. I never ran into my Ex again. He was probably training for his next race, but who cares because now I was an athlete. I actually loved running. And after we crossed the finish line, and got our complimentary massages, and made our way back to the hotel, we made a pact. Never to do that again.
And then the next day we signed up for a triathlon.