Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Night Before

Status: I'm sitting here, waiting for clothes to dry, digesting some Chinese (it's called carbo-loading, shut up).

I'm crossing the starting line in less than 11 hours. Beyond that line lay 6.2 miles of road. 10 kilometers. When I was little, I wrongly pronounced it "kill-o-meters." Out of the mouths of babes, huh?

I've hit the gym a few times in the last few weeks, but haven't found a rhythm. I've allowed my life and schedule to get erratic over the last few months, and it's been murder on my motivation and stamina for gym-time. So now, I'm staring down the barrel of 6+ miles when the furthest I've ever walked in a fitness setting is just over half that.

I'm what the Penguin would call "begging for injury." And probably "an idiot."

I never claimed to be bright--just stubborn.

===

I went to pick up my race packet today, a day early because I knew the crowd tomorrow would be larger than any I've dealt with up to this point. Stopped in at Luke's Locker on West Gray, cutting through a line of about a hundred people waiting to get into the Honeybaked Ham store. (Really, people? You can't figure out how to cook Thanksgiving yourself, or ask Momma or Nana to do it? That's sad.)

As I walked through the athletic store to the crowded back section where they were passing out race packets, I passed signs inviting people to "Meet _____ _____" (whose name now escapes me). A man of fifty-five or so stood alone next to a table of books. He was apparently an author who wrote novels (?) about running. He caught my eye and looked up hopefully, like a scruffy dog forlornly wagging his tail once at the sight of a new friend. I smiled and nodded as I passed. Poor guy.

I collected my packet and left, walking past the author who was offering someone a bookmark and asking them if they liked fiction. My heart ached for him in that moment. But I had to get on the road, and get to a meeting.

On the way out the door, one of the race volunteers asked me if I'd like to take part in a pie-eating contest. Now, I knew he meant nothing by it. But there was a moment where I was offended. I was thinking, "Dude, I'm fat, i know, but you see the race packet bag in my hands, don't you?!?" So I laughed, and said, "NO!!! Um, thanks anyway!" I saw their booth across the street. The contest was part of pre-raceday activities and fundraising for Sheltering Arms, the senior-citizens charity sponsoring the race. The thing is, non-runner Dave would have been too embarrassed to take part in such a thing. Runner-Dave now has less shame, but more sense. So, no, well-intentioned volunteer; keep your pie to yourself.

===

Contents of the Race-Packet Gift Bag:

--Race T-shirt. White. Good quality. I paid a couple of bucks extra to get a 2XL, which means I'm only slightly more likely to ever fit into it.
--A Myoplex vanilla nutrition shake.
--A Snickers Marathon nutriton bar. (My favorite, I love these!)
--An LED sensor nightlight from TXU energy.
--Flyers for local businesses (race sponsors), upcoming races, and a foot and ankle fitness/rehab center (HA!)
--Race info, race bib, and timing tag.

Not too shabby, Sheltering Arms Turkey Trot 10K.

===

I'm right now watching the Biggest Loser "Where Are They Now" special. Feeling really inspired. Particularly by Matt Hoover, the early-season winner who gained a lot of weight back. He's now working to get rid of it again, and the special followed him as he fought to complete the Kona Ironman. He was clearly the biggest racer out there, but he didn't give up. The heartbreaking thing is he missed the finisher cut-off time by less than four minutes. But he didn't give up. He said, "I know people look at me and think, he shouldn't be out here. But I don't care, I'm not giving up." And he finished the race. And that attitude is exactly how I feel. I know that tomorrow morning, I'll be the biggest person out there (by a buck fifty, minimum), and there will be people who will see me and think, what in the world is this joker doing here?

But you know what? I'm doing it anyway, because not only will it be good for me, but I know there will be that one guy out there, bigger than your typical runner, who will see me and think, "Shoot, if that fattie can do it, I'm gonna do it too, next time."

I run for that guy. For that girl. For myself.

===

Less than ten hours from right now. 6.2 miles. I'm worried. I'm a bit intimidated, to be honest.

But I'm not giving up.

See you on the other side of that finish.