About Me

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Runner. Nerd. Relentless reader and documentary watcher. Beer, vodka, and wine lover. Marathoner. Studier. Music Snob. Traveler. Chocolate lab owner.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm Almost a Marathoner!

As I begin to type this, it's 4 days, 8 hours, 33 minutes, and 54 seconds until my marathon.  My emotions are ranging between nervousness and terror.  As it draws near, I'm trying to win the mental battle, reminding myself that I CAN do this.  One of my coping mechanisms has been to think of all the things I've done that could be worse than running a marathon. I spent several months in a body cast, which I'm sure was terrible, but in all honesty, I remember none of it.  Here are a few examples of bad experiences with good payoffs that I do remember:

What sucked: Going to bed shit-faced at 1:30 a.m. and waking up at 4:00 a.m. to drive 2.5 hours home and work for 12 hours.  I remember thinking that day, "if I can survive this day, I can survive a marathon.  I'm only halfway through my day and I've never felt worse than I do right now."
Why it was worth it: My best friend's Grandma died and she needed me to be there.  She may not have needed us to each take down a bottle of wine, several beers, race in the pool, then go to the bar soaking wet in our pajamas.  On the other hand, that may have been exactly what she needed.

(I have a photo of this event, but it's so terrible that I will not share it)

What sucked: Spending a month of my summer days counting grass in the blazing heat of the prairie and spending the nights picking ticks off myself.
Why it was worth it: I got to meet a great group of new people, live in a cabin on Lake Okoboji in Iowa, and camp in the Badlands of Nebraska and the Black Hills of South Dakota, and explore Wind Cave.  I've never seen a more amazing star-scape than deep in the prairie reserves of Nebraska at Midnight.  Because of this class, I also got to graduate ahead of schedule.
Worth it for the experience...(yes, I do have sunglasses on my head and a headlamp around my neck)
...but no kidding, we were counting grass...

...and analyzing it in spreadsheets.  It was miserable.
What sucked: Taking an anatomy test at 8:00 am after going to bed at 3:30, drunk off my ass with the room spinning around me.  When I took the test, every line blurred together as I attempted to read it.
Why it was worth it: I got to sit in the green seats at the Cardinals game the night before.  For those that don't know, the green seats are the first few rows behind home plate.  Tickets to these seats allow you to have a free dinner and drinks beforehand, and a waiter to bring you anything you want (Budweiser, for the lady) in your seats during the game, free of charge.  Also, I got a B on that test.
You would have done it for these seats, too.
What sucked: My first half-marathon.  I set out with the 2:15 pace group, after 4 miles (3 of which were uphill), our pacer said, "oh shit, I'm running way too fast.  We're on pace to finish in 2 hours."  Not only did I burn out hard and fast, my boyfriend ran my exact same pace 15 feet in front of me for the entire race, but refused to run with me.  He said, "I can't run your pace, it's too slow."  Guess what, buddy?  You were running my pace, just choosing to do it just far enough ahead that I could always see you...dick.
Why it was worth it: Not only did I have the joy of finishing a half-marathon and beginning my life as a runner, but that day also cemented the fact that my boyfriend was a complete asshole, and empowered me enough to leave what was truly an abusive relationship.  BIG win.
My first race medal!
What sucked: Landing in Japan with no luggage, no hotel reservation, in Tokyo instead of Osaka, and our interpreter and friends were on the other side of the country.
Why it was worth it: We barely made our connection, so we were just happy to be in Japan.  Who cares if I hadn't brushed my hair in 3 days?  I had just started running a couple weeks before this.  Had I not been a runner, we would have never made the flight.  We sprinted through O'Hare, from one terminal to the next, just in time to reach our gate as the flight attendant was closing the door.  I'm not a fast runner, but we knew there was no chance our luggage was moving as fast as we were.
After nearly three days in the same clothes, I celebrated when my pack arrived.

For your enjoyment: Engrish

As long as you're happy.
I don't understand it beforehand.
What sucked: getting in a fight with a random old man at the farmer's market.
Why it was worth it: that asshole insulted my mother.  Only I am allowed to insult my mother.
This is my mom, a breast cancer survivor, who, at the time, was exactly one month away from her reconstructive surgery.
This is me and my older sister, and also the cause of the fight.  It went something like this:

Old man: Oh no.  No. No. No.  That's just wrong.
Me: Excuse me?
Old man:  That is so wrong.  I can't believe you. Mom's new rack?  Disgusting.  
(This old dude was up in my face, shaking his head)
Me: Ya know what?  This is my mother standing next to me, and she thinks it's hilarious, so that is all I care about.  Let me just say, the next time you get your balls cut off I bet you celebrate the day you get a new fucking set.  Carry on, sir.
(In all fairness, if I remembered I was wearing it, I might have taken it off to go anywhere besides the Race for the Cure.  However, if that old man was going to be a dick to us, I wasn't going to take it.)

What sucked: Canoeing and portaging through the Boundary Waters, a week after ice-out.  We woke up and our tents were covered in snow, and it rained ALL day, EVERY day, for a week.  We all went on a lichen and moss scavenger hunt to keep us moving through the woods, and prevent us from getting hypothermic.  The real kicker?  We were out there for 8 days, and I dropped my toothbrush in the mud on the very first day.
Why it was worth it: Aren't most outdoor experiences a fine and pleasant misery?  Backcountry camping is always a lot of work.  We had a couple small bouts of sunshine, but unforgettable memories nonetheless.  After freezing my ass off for 8 days, the cold shower and cold Moose Drool I had once we got out was absolutely worth it.

No joke, we were on a lichen scavenger hunt.
We survived under makeshift shelters.

This moment of tranquility made up for every second of misery.
Anytime I get to sleep on a rock, in sunshine, while covered in mud, I'm happy as hell.
What sucked: getting an hour and a half of drunken sleep on the floor of a casino hotel room, then working as a student ambassador at orientation the next day.
Why it was worth it: Jimmy fuckin Buffett.  That's why.
Yes, this is how my friends dress for Jimmy Buffett.

I was very tempted to end this post with "Jimmy fuckin Buffett.  That's why."  Humor has always been my coping mechanism.  Currently, it's a mix of humor and denial.  While I may be a better marathon drinker than marathon runner, I've worked hard for this.  The fact is, I'll do it, and it might suck, or it might not.  I doubt it will be as fun as Jimmy Buffett or the Green Seats, but either way, it will be worth it, and I promise to enjoy it as much as possible.


  1. Loved this post! You've had some fun in your life already...even if it wasn't all that fun til the memories. :) Somehow, I'm thinking the marathon may be like that, too. You've trained for it...you'll do great! Good luck!

  2. Terrific blog Ashley Jane! I saw that you linked to my blog and just wanted to say thanks. I read through your blog and found it very interesting.

    I'll check back to see how your marathon went, all the very best with it. Whatever happens you're going to benefit from the experience. I haven't been the same since my first one ;)

  3. ahhhh i love it!!! you are going to rock it. i cant wait to hear all about it!!! xoxo

  4. I love this list...and I love you more! I cannot tell you how excited I am to be a part of your first marathon. This is such a big day for you and I know you're going to do amazingly well.

    And for reals - I'm smuggling beer to the finish line!

  5. You have lived an amazing life thus far and I sure the marathon experience will rate far down on the list of what sucked in your life. And good job dumping the dick. Sounds like he would have been a shitty husband and father. I ran a 5k with my 10 yr old daughter and stayed at her pace, just so she could say her dad ran with her. good luck.

  6. i love this post. and you're going to rock your marathon! i know it!!