Worst. Parade. Ever.

I ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach this weekend. I have run this race before, but it has been 9 years since the last time I ran down the boardwalk to that finish line.

Now I remember why.

To say that this weekend’s race did not go as planned is an understatement. It was not a complete disaster – I finished, which makes it a success, at least at the lowest level. And my family and I got to spend a fun weekend with an old friend who came into town from the Left Coast to run this race with us. That made it worth it, no matter how the actual event unfolded.

The run itself was fraught with unexpected events that reduced me to a runner/runner-walker/very-slow-walker quite quickly. Let’s just say that things happened that have never happened to me whilst running and leave it at that. The advice I’ve read in running magazines is to recognize what went wrong, learn from it, and move on to the next race. That is what I will do.

I did, however, have some insights while running/walking/almost crawling my way along the 13.1 (do not forget that .1, it is the most painful part!) mile course and I thought I’d share them here:

  • Humidity is evil. It really, REALLY, messes with you and if you don’t believe me, read this article from Runner’s WorldThe humidity was above 70% so even when the temperature was in the 70s -80s, it easily felt like nearly 100 degrees. Oh yeah, and this was at 7 a.m.!
  • PowerBar makes a tasty cola-flavored energy chew. Tasted kinda like one of my favorite candy treats – Gummy Cola Bottles.
  • “Play that Funky Music” is a great song to run to and get a crowd going. The race had a bunch of bands playing songs as we ran by and only this song inspired a sing-along amongst runners around me. We did hear it relatively early on, so that may have been a factor, but hearing a group of people running down the street belting out “lay down the boogie and play that funky music ’til you die” all together was funny.
  • By the end of the race, nobody is singing anything.
  • Elite runners are really fast. And really skinny. Did I mention fast?
  • There are a lot of funny t-shirts about running that you can find at the race expo. Some of my favorites – “Please let there be someone behind me to read this.”; “Will run for wine.”; “Training for the Zombie Apocalypse.”; “I love running. Just not when I’m doing it.”
  • Pride will get you quite far. No matter how badly I felt, I had one final goal – to run across that finish line. And I did.
  • I need flashier running gear. There are a lot of colorful, crazy clothes and shoes out there and I am quite boring by comparison.
  • What I do not need is a skirt, tutu, tiara, or cape. Running with those things on would drive me insane.
  • There are some people with sick senses of humor cheering at races. They yell funny/stupid things and hold up clever signs. One inspired the title of this post. Another read “Where’s everyone going?” Ha ha ha.
  • No matter how bad things may have gone, I know that I will race again. I run. I’ve run for most of my life. Running is my quiet time, my sanity-saver, my health-preserver. And racing gives me a goal. I can’t give it up anymore than I can give up eating. And just like how I go back to eating after a bout of food poisoning, I will go back to running after a bout of crappy-run. Because that is what I do.

As I tell myself while slogging out those miles, “Just keep swimming.”

Blue Tang

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