Here’s what the finish line looked like yesterday.
Well, I did it! I ran the half-marathon yesterday. Now, from to my sponsors, I have 4 drinks, 3 hi-5s, two new friends, and two volunteers to drink my patented Blue Scream. Also, according to the polls, people were predicting me to come in at a bit over 3 hrs… but I actually came in at 2 hrs, 1 min, and 41 seconds. That comes out to about 9:23/mile. No spring roadrunner!
But, that’s 1214th place folks! (out of 2535 males) Or, 191 out of all 403 males in my division (I think that means males between the ages of 30 and 35).
Reasons I enjoyed this experiment:
It was an extraordinary problem. I love creating problems for myself that cause me a bit of stress and anxiety and which force me to rise to some new challenge. Most of my self-experiments have been mental or self-helpy. This was a break from those in that it was a physical challenge. When I create an extraordinary problem and then solve it, or complete it, it forces me to think of myself a bit differently. I surprised myself, and maybe others.
I loved the mob aspect. There’s something invigorating about being part of a group and realizing that you sort of belong to it. Yesterday morning, in the freezing rain, I found myself in a group of like-minded masochists. And the entire city was catering to us, cheering us on, closing off streets, providing us water and Gatorade, telling us how we were doing, celebrating our awesomeness, etc. I felt very pampered and spoiled in a strange way. We were running on highways, throwing trash onto the sidewalk, creating traffic jams, and yet people still felt obligated to tell us how great we were. Not only that, but amongst the runners, everyone was friends. We chatted, we screamed in the tunnel, we laughed at the absurdity of Madison’s hill.
Technology. I learned about all the weird technology they use to track time. You wear a chip on your ankle and step on mats along the course to get your time. Then, the same day of the race, you get results on their website. It was also fun documenting the race via flickr, twitter, and dodgeball. At one point, while I was sending a photo to flickr, someone asked me, “Are you watching the game?”
I think I might start running more, just for fun. I do enjoy it for some reason. I think that there’s a pocket of stress hidden in my body that only gets released when I’m running. Sometimes I’ll feel stressed out and I can sense that a run will fix the problem. And a side-effect of this is that my brain comes up with crazy ideas while running. It’s an easy way to self-regulate my mental state. And people are more accepting of regulating your mental state with exercise than with drugs or alcohol. I don’t know why. They both have day-after symptoms (hangover/soreness), they both make you feel weird, you are more likely to fall down and hurt yourself when you’re doing either of these activities versus not doing them, both types of people tend to hang around other types of the same people. But, for some reason, there’s not a whole lot of overlap. Maybe I’ll be the bridge between the alcoholics and the sporty types. That would be fun.