Friday, March 7, 2014

Bringing home the stupid

Note: this is some stupid shit I do here. As usual. Don’t try this at home.

It started with the bronchitis. Or whooping cough. Or typhoid. One of those. Yes, I did my usual thing of having a hacking cough for months until I went to the doctor – partly because I hadn’t yet found a doctor in the bucolic town of Bedford FallsSilverton, and partly because I’m an idiot that way. Oh, let’s be honest here: total idiocy.

So when I get to the point where the cough is a fiercely burning pain in my chest and it’s keeping me up at night, off to the doc I schlep. Where, of course, he falls under my spell immediately, based on our conversation:

Me: Terrible cough, blah blah blah…
Doctor: Okay, so….
Me (interrupting): Mayhap might it perchance be whooping cough?
Doctor: Whoopin….well, I suppose…

(We discuss our mutual hatred for anti-vaxxers and immediately form a mutual respect society, membership of 2.)

Me: Perchance might I have…..pleurisy?

He looks at me with what I am positive is admiration shining from his eyes.

Doctor: Wow, you’ve really done your research, haven’t you?
Me, modestly: Well, I do like to keep up on all the latest old-timey diseases that a person can be stricken with at any moment.

I’m sure it was just a sign of his efficiency and high demand that he bustled out of there pretty quickly, leaving a little vapor trail. Positive.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. So. Two days after said diagnosis I was off on a cross-country sojourn to continue my idiotic tale of stupidity, which began a month beforehand when I did the Tinkerbell Half Marathon at DisneyLand in California. Actually, that journey began some months before that, when I let myself be sucked in by the promise of even more shiny medals (to add to the ones sitting in a box somewhere at The Manor) to add to my collection. By doing the half at DisneyLand AND the half at DisneyWorld, I’d get not only a medal for each race, but also a third coast-to-coast medal!

I know exactly what you’re thinking at this point. Namely: what the fuck, Miss Tasha?

Because you see, I don’t train for these things. Oh sure, I have the best of intentions, but, well, let’s look at what happened.

1)    Miss Tasha decides to find her running shoes
2)    Miss Tasha has no freaking idea where they are
3)    But surely they’ll turn up? I just have to sort through hundreds of boxes
4)    Who the hell has time for that? But I’m sure they’ll magically turn up
5)    Two weeks before race day, I decide they’re not going to turn up. I buy the cheapest shoes imaginable.
6)    I break them in through my daily morning walkie with Kone. Tearing after him as he bolts after squirrels and stupid cats counts as running, right?

So you see my usual trajectory. In this case, I decided that instead of actual training, I’d do the smart thing: I’d look for people out there who were as stupid as me.

Here we’ll add a public service message. Now when you google “doing a half marathon without any training” – you may stumble across this blog, where you’ll actually find someone who did NO TRAINING AT ALL.
Because I kid you not, EVERY blog I found with people who claimed to do “ no training whatsoever” said something like this:

“Oh I did no training at all! So this was such a hard race even though I took a break after my last marathon a month ago, which was on top of the 6 marathons I had already done this year. But damn this half was hard. I barely made it through running the whole way.”

I kid you not. And the comments were great too. “Oh, I’m so glad I found this blog, as I too have done no training! I mean my longest run was like THREE weeks ago and that was only 10 miles!” Or  “Oh gosh I’m so worried, I’ve only managed to run 2 or 3 times a week and never more than 5 miles.”

News flash: that’s still called training. So again, I repeat: no training here whatsoever. I did mention that I’m an idiot, right?

Anyway, the Tinkerbell half went about how you would expect: I finished. My greatest accomplishment was that I didn’t wind up in jail for homicide. Because really people, if you’re doing the run-walk thing and have to set your watch alarm to beep LOUDLY every 30 seconds – maybe you should just pack it in. Stephanie packed her electric can opener so that she could juice up the night before with beets, and I had my pre-race Mickey-shaped cake pop.

I finally got my shiny medal, hobbled around a bit that day, was fine the next. The usual. No blisters. Yay me. Lots of telling myself how stupid I was and how I’d do at least SOME running before the Princess Half in a month.

Kone and I went running twice. Total. However, this time I did invest in a good pair of running shoes, finally recognizing that wherever my other good shoes were, in some box somewhere, they’d probably stay there until after this race too. I smartly decided to treat these new shoes as I would with race wheels, ie where you keep them in reserve until race day, so that you feel light and speedy in comparison to one’s clunky regular wheelset. That works with running shoes too, right?

So what can I say about Princess Half race day that hasn’t been said before a million times? Getting up at 3AM for these Disney races sucks. They have too many people out there, to the point where you wind up not drinking anything because you don’t want to wait half an hour in line for the porta-potty. For the Princess Half at DisneyWorld, actual time spent running through the Magic Kingdom was ridiculously short.

My greatest triumph came in my overcoming the corral Nazis. I was trying to find Cori and her daughter, as somehow Disney failed to recognize my athletic ability and running prowess and had placed me in a corral further back than them. Wth? So off I go to look for them. I manage to get past the people checking numbers, but they’re calling after me. “Ma’am!” Ma’am? What’s that horseshit? I ignore them. Surely they won’t come after me, right?

A guy comes after me.

But somehow with my winsome pleading gaze and patented Sad Cancer Face I convince him to let me stay and look for Cori, and gosh, when I don’t find them I’m forced to stay in the corral, figuring I’ll find them when they catch up to me. So the race starts, and I’’m hanging back, off to the side, looking for them, etc. I’m concerned. After all, this is their first race, and without my expert guidance how will they even begin to soldier on?

I start trudging up an Alpian mountain of which there are many on the course (some people call them something called an “overpass” but I don’t understand that term), and I’m still fretting. I need to find Cori and Tori! I keep scanning the crowd looking for them, to impart my coaching and wisdom to the newbies - otherwise how will they even finish? How will they go on? How wil… oh. That was them that just passed me. Well, I’m glad they’re managing to hide their suffering so well, and I can only hope that they don’t crash and burn at mile 8 and wind up in pain at the hotel the rest of the day. Still, if that’s what it takes for them to learn these valuable lessons, so be it.

I dash on, and note that the course is an out and back in which I can see across the way that the first runners (there by virtue of their corral placing only, clearly) are heading back in. I contemplate cutting the course and getting this tomfoolery over with. Of course, that would put my time at around 58 minutes, which might look a TINY bit suspicious. Maybe. Finely honed athlete that I clearly am, it might not. I decide to not risk it, plus I wouldn’t want to take any glory away from people who are actually kind of at the head of the pack – oh sure, I could be there as well, but I might as well let the little people have their day in the sun.

The rest of the race: suck suck suck. Sucks. I finally finish, get my precious medals, and go to find the bus back to the hotel – which literally has a line at least half a mile long, snaking hither and yon. I decide I’ll wait until it goes down a bit, because it’s pretty clear I’ll be waiting at least a few hours.
Here of course the hand of Disney comes down to grace us, because somehow they work their magic to get more buses, and by the time I look up from my lawn chair half an hour later, the line is down to people getting on the last couple of buses. Nicely done, Disney. 

In the meantime, I’ve texted Cori to see how she and Tori are managing, the poor dears. Maybe I can bring them something to their hotel room? They must be spent.

Me: How are you guys holding up?
Cori: Hey, can’t talk now, we finished, got back to the hotel to shower, composed a few haikus and odes to Mickey, went for a refreshing swim in the pool, built a replica of the Magic Kingdom out of toothpicks, had a bite to eat, and packed up and are on our way to the airport – chat with you soon!

I’m tempted to warn them about the fact that they’ll surely crash later in a heap of agony….but again, there’s just so much I can tell people from my great stores of wisdom, as some things people have to learn for themselves. Courage.