Here I find myself late Saturday afternoon full of four beers, hamburgers, brats, and various chips, the result of a barbecue, mentally preparing (i.e. farting, burping, yelling at the kids) for the next morning’s planned long run and awaiting the women’s marathon in high definition TV. I figure I’ll find some inspiration watching an Olympic marathon. Enough inspiration to power my slow ass through 17 miles the next day, at least.
After the marathon starts, the wife, kids and I take off for a quick three mile bike ride. This is an exercise in humility for me. My sweet $49 Walmart Huffy currently sits gathering dust in the garage due to a two tire blowout. So, I’m riding my wife’s old bike in the meantime. You can imagine how cool I feel with my knees whacking against my chin with every pedal and my toes rubbing against the front tire on the turns. And don’t think I don’t notice those analyzing looks from my neighbors in the passing cars as they scan my bike and slowly come to the realization that the middle bar is sloping downwards. Bite me. I’m still cool.
We return home when the lead pack is around 10 miles in. Another beer for me. A few more abusive words for the kids. I settle into my easy chair for a second round of marathon watching and orifice gas belching. Or “blatzing” as I’ve now taken to calling it (take that!).
And what do my wondering eyes not perceive? No Deena Kastor!? Where, where could she be? Maybe she’s so far out in front that she passed the lead camera truck on her way to a 1:49 marathon? Maybe she’s lagging behind the lead pack for a second half gold winning negative split?
Then the announcers report that Kastor had to drop out due to a foot injury.
And then a second American dropped out due to a knee injury.
Finally, the last American slipped off pace and clearly was not going to threaten for a medal.
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The awesome lead Romania’s Constantina Tomescu-Dita had rolled up was impressive to watch unfold. And despite the NBC announcer’s constant insistence that she was going to fade – almost wishing it with every step – she held on to win.
That was all well and good but I had planned to watch Deena win. Or, at least, hang right in there. Where did my inspiration go? What happened to her foot? Why is she acting all mortal now?
So, the next morning, I set out upon my 17 miler in heavy heat and hanging heart. I struggled. Last week’s 15 miler was my best run of the year. I was really looking forward to this Sunday’s 17 miler (the A to Q Express). Instead, after 15 miles, I had to stop and walk a bit. I was dehydrated and tired. The legs were twinging. I even went all look at me and went topless. There was no point to the shirt after 7 miles. My nipples were already easily visible through the sweat saturated top anyhow. And, really, my nipples should be seen by as many people as possible.
It was the toughest run of the year. It wasn’t the time. It was the dehydration and the reappearance of some early calf cramping signs. And the overwhelming need to stop and walk a bit at a distance I should easily be able to handle. No doubt all of this was due to Kastor. Turns out, she had a broken foot and dropped out at the 5k mark.
More importantly though, she ruined my long run.
It almost makes me want to punch a Panda.