Monday, December 08, 2008

#5 Running Nirvana Is...

Wherein I recount my running highlights for the year…as if any of you care.

I promised a happy, happy, joy, joy post after last weeks descent into near Poeian madness. Here it is.

Did you enjoy that cheerfulness? Great, now back to the cannibals.

Just kidding. Last weeks post was not meant to be taken seriously. Someone in their Louisiana half marathon must have read that post before the race and developed their strategy from it. Good God.

As a year end special, I’ve decided to self indulgently countdown and highlight my favorite moments while running in the past year. These are individual moments when I just felt great and happy to be alive and running. I’m sure anyone looking at me at that point in time would have described me as having a 'shit eating grin' (which is a welcome relief from the normal response I get of ‘look at that cocky asshole’.) Sure, I could have just linked to them as I already covered each of these in previous posts but that wouldn’t take up much room and then I’d still have to come up with other things for you all to waste your day reading. No, like all good highlight shows, this is a chance for the host to take the day off but still pretend that a lot of thought went into this.

#5 Pluto

The Goofy Challenge kicked off the year for me. It took place the second weekend of January 2008. The half marathon was on Saturday morning; the full marathon on Sunday. Everything about the half marathon went exactly as planned. I maintained surprising discipline keeping my pace in check. My biggest weakness as a runner – besides finicky calf muscles, of course – is the complete inability to control my pace. Every run, training or otherwise, turns into a PR chase at some point. However, with full fear of the next day’s marathon, I was able to keep a relaxed comfortable pace for the half marathon and coast to the finish with energy stores only partially depleted.

The next morning brought the full marathon. And though it would short circuit around mile 20 with some severe calf cramps (followed by hamstring cramps…followed by shin cramps…followed by eyelid cramps…followed by elbow cramps and so on) I did reach one of those points of true happiness and satisfaction along the way.

The course leaves the Magic Kingdom past mile 10 and travels down a few lonely, lush tropical roads accompanied only by the slapping of feet and the heavy breathes from the other voyagers. There’s six miles to go to the Animal Kingdom and civilization. I expected this to be a tough spot as I cross the half marathon mark for the second day in a row.

In Magic Kingdom heading into the castle.

Sure enough, it was. Just past the half marathon mark, I started to feel worn down. There was nothing to look at. All the excitement of the race seemed far behind and far ahead.

Then, I rounded a bend and there was Pluto waving at everyone. He’s just standing along the road near mile 16 slapping high fives along with a small team of Disney workers enthusiastically cheering everyone on.

I’m not one of those furry lover’s or anything (though Daisy Duck does look oddly appealing) but the sight of Pluto and his big goofy shit eating grin came at just the right time. I matched his grin with a big shit eater of my own. I felt refreshed. Life was grand. You’d never expect a felon wearing a dog costume to create that much excitement. It was a much needed energy boost and carried me for the next few miles.



In Animal Kingdom just after Pluto Nirvana.

And though the before/after pictures above find me with pretty much the same expression, believe me, I’m shit eating on the inside.

Happy trails.

24 comments:

Marcy said...

I'm surprised you didn't knock off his costume head and punch the shiz outta of his face. You disappoint me :P

Xenia said...

You're supposed to tell me you can pace yourself better the longer you run. You've given me absolutely no hope. Thanks a lot.

Btw, who ever came up with the phrase 'shit eating grin'? It's disgusting. Hilarious, but disgusting.

joyRuN said...

I know there's a pic of you engulfed in Donald Duck's embrace that you're not sharing with us. Cough it up.

Blyfinn said...

I was so sure you were going to tell us how you beat the crap out of Pluto and that made you feel great and carried you through the last few miles. I was a little shocked.

Vanilla said...

It's really too bad that Disney doesn't have a llama character that could have been grinning at you and waving you on.

Chad in the AZ Desert said...

I think I'm going to like this countdown, although the reasons I will like it make me uneasy.

Vava said...

Isn't spelled "voyageurs"?

Sorry... I guess my Canada is showing.

AddictedToEndorphins said...

Ohh this is going to be FUN:) Can't wait to hear number one. Knowing you they'll be something hilarious in it!

Sarah said...

Can we trust that news report? Fox news? I don't know. . .is there another source? :)

Jeff said...

You look scarily like a cardborard cutout in front of a fake mountain. Are you relly just a facade? (That would certainly explain a lot.)

Ms. V. said...

Now I want to go to Disneyland. Great pics of you!

Roisin said...

I was going to write something snarky, but all I can come up with is: awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

tfh said...

Oh, I love the expression "shit eating grin." One of the great benefits of having a dog is actually getting to see a literal shit eating grin. Or is yours literal too? I think I preferred cannibalism.

Reluctant Runner said...

I gotta say, Nitmos, I've lost a little respect for you knowing you were motivated by a costumed Disney character.

Having said that, can't wait to hear the rest of your top five. Way to build the suspense.

Jess said...

Who wouldn't be motivated by seeing Pluto on the course?

Marlene said...

Great idea! Can't wait to read the rest.

The Laminator said...

Pounding Pluto would be my marathon mantra if I ever get to run this race.

Viv said...

goofy shit eating grin...HAHAHA! That is so going in my regular vocab. Instead of picking up all those intellectual words you enjoy sprinkling about here, I run off with shit eating grin.

Kellie McCoy said...

That looks awesome!!! When I don't get to run at DISNEYLAND I like to run with my i360 to keep me motivated...check it out www.ithreesixty.com. Makes listening to my music....like little mermaid (kidding?) easy!

X-Country2 said...

Every time I read about this race, I totally totally want to do it. Can't wait to read the rest!

Brooke said...

I OF COURSE thought you were referring to me, because who else ran a half marathon in Louisiana last weekend? OH- other people did too? I guess that's good because I definitely don't want to be seeing any dead bodies on my runs!! Sheesh! Though I probably WOULD run the fastest race of my life that way...hmmmm...

Melissa said...

Poeian? Is that a real term?

*aron* said...

ohhh i cant wait for the rest of the countdown... i am sure it will be a good one :)

Kevin said...

http://www.theadvertiser.com/article/20081210/NEWS01/812100334&referrer=FRONTPAGECAROUSEL

They found the lady when one of the guys stepped into the woods to water some plants during his warm up. Part of the race is in the park (cross-country) and the rest is on the street. They had to re-route part of the race due to the investigation. I bet the race director never thought he would have to change his course because of a corpse. I am from Lafayette, didn't run the race but I run with a bunch of folks that did.