Or, How Not to Celebrate A Successful Long Run depending on your appreciation of a cow's ass.
I ran 16 miles this Saturday. Okay, for a marathoner, not that big of a deal. We frequently run 16 miles. It’s part of the biz. But I haven’t gone that far in a surprisingly long time. My last full marathon was last May in Cincinnati. Damn, that was 10 months ago! For the half marathons this past Fall, I think I went 15 miles max in training for both. So, 16 miles? Yeah, I was as interested as all of you in how the body would respond.
Conditions were perfect: 42 degrees, sunny, largely clear sidewalks, little wind. I still wrapped up in the wind pants. Habits are hard to break.
The first 10 miles went great. I kept a nice, easy feeling 7:12 pace. I sang out loud to favorite songs. There was the odd air guitar and air drumming thrown in to the amusement of passing motorists. I even had that brief, euphoric feeling about 8 miles in. You know the one. That feeling that washes over you in the early stages of a long run and convinces you that you can run all day, hell, even SPEED UP during the last few miles. Yeah, I AM the man. Look at me, I’m a machine cranking out these miles.
Then, of course, reality sets in. After 10 miles, someone started strapping two pound weights to each of my hamstrings every mile. By thirteen miles, I remembered that I WASN’T the man. That I hadn’t gone over 12 miles more than three times in the last three months and that two of those were on the soft, self-propelling treadmill. I had Treadmill Mileage Delusion (TMD – won’t you give today?) disease. Full blown.
One of my great weaknesses as a runner is hydration. I never drink enough. I often realize that I’m dehydrated about 20 miles into a marathon when my calf muscles start cramping up and I involuntarily lay by the side of the road in a fetal position lapping rain water from a pothole puddle as hundreds of well-hydrated marathoners step over me on their way to the finish. Or I find myself being cradled on a surprised mother’s lap breast feeding as her recently head butted baby flails away through crying shrieks on the ground next to us.* After 14 miles, I had that desperate need to drink. Without an engorged breast around (and, really, is it so much to ask to have an engorged breast around when someone is training for a marathon? With chocolate milk, please?), I started looking for melted snow and an oasis of ice water.
The last 4 miles were covered in a disappointing 7:30 mile pace. Considering it was the first of the longer long runs of the year, I’m still satisfied with the results. Sixteen total miles at an average 7:19 pace. And no restraining orders!
Then, of course, the munchies come on. I need to eat. Lots. So, how do you celebrate a successful long run? Really, there is only two ways. (1.) Beer (obviously). Or (2.) eating ridiculous amounts of food.
And here’s where a critical decision went haywire. We had a breakdown in the Nitmos home. You’ve heard the old saying the ‘You should never go grocery shopping while hungry’? Well, you should never allow a runner coming off a long run to choose dinner. A bartender has a responsibility to take the keys away from a drunk patron. A spouse also has a responsibility to prevent a famished runner from picking the dining location.
I chose bulk food. Yes, a buffet. A filthy, bacteria-riddled buffet filled with lukewarm, fly tickled food overflowing the troughs. The kind of place where most of the folks perspire just getting their food. The kind of place in which sweat rolls off the ankles with each chew. I should have known better but, at that moment, it just sounded sooo good.
But here’s where it got worse. Not only did I choose a buffet but, for the main course, I selected a cut of their finest steak. Bulk. Steak. From a buffet. You can see where this is going right? I ate a bite and crinkled my face. Something tasted…off. I ate a second bite and then re-examined the meat. This is steak, right?
Now, I know that a buffet is not going to buy the choicest cuts. No doubt, the buffet is getting the steak from an area closest to the cow’s ass. And not just a regular cow but probably the cows that go ‘Ooom’ rather than ‘Mooo’ if you know what I mean.
Here’s the thing, I’m pretty sure that I was eating the cow’s asshole. Or, since that’s a ‘hole’, I guess I was eating the taint. Steak isn’t supposed to be shaped like an onion ring, right? That should have been the tip off.
I finished the meal. Filled my belly with all the taint I could eat. Received my courtesy penicillin injection and bonus two minutes in the “anti-bacterial chamber” on the way out, and vowed never to return.
Be careful how you celebrate a successful long run. With great long runs comes great responsibility. Decisions should be left to the spouse. Learn from me…don’t get stuck with a mouthful of taint.
*It’s true. I have the restraining order to prove it.