I love firsts. First experiences, first encounters, first adventures. And since I always wanted to run a marathon…and since I’m practically a professional carbo loader… I thought it’d be a great first. I honestly believed that I could translate my ability to consume large amounts of carbohydrates into a productive event… a marathon which raised money to fight AIDS. I thought it was a logical, easy, fun idea…It was hell. Though, the marathon took place in Hawaii, which is probably the closest place I’ve ever been to heaven. Warm, breezy, beautiful with floral scented air, which makes you never want to go inside.
To train, I raised three thousand dollars and I ate a lot of macaroni and cheese. What I didn’t do was run.
The marathon began at five am… and because it was a looped course, the emaciated Kenyan winner was already looping back towards the finish line as I was just getting into my groove… My groove didn’t last long. While I was able to do the first fourteen miles without a problem… the next 12.2 miles were excruciating. All of the lactic acid in my body made itself heard in my legs; screaming, bellowing, demanding that I stop. I didn’t. Perhaps I’m a masochist, perhaps I’m crazy… or perhaps I didn’t believe I could have the first experience of running a marathon without actually finishing it. I guess my biggest problem was that I thought eating macaroni and cheese every day for a month up to the race constituted as training…apparently, training means actually running… which I prefered not to do.
I did finish… towards the end of the pack, staggering to the end…hobbling back to my hotel and eventually crawling to the hotel bar. I was the 16,188th person to cross the finish line. Out of 19,220 people. Yikes.
There is a good chance that I will never run a marathon again… but I’ll always have my first — and last experience. And I still love macaroni and cheese.