The 5 People You Meet at Marathons

So I officially have two half marathons under my belt. And if you’re wondering if that means I spent most of yesterday wearing my shiny new medal everywhere I went, well…I didn’t not do that.

In all seriousness, yesterday’s half was a much better experience than my first half. I think it helps that I had been through it, and my body sort of knew what to expect. Plus, the course was a million times more interesting than the Westchester one (a bunch of local bands and people came out to support, which made running through town a lot more entertaining).

Whereas last time I finished thinking, “I am so glad I never have to do this again if I don’t want to,” this time I was actually excited to do the half I have planned for October. Yay for progress!

Speaking of progress, I also made my goal time of under two hours! My official time was 2:01, but I stopped to go to the bathroom midway, so I was actually about 2-3 minutes under. Meaning I just made my goal time, but I’ll take it. And, in case you’re a competitive person, I was 1,792th place out of 4,440, 78th out of my division, and 585th out of all the ladies. Obviously not breaking the sound barrier or anything, but respectable all the same.

me at the finish. (so tired)

What’s that? You want to see a photo of me running? Well, they haven’t put them up yet, but I do have this:

What? You don’t see what I’m talking about? Maybe this will help:

Well, I mean, that could be me. Ain’t I a cute green speck? (I have no idea if that is me. But I was wearing green. And it’s kind of fun to pretend, isn’t it?)

If you’re interested in all the final results, you can view them here.

Now that all the details are out of the way, we need to discuss something else. Something important and unavoidable.

We need to talk about the five people you ALWAYS see at EVERY race.

You think I’m joking. How is it possible that all five of these people are at every single race? Well, if you haven’t experienced it, you’ll just have to trust me. (And if any other runners want to verify or add onto this list, please feel free to do so in the comments.) My only regret is that I don’t have photos of the actual people from yesterday’s race, but I have included google images to give you a reference point. BECAUSE THEY ARE REAL AND THEY ARE EVERYWHERE AND THEY WERE EASY TO FIND PHOTOS OF.

1. That hippie guy who runs barefoot. Every race has at least one barefoot runner. Honestly, I don’t care if you want to run without shoes. And I’m sure you could make a really good case about why running barefoot is better for your body and builds up your feet strength or whatever. But the fact remains that it makes me really nervous. We’re not on the beach or some unspoiled natural landscape. We’re running on major roadways. There are glass shards and trash and dirty water and, you know, rocks and stuff out there. It’s a dangerous, germy world. But this guy doesn’t care. In some cases, he will run entirely naked except for a tiny pair of shorts. In other cases, he wears his hair in a long, thin ponytail down to his butt. Either way, you know him when you see him. He runs barefoot, folks. To be closer to the earth. Or something.

2. The girl that runs with her hair down. Can we just talk about how much I don’t like this girl? I mean…I just don’t understand. It’s not like she’s even sporting a chic little bob. She has a legit mane of hair flopping around back there. And I simply refuse to believe she isn’t sweating like crazy. I can’t imagine anything more annoying than a blanket of hair sticking to my sweaty neck for 13.1 miles. And the full face of makeup? Dude. You’re killing me. And, it has to be said, it’s also really annoying that this woman is usually faster than me. HOW DOES SHE DO IT? IS THE HAIR/MAKEUP A SECRET WEAPON?

3. The techie with every running gadget you’ve never even heard of. Want to know how fast you’re running? He can calculate it. Want to know the direction you’re going in? His Garmen watch can pinpoint your location within a few feet. Need tunes for the race? He has a Bluetooth ear chip that adjusts to play songs that match the tempo he’s moving. Want to know exactly how much water you need to drink every forty-five minutes? He has a computer chip installed in his stomach that can tell you. Ok, I made up the last two. But I’m sure there is something similar out there…and he probably has it. There’s always at least one person outfitted to the nines with every running-related technological device. (My husband pointed out that he’s also usually wearing a backwards cap AND sunglasses. Because that makes sense.) I always imagine that maybe he or she is just not that athletic, so when they decided to run the race, they figured all that hardware would give them a leg up. Or maybe they’re a seasoned runner and they hope this will give them an edge. Who knows. The point is, they are more machine than man when they lace up their running shoes. Personally, I like to run with as little on me as possible, but to each their own.

4. The guy who wants everyone to know just how much he drank last night. Hey, hey you guys! This guy got so wasted last night! You guys! Did he tell you how he drank like seven beers! You guys? Honestly, I don’t care if you want to drink before running a marathon. I mean, I think it’s kind of a cruel thing to do to your body. I don’t have any intention of doing that anytime soon. But what do I care if you want to feel like death by mile six? What I don’t want is to hear you brag for the first four miles about what a champ you are. I’m busy, bro.

5. The really serious runner. This guy is sort of similar to number three, but slightly different. He’s wearing the smallest, most aerodynamic pair of shorts and the tightest shirt he could find. His sunglasses were actually designed for running. His shoes cost more than your smart phone. He has at least three flavors of energy gel in his miniscule running fanny pack, and his fluid-intake schedule was designed by a medical professional. Make no mistake; this isn’t his first rodeo. In his defense, he is probably going to smoke you on the course. But considering he isn’t getting paid for this, you can’t help but wonder if he isn’t taking things a smidge too seriously.

Of course, even the quirks you see aren’t overshadowed by the overall atmosphere of awesomeness you feel at races. Everyone is excited, full of endorphins, and super encouraging. I’m incredibly grateful to all the locals and DJs and musicians that came out to support and give us something to distract us from the tight hamstrings, aching feet, and miles of pavement.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some serious sitting to do for the next few days.