well, yesterday was marathon saturday. not just because it was a looooong day, which it was, but because there actually was a marathon. let me start at the very beginning: last monday one of my housemates found out that there would be a marathon on saturday, a mere 5 days away. this set the entire house in motion. not only would there be a marathon, but a half marathon, a 10k, and a 5k. immediately, all my housemates start thinking about actually running some distance at the end of the week. on tuesday, it was confirmed that we were actually eligible to run in the marathon and wow, did the discussion ever begin. each housemate had thoughts about what distance he or she wanted to run and thoughts about what distances other housemates should or should not run! the marathon/running talk could possibly have taken up 90% of our general conversation. one of my housemates decided that she wanted to try the marathon---now, she runs every day mind you, but the marathon was 4 days away....4! and hello--we're in belize--it's not like it is ever hot or humid here or anything! crazy. two of my other housemates decide they want to try the half marathon, and myself and another housemate were going to try for the 10k. now, i don't know if you know this about me, but i'm fairly sure i am quite vocal about the following fact: i HATE to run. hate it. really find no joy in it at all. and yet, there i was decided that i could run 6 miles in the belizean heat. i think maybe i was caught up in the thought that if one of my housemates could run 26 miles, surely i could run 6. again, let me remind you that i have NEVER run any sort of organized race in my life. ever. i somehow missed the vital piece of information that there was a 5k race---i'm quite glad i missed it though because, had i known, i probably would have run 5k instead!
so--we're talking talking talking about this race, but everything is pretty loosely planned, which seems to be the norm. kate (the marathoner) had a starting time of 5am, so we all get up around 3:30am (WHAT!?!?) and get ready to go. we had to put two bikes in the truck and first go lock them up at the track. the track was the finish line of the race and i'll explain about the bikes later. then we're driving in the pitch dark to find this kate's start line. really, there's only one highway, so we know it has to be somewhere along the road. we turn around a few times hoping to find some, any, indication of a start point FOR A MARATHON. we ask a few people (very few---who, after all, is up at 4:30am!?!?) and they point us in the direction of a few cars parked on the side of the road. mere minutes to 5am, a few more cars pull up and kate is quickly registering and pinning a number on her shirt. it was all very haphazard! we then left her so that we could get to the starting point for the half marathon! it was so terrible to just leave here there and drive down the road, knowing she would be running the same path! we dropped the two boys off for their 5:30am start and then monica and i continued down the road for the 10k. seriously, monica and i could not stop laughing at the hillarity of the situation. we were completely unprepared for this in every way possible. we were driving the parish truck, we had not trained AT ALL, we were frantically putting sunscreen on, we had just left our housemates at very unorganized start lines, and it was all too much for us. we, also, quickly registered and before we knew it, everyone was lining up to start. no joke, monica was still standing at the truck lathering up with sunscreen as i was yelling for her to get to the start line! all of a sudden, everyone (everyone being, oh, 25 or so people) starting SPRINTING. monica and i quickly fell to the back and were AMAZED at the speed at which people were actually running! i told monica that i was NOT in this for speed, and we laughed again at our utter lack of preparation. we jogged along and actually PASSED people---will wonders never cease. now, for those of you who have seen marathons, heck, even any organized race in the states, do you have a picture in your mind of the scene? well, COMPLETELY disregard that and now picture us ragtag group running along the side of the HIGHWAY in belize with bikes, cars, trucks, people walking on the sidewalks, etc. we were actually running along the highway, but the highway here is a two lane road that is paved (mostly) but has a TON of potholes that were filled with very dirty water from the previous night's rain. sometimes we were on the sidewalk, sometimes we were on the gravel where there was no sidewalk, mostly we were on the road with cars going past us incredibly close. this whole thing is just so funny to me!
we were really lucky to have an overcast morning, so the heat was not TOO bad. we were NOT so lucky to have a breeze the entire way---yeah, as you guess it, we were running AGAINST the wind the whole time. i turned to monica and said, i do not like this one bit. i am having no fun. what am i doing!?!? however, when we got to the track, did one lap and crossed the finish line, i was very proud of myself for having run the longest (and to date, only) race of my life!
my accomplishments were soon to be overshadowed by my two housemates who came flying in from the half marathon. and after them came kate. kate ran the ENTIRE marathon with 4 days notice. not only did she finish, she WON. she was the first female finisher and got a prize!!! isn't that amazing!?!? we could NOT believe it! they made her stand up on a podium and everything! it was embarrassing for her, but we loved it!
but, let me get back to the bikes. after seeing our two housemates finish the half marathon, monica and i got on the bikes and biked the exact same route we had just run to get the truck! what a buzz kill to run that whole way and then half to bike it back! ha! we piled the bikes in the back and had to get the truck back to the parish so that the members of the st. vincent de paul society (aka, my other roommate) could use it to distribute rice and beans! so funny. monica and i then took 8 nalgenes, sunscreen, shirts, and whatever else was in the truck back to our house where we quickly replenished the water, made some sandwhiches and BIKED BACK to the track! we got there RIGHT as kate was crossing the finish line. it could not have been more perfect timing!
in sum, monica and i like to think that we did a biathalon yesterday while running support crew. it's really the only way i can feel proud of my measly 6 miles in light of the fact that my roommate RAN and WON a marathon with 4 days notice!
at dinner, i looked at kate and said, 'kate, you do realize that you won a marathon THIS MORNING!' getting up at 3:30am sure makes for a looooooong day!
i hope you all enjoy this long narrative!