Wednesday, December 5, 2007
After months of training, setbacks and missed opportunities, my day has come and gone.
It took some doing convincing the Army to let me go to Vegas to run a marathon, but I finally got the go ahead. My teachers were less forgiving, but finally came around when they figured there was nothing stopping me.
The 26 miles, however, did put up a good fight.
But let me digress.
I arrived with my brother in the middle of the night. Our flight hit some serious headwinds and we added an hour onto the trip. When we finally stepped out of the cab at the Mandalay Bay, it was midnight and gaining on morning.
If the rooms hadn't been so damned gorgeous I might have gone to bed.
40+ inch HD TVs, with a smaller HD in the bathroom. THE most comfortable beds I've ever slept on, and a view of...well, the desert.
We woke up that next day and hit the spa, trying out all the trappings of royalty. We felt amazing, stretching out tired legs in preparation for the big day. The rest of the family arrived and we spent time wandering the city before catching a Cirque De Solei show.
Needless to say, I was quickly enamored to the town.
Before I knew it, Sunday arrived. I dressed in my finest running clothes, taped the nips and spread lubricants on my chafable areas.
Joey and I wandered down with the family (minus a slumbering sister) and fell in with the horde at the starting line. Elvis sang "Viva Las Vegas" and BOOM, it all began.
Now, I didn't train properly. One could go ahead and say I trained as poorly as one could for their first marathon.
But for the first ten miles, I was on fire. I flew passed the amazing hotels and casinos, passed the run-through wedding chapel and dive bars, and finally out to the far stretches of the Las Vegas Strip.
At mile 13, I passed two Army soldiers in IPFU-. I starting humming the Army song from the commercials and sped ahead.
At mile 16, I tried to use a portajohn. This was a terrible mistake. You see, someone else had the same idea, only they'd had an "accident."
All over the place.
I resigned myself to finish the next ten miles without the use of the facilities. This proved a doable venture, though not at all pleasant.
At mile 20, my legs died. They went into shock and exploded. Figuratively.
I dragged myself four miles forward until I could see the sign for the Mandalay Bay ahead.
I was almost home.
Each footfall felt as though it would buckle my knees for the last time. Each breath came taught and haggard.
But there it was: The finish line. I crossed with arms in the air, cheering triumphantly in my head.
And then, like smoke in the wind, my day was gone. I spent time with family, ate outrageously good food, and wondered when my legs had been replaced with pain sticks.
Today I am back in Boston, eager to start running again. Eager to start training again.
Marathon Monday is fast approaching, and this time is going to be different.
This time, I won't just run fast.
I'll run fasterest.