This one time, I ran a marathon.
So I woke up this morning, groggy and still half asleep, stumbled over Heathen 1 and Heathen 2, gave them their 762 pounds of kibble, and stumbled to my chair to peruse “The News” ie Facebook. One of the first things to pop up on my newsfeed was that one of my best friends from college was fundraising with Team in Training to run a half marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Feel free to donate to her fundraising here:
My heart grew a bit tight as I choked back the tears, so happy that one of my amazing friends was fundraising for a cause so near and dear to my heart. I quickly donated some money (hint hint, you probably should too) and then began perusing the Team in Training website, all the while thinking “I should totes run a marathon. I could totally do it.” Images of cute running clothes, Kenyans, and medals rushed through my mind. It was feasible. Totally. I had, like, ran track in college. It’s for a good cause. And then SNAP.
My mind blew away the fluffy happy clouds inhabiting my brain and quickly returned to reality. I can’t run a marathon. Why, you might ask? Cause I totally already did once. And it wasn’t fun.
Let me give you a little bit of background to this story. My parents produced three amazing children. Well, one amazing child, one heathen, the me – the “free spirit.” My brother was the macho man hockey player
I was the super professional equestrian
She ran marathons all over the world. Lake Placid, Philadelphia, San Diego, Nashville, even Paris….France, obvi not Kentucky, duh.
So in the spring of 2009, she decided to enter in the Pittsburgh Marathon – but this time it was going to be different. This time we were going to do it in honor of my dad in the city that he spent the last 11 months of his life in. (We) gathered a group of courageous, amazing, and dedicated people and created Team 10 to 2!!! And while they all committed to running or walking either 13 or 26 miles, I committed to a) wake up at 6am to cheer them on and b) drink with them afterwards. Screw the fact that I had done Track and FIELD (key word being field here – I threw a SPEAR), I was NOT running a marathon!
The day of the race began rather dreary. I zoomed around the city in my sisters sporty little car, trying to make it to check points to write on my sweet erase board super motivating notes to my sister!
I met up with her at Mile 15 and had never seen her look so exhausted. She broke to a walk and turned to me and said that she just didn’t think that she could keep going. I gave her a firm smack on the ass and told her to get her head in the game!!! She could do this!!
Finally, I offered up my soul on a platter and said “Katie, I will run with you.” I zoomed home, grabbed an extra pair of her running spandex and sneakers, and zoomed back – knowing exactly where she would have the hardest time running. The marathon hit mile 21 right in front of West Penn Hospital, which my family and I hadn’t even been able to force ourselves to drive past, nonetheless jog past in the last 6 months. I parked the car, ran to the curb, waited, and gave myself a little internal pep talk. This couldn’t be so bad, right? It was just the last 5 miles! I’ll be fine!!!!
We started off great. Relaxed easy strides. One. Two. One. Two. I hummed some gangsta rap music in my head to get the adrenaline flowing. This wasn’t so bad…and then…CRAMP!!!!!! My uterus decided that it hated my intestines, who obviously told my stomach to go suck it. There was a water break coming up and my sister recommended taking a glass, but we were right in front of The Church Brew Works and drunk kids were trying to hand out beer! This seemed like a much better option. If I was drunk I wouldn’t be able to feel the pain that was about to assault me!
She went to the left, I went to the right, we both grabbed two cups of liquid, but you can guarantee mine tasted better! My cramps immediately dissipated and/or I got drunk and we continued on in our journey.
After running for FOREVER (it was actually a mile and a half) I began to feel fatigued and begged my sister to walk. This was LUDICROUS! I was EXHAUSTED! I hadn’t ran farther than a mile in my life! I saw that the next checkpoint was coming up and told her that I would be right back. I jogged over to find gel on tongue compressors and thought to myself “Awesome. I have ALWAYS wanted to know what the hell that energy gel tastes like! It was so nice of them to take it out of the packets and have it ready for us!”
I licked it off and began moving it around my mouth, finding it rather difficult to swallow. My sister quickly met up with me and asked me what the hell I was doing. I replied that I had ate the energy gel off of the tongue compressor and that the makers of it sure needed to get their shit straight because this crap was hard to digest! I opened my mouth to demonstrate to her what I meant and her jaw dropped. She laughed for a solid 5 minutes before replying: “Seriously? Thats not energy gel, thats vaseline to put on places that are getting chaffed.” Bile rose in my mouth only to be blocked by the vaseline that filled my throat. I gagged a few times, literally wiped the vaseline out of my mouth with my finger, and we continued on.
We were closing now towards the end of the race. People lined the sides of the road in throngs, cheering and screaming at the runners to “KICK ON!” “YOU GOT IT!!!!!” I felt the adrenaline rushing through my veins. My sisters speed began to pick up as she felt the finish line closing in on her. I picked up speed next to her, arms outstretched, chest held high, when suddenly she stopped me and said “NO. Carleigh. You do NOT get to cross the finish line. You did NOT run this marathon.” I was crushed.
She took off in front of me with only a few hundred feet left to go. I slowly ambled back up to a jog, looking around awkwardly for another option, an escape of some sort. The entire race was roped off to keep spectators out, and there was no break in the line until you got to the finish line, where there was a tiny gap on either size of the huge stage to run across. I picked up speed and ran straight for the hole, only to hear people on either side start to panic “NOOOOOOO – She’s MISSING THE FINISH LINE!! STOP HER!!” “OH NO!! THAT POOR GIRL JUST RAN 26 MILES AND FORGOT TO CROSS THE FINISH LINE!!!!” I didn’t know what to do, so I creepily walked back through the hole, and sprinted across the finish line out of sheer awkwardness. The crowd erupted! The marathon organizers handed me my completion medal, patting me on the back and congratulating me for the victory that I had accomplished!!!! I was a CHAMPION!!!!!!
We slowly began making our way back to the car, medals around our necks, people congratulating us along the way. I made sure to thank every person who congratulated me on my hard work, dedication, and superb athleticism – I HAD in fact run 6 miles, and for a sloth like me, that was about the hardest thing I had EVER done. I deserved the praise!!!! My sister glared at me at first, shook her head at me towards the end, but was quickly vindicated when every stride to the car deteriorated my body just a little bit more. By the time we got home I was unable to walk, could barely stomach food, and was strapping ice packs to every muscle in my body. It was one of the worst feelings of my life, and I swore to myself that I would never run a 6 mile marathon again!! But every now and then I pull out that dusty old medal and pat myself on the back because I, Carleigh Fedorka, supposedly ran a marathon.