a minor side effect of glory


This picture was not taken in the desert. Also, that is not poop. It's mud. IT'S MUD, I PROMISE.
This picture was not taken in the desert. Also, that is not poop. It’s mud. IT’S MUD, I PROMISE.

Dear Friend,

You know what’s awesome? Heat stroke.

No, seriously – bear with me, here. It’s averaging between a thousand and a thousand and volcano degrees out these days, with humidity hovering right around the “completely saturated” mark. I, for one, can’t think of a better time to start training for a marathon.

You’ll get to run inside most of the time; hour after punishing hour on the dread-mill. But at least there’s air conditioning, and the hot, machine-smelling crank of the fan on the dread-mill will help waft a smokey breeze. You’ll get to stare at those little numbers as they blip by…you’ll hit 6.2 miles, run for about forty seven and a half minutes, then look back as the display flicks to 6.3 miles, and experience five agonizing minutes wherein you’re convinced the dread-mill’s internal counter MUST be broken, because there’s NO WAY it took you forty seven and a half minutes to go .1 of a mile. (Oh – and also – all of this is in metric. So it’s 6.2 kilometers, which you’ll soon realize is NOT EVEN 4 MILES.)

Early on, you’ll be so sick of the dread-mill that you’ll decide your longer runs are beginning to warrant a venture outside. So, you’ll go to bed nice and early on a weekend evening (say, 7pm) and wake up nice and early (say, 4am) and go outside only to realize that by 4:30am, the sun has already risen high in the sky, and that there is no gentle, progressive “warming up” of the earth at dawn because IT’S ALREADY A GAJILLION DEGREES.

You’ll slog through this humid oven mess until the top half of your body is perpendicular to the sidewalk. It will be an excellent time to check out all the different colors of sand on either sides of the sidewalk. There’s sand-colored sand, light sand-colored sand, medium-light sand-colored sand, giant black sand – oh no wait, those are the flies that are beginning to circle what will soon be your carcass. You’ll begin to feel jealous of things like plants, which get to whither away peacefully in the hot sun whereas you have to keep moving your feet until you’ve achieved your ridiculous goal that you made for yourself sometime months ago in an air conditioned room after a good night’s sleep and some pretty mislaid visions of grandeur.

But then you’ll come home, and you’ll drink two gallons of water (which will absolutely not make you feel worse than you already do), and you’ll get into a cold shower, and you’ll stand there until your skin starts to turn purple. And then you’ll get out of the shower, wrap yourself up in a towel, and put yourself back to bed for what will be – no sarcasm intended – the most epic nap you’ve ever taken. I mean it. Those post-run naps are something else. I have never drooled so much during a sleep cycle in my life, and that counts the year my parents hated me I had head gear.

You’ll wake up feeling like a million bucks, until you realize you can’t move your legs, but…eh…a minor side effect of glory.

We are officially in marathon training out here in the desert, and it is not pretty. But we’re determined, because we’re weird and probably sick, and we really, really want to run this thing. The marathon is in 89 days. I’m not even going to calculate how many hours and miles that is of running, but this is my first marathon and I can already tell you that the sheer headspace it’s requiring is already daunting. I’ve completed four half marathons in the last few years, so mentally I felt ready to take on something larger. But all of the running, and the planning, and the sleep math (“If we go to bed now, we’ll get x hours of sleep, which means we’ll be able to run y miles tomorrow and still fit in a z-minute nap…”), and the nutrition (“If chocolate milk is the ULTIMATE recovery drink, what about chocolate almond milk?”) and the weird body things that happen (“My ham string is visible to the naked eye.”)….and all of the running. I wasn’t aware there would be so much of it.

Good thing I love to run. Part of the reason we’re so hell bent on running this thing is that it’s a major race (I’ll talk about that more in a later post), and we’re really excited for it. I decided awhile ago that if and when I did a marathon, it would be a destination marathon with travel, and that’s exactly what we’re doing. Additionally, after a year of incredible change and newness, focusing on something as demanding as training for a marathon is forcing a diligence in me that I think is necessary right now. Running has always been equal parts discipline and stress reliever for me, and both are welcome parts of forming this regular routine as things are beginning to settle down in our new normal. And part of it is because there’s a whole group of awesome people prepping for this marathon, and the crowdsourcing of support for this kind of thing is very welcome.

And, mostly, it’s bad-ass. I’m not even going to humble brag about this – if I can train for and run a marathon, you better believe I will tell EVERYONE AND THEIR MOTHER about it. For now, I’m going to go and try to push my ham strings back into my leg and not think too long about all of those articles about “chafing” and “nipple bleeding” that the runnersuniverse or whatever magazines always talk about.

Instead, I’m going to focus on the after-party, which will be beyond epic. And by after-party, I mean the bitchin’ post-race nap.

Much love for now and more later, Insh’Allah,

The New Glitterati (Runnin’ Fool)