On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rock and Roll Country Music Half Marathon race report pt. 2: THIS IS WHAT A PW LOOKS LIKE. And it's not good.

Yesterday, I told you a little about the Country Music Half itself. Today, my race.

In short: it sucked. I knew the course would be hilly. I expected that it would be warm. But it just wasn't my day. I could run through my litany of excuses from last week - they're all still there (in fact, I unexpectedly slept 10 hours the night before last) - but I think I have a new culprit: garlic.

You see, despite having a legit Italian name, I'm only 25% Italian. Worse, I'm intolerant to garlic. And garlic is a sneaky bastard, working its way tastelessly into innocuous foods like take out pasta you have delivered to your hotel room the night before an out of town race (or ketchup! did you know there's often garlic in ketchup?). I won't get into the garlic symptoms, which typically hit me about 6 hours after I eat the garlic. They're graphic and disturbing and obvious and although I know some runners like to talk about their bowels this is not that type of blog. Saturday morning wasn't like that, though. I woke up feeling more or less okay and it wasn't until right around the start that I realized that my stomach hurt. And that was all - just dull pain with occasional cramps. Cramps that worsened when I ran. I felt complainy and pissy, basically.

By mile 4, I was falling behind pace. By mile 7, I was walking almost as much as I was running. After that, I just couldn't muster any enthusiasm. More than just lacking enthusiasm, though, running hurt. My last three miles took 14 minutes each. Blech. Bleak. Blah. There was nothing there.

I finished the race with a large blister under the ball of my right foot and massive chafing on both of my thighs. Delightful.

Whatevs. I got the shiny, glittery medal, I got to hang out in the dirty south, I got out of the city, I got to see some friends, took a picture of myself in front of the Parthenon, and I got to eat Dairy Queen.

If you disagree with me on Competitor and are a fan of RnR races, I apologize for my opinions. You can always sign up for the NYC RnR 10k - only $60! Incidentally, for only $50 I will be happy to run alongside of you any distance you want up to 20m (I'll ride my bike if you're faster than me) - hell, make that $25. I'd probably do it for a smile and a pint of beer, I'm cheap. You'll not only get a scenic tour of the city, but I'll talk the whole entire time. Better yet? You can have my CMM shirt, too.


  1. $60 for a 10K race? Are they serving champagne at the aid stations and do they have cashmere blankets at the finish line?

  2. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA No, but I do believe you get a medal.

  3. Good to see you at CMM. I'm sorry that insidious garlic sabotaged your race.

  4. RnR races are certainly not for everyone. I sort of hate how huge and expensive they are, but they're decently well organized and I have managed to have fun at all of them that I've ran. But I can totally get where you'd hate them, and I flat out refuse to pay that much for a 10k. No.

  5. It was my first time running with thousands of people. And, holy cow, it is kind of annoying. I know it draws a bigger cheering squad on the streets, but running around people, dealing with 3 walkers on a bottle neck area of a course through a local park, etc., was very different than any other run I've normally done. Because usually it's just me -- wide open spaces and an occasional 5k with only a couple hundred people in it.

  6. I'm sorry you had a bad race. I did, too, except I didn't have garlic to blame it on. At least you got to have Diary Queen! Im super jealous I didn't think of that!

  7. Make no mistake... I'm scapegoating!

  8. I used to go around telling people I was dying to run an RnR, really just because I like to rock out. But then I kept hearing shitty things about them and realized this is not rock n roll in the sense that it is fun and casual and rebellious. It's more like rock-edited-for-content-and-to-run-in-the-time-allotted-n-roll.