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I Need a Superhero

Exactly 6 days from today, I am going to run a half marathon.  13.1 miles.

There is absolutely zero humor in my voice when I say that I am scared shitless.

Okay, that’s not completely true.  On a cognitive level, I am totally ready for this race.  I’ve been doing Hal Higdon’s Novice Half Marathon training program for 10 weeks now, and I’ve completed every run successfully.  Just yesterday I did 11 miles.  Re-read that and digest what it means.  I. Ran. 11. Miles.  That’s almost the length of Manhattan.  Sure, there was about a mile near the end where I was not feeling so great; my shoes may or may not have been filled with cement, I didn’t stop to check.  And my feet were (and still are) pretty much a giant ball of blisters.  But I finished, and I felt good.  If I can do 11 miles without throwing up or crying, I know I’ll be able to do 13; the excitement and adrenalin of the race will take me those extra two miles.

Besides, this course is in my town.  I’ve run portions of the course three times now.  The only part of the course I haven’t run during a trial is the first two miles of the race, which run the length of downtown and down a popular wooded path to the state park.  You guys, I have run those two miles a billion times.  They are a part of my everyday run.  For fuck’s sake, there is not a single run in my repertoire that does not involve me traveling the length of downtown.  Those sidewalks are saturated with my sweat, and I’ve pounded them over and over.  These are my motherfucking streets, and I will tear them apart.

But on an emotional level, I am terrified.  Here’s the thing.  I’ve been training for this race for 10 weeks now, but I’ve been thinking about it, dreaming about it, and pushing forward towards it for at least six months.  This race has been the Twinkie on the end of my stick for so fucking long.  And when you’re doing three mile runs and Tweeting victoriously about 4.5 miles, 13.1 miles sounds like a insurmountable mountain.  It sounds like the kind of thing only superheroes can do.  Superheroes who have 6-pack abs and always eat smart and nutritious meals and are never tempted to skip a run by a Hoarders marathon.  I knew I’d one day run 13.1, but I always imagined that I’d do so as a better, more badass version of myself.  As a superhero.

But 6 days out, I don’t feel like a superhero.  I don’t feel better or stronger or faster.  I just feel like me.  The same exact me that has been slogging away for six months, mile after mile.  The same exact slow, squishy, sweaty me that regular me has always been.  And regular me? Is nowhere near strong enough physically or mentally to run a half marathon.  Regular is not a superhero.  Regular me is just that idiot in her underoos with a towel tied around her neck, running around the house going, “WOOOOOSH!  WOOOOOOSH!”

Which is why I turn to you.  You dear, wonderful, amazing people who share a little (and sometimes big) piece of my life.  So many of you are my superheroes for so many different reasons.  Some of you run actual marathons, some of you have crazy amazing careers that take you exciting literal and metaphorical places, some of you have a wit that is so biting it actually has fangs, and some of you bring so much joy to my life that I’m pretty sure you shine sunshine from your asshole.

I need my superheroes.

Give me your confidence.  Give me your mantra.  Give me those words that have helped you finish your own literal or metaphorical marathons.  Or, if encouragement isn’t really your style, give me all the things that could be way worse, and why I should be grateful do be doing something so easy and painless as running 13.1.  The best of both varieties will be written on my arms with sharpie and referenced during the race.

And maybe, through your words, some of your amazing super powers will be transferred to me.

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Sarah September 12, 2011, 10:39 am

    Girl, the fact that you can run 10 miles without dying or throwing up, or both, is AMAZING to me. Shit, I can’t even WALK 10 miles! I mean, im sure I could, but seriously. Youre awesome! The fact that you have this goal is pretty fucking sweet.

  • Hannah September 12, 2011, 1:46 pm

    I’ll try two tactics:

    1. You have partially inspired my newfound desire to run. I can’t even hope to be where you are anytime soon.

    2. I have been at Disneyland on their half marathon day, and people in far worse shape than you are always walking around with finisher medals.

    Good luck! I’m sure you’ll do fantastic.

  • Stephanie September 12, 2011, 6:35 pm

    You can do it!

    That being said, I’m not a runner, and I never will be. I admire runners, but running just doesn’t work for me — I find it very uncomfortable at best. However, I am a figure skater. And the thoughts running through your mind were in mine when I started to compete. Sure, I could go out on a public session and be faster and more secure than other people, but competing — just me on the ice in front of some judges and an audience — that was a Big Deal. I was prepared, I knew my program, and I had friends there to support me. Still, I was terrified. But I went out there and skated my program. I survived. I didn’t fall. It wasn’t perfect, but it was a good skate. I even got a medal. Now (twelve years later) competing isn’t nearly as big a deal to me. I’ve come a long way from that slow, tentative program I skated. And you will too. Just putting yourself out there is awesome.

    And hey, if all else fails, you can imagine one of those scary decorative pillows chasing you!

  • feelings for breakfast September 13, 2011, 12:32 pm

    Go get ’em tiger. That is so awesome. You know you can do it. Also, try going into it thinking you have to run a whole marathon. Then if you’re getting a little tired towards the end, you can switch gears and say to yourself, oh hay self, we’re actually almost done! Also, you’re less likely to crap yourself running a half marathon than a whole one. So just think of all the people who have had to run twice the distance you’re going to run, with poop falling out of their shorts.

  • Kate (and Ben) September 13, 2011, 7:43 pm

    You ran eleven miles. Ran. Eleven. Miles. Holy fucking Christ on a cracker, lady. I cannot run a single mile. Shit, let’s be honest (and help make you feel a lot better about yourself), if I tried to run HALF of a mile I would probably faint…or vomit…but not both because I refuse to do that kind of laundry.
    I have known [stupid] people who have ran a 1/2 mile marathon without any kind of training for it at all. And not only did they survive, but they didn’t even finish at the bottom. You got this shit in the bag.

  • Kate (and Ben) September 13, 2011, 7:56 pm

    Okay. Side note: holy fucking hell, Feelings For Breakfast!!! Pooping while running a marathon?!?!!! I was so disturbed by that post that I immediately googled, “marathon running shits” and found an entire website dedicated to defecation (www.poopreport.com), several images of runners shitting themselves, and a daunting number of YouTube videos of runners and all sorts of other athletes shitting their pants whilst competing. Wow.
    Also, Stephanie, if this made you freak out even more instead of laughing in a sort of horrified way, I am sorry.
    I’m sure you can run 13.1 miles without even worrying about that possibility. Good luck!

    No worries, Kim of Charm City Kim already shared with me the world of marathon pooping. If anything, I’m intrigued. It’ll be like Where’s Waldo?. Only while running. And instead of looking for a guy in a striped shirt, I’ll be looking for people pooing themselves.

  • Christine September 14, 2011, 2:03 pm

    The fact that you get out there and run at all already makes you a superhero in my eyes. I have a hard enough time trotting my ass two miles around the track at the Y. You can do this in your sleep. Really. Every night from now until then dream about all the beers you can consume to replace those lost calories. I promise to buy several of them for you.

  • Karen September 14, 2011, 8:17 pm

    Hey Steph – you have worked hard, lost weight, trained, and kept going even thru injuries. You will do this I have no doubt, and I will await word of your finish. Sorry I can’t be there, but I’ll be thinking about you & cheering you on. I’m so proud of you!! You are an amazing woman!!! Just relax and enjoy yourself!! Love you!

  • Lady B September 15, 2011, 7:07 am

    You, my dear, are batshit crazy.

    Here is the good news – all superheros are crazy.

    What the hell kind of nutbag disguises himself as a man sized bat?

    How crazy of a whore do you have to be to convince people you have an invisible jet?

    You my dear, are perfectly poised to kick the shit out of this marathon because it is a crazy idea and those are always the best ones.

    So pull a towel around your neck, toss on a pair of sparkly underwear over some tights and run that marathon like it is your bitch.

  • Carrie Mae September 16, 2011, 10:37 am

    I like the idea of imagining the scary decorative pillows chasing you . . .

  • Charm City Kim September 16, 2011, 11:30 am

    I love that poop running has made its way into the comments! 🙂

    A friend of mine actually had to dodge the poop that was falling from a woman’s shorts during a marathon.

    I think the adrenaline from the race will keep you pumped throughout the whole thing. I’m excited to read the recap and live vicariously through you.

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