This morning I ran the OUC Half Marathon, lived to tell about it, and actually enjoyed it. And let me tell you, this was not on my 2011 bucket list. (I actually don't have anything on my bucket list. I don't even own a bucket. But if I did have a list or a bucket, this would not be on it. Or in it.)
I thought about live-blogging the event, but let's be real--I was not about to get my iPad sweaty. So consider this a time-lapsed live blog of the 2011 Orlando Half.
- Wake up at 3 AM to a dream where I am ordering a bacon cheeseburger. Go back to sleep.
- Wake up at 5:15 AM
- Eat 2 blueberry waffles slathered with butter (breakfast of champions), half a banana, and drink water
- Arrive downtown at 5:53 AM
- Get distracted by all the people, and the cones, and the flashing lights, and the dark, and the stupid one-way streets, and drive around, narrowly missing the LYNX bus only lane (when did Orlando get public transportation?)
- Look at clock. 6:18 AM. Late for meeting friends at 6:15 AM. No idea where to park because the secret parking lot I was planning on is officially too secret, even for me.
- Look at clock. 6:24 AM. Decide to buckle down and pay $5 to park. Turn around on tiny street to get to parking lot. Reach for wallet.
- Discover I did not bring my wallet.
- Contemplate begging the parking lot man for mercy but notice that the parking lot has one of those bars that go up and down. If he does not grant mercy, I'm stuck without a way to turn around.
- Seriously contemplate going back home to bed.
- No joke, find a relatively empty random parking lot right in front of me.
- Look for tow away signs. None. Yay! Pray a prayer that my car will not be towed.
- 6:36 AM race to Panera to meet my friends
- Stand in the restroom line for the length of what must have been seven entirely overplayed Adele Rolling in the Deep songs
- Head to the starting line with 5 minutes to spare
- Celebrate the 4 Japanese runners who joined the race traveling all the way from, you guessed it, Japan
- Put my hand over my heart while the National Anthem plays. Look everywhere for a flag. Never found one.
- Around mile 5, give the two girls drinking mimosas while watching us an angry stare. I. Love. Mimosas. Thought about throwing in the towel right then and joining them. But I had no towel.
- I kept a good pace (mostly because he was so entertaining) behind a tall, built, very attractive guy who periodically kept fist-pumping in the air and would dance to his music while he ran. I called him the fist-pumper (not that creative when I run).
- Around mile 8 I pulled out my poor-girl's race food (a pack of gummies), only to realize a failure in my plan. I stuffed them in my shirt, so the package was completely wet (sweat!) and my hands were sweaty, so I couldn't eat them. Sad.
- My favorite sign a fan held was "Bike Rental Ahead"
- If you think Orlando is ugly or that Orlando only consists of Waterford Lakes or houses that all look the same, you need to do this race. This is the real Orlando. My Orlando. Orlando is absolutely beautiful. Lakes, brick streets, big trees, houses with character and story to them. Simply divine.
- I would say a low point was when Justin Bieber kicked in on my iPod, but I'd be lying. I love that kid.
- The outpouring of encouragement from total strangers at the race and then from friends and family is incredible!
- I love that for today, I was an athlete. A legitimate athlete.
Running really is hard work. Yes, it'll kill your knees eventually. But it's a mental workout too. Possibly even more than a physical workout. Possibly. There were many times when the phrase "just keep running" was what I needed to take the next step. It's oh so easy to give in. But when you stick with it, few feelings compare to that of hard-earned accomplishment.