JC LANE: Somewhere on the crazy side of my brain I decided it would be a good idea to run a half-marathon. Sure, I know people who have run full ones, and even one person who’s training for a fifty-miler (talk about crazy!), but a half was as far as I was willing to go, especially since I’d never been a runner before last summer.
So starting in January I went through the training regimen for four months (which, depending which day you asked me, was the Worst. Thing. Ever.) Sore feet. Sore knees. 5:30 AM alarms to squeeze a run in before work. But finally, race day arrived. April 30, the Capital City Half-Marathon in Columbus, Ohio. I was excited and ready to go!
Neon running shirt? Check.
Banana and yogurt? Check.
Bathroom break? Check.
My faster-than-I hubby crowded into our slow-pace corral with me (isn’t he the best?), and after watching the elites and some not-so-elites start off on the big screen, it was our turn.
Immediately, poster board signs showed up along the course held aloft by children, men, women, groups, and families. The signs were varied. Big, brightly-colored, scribbled, artistic, inspirational. funny…
THIS IS A LOT OF PAIN FOR A FREE BANANA!
SMILE, YOU PAID FOR THIS
RUN FASTER! I FARTED!
And such they were.
The first few miles I was feeling pretty good. I got this. I’m doing this. No problem.
We hit mile four and single digits – only nine miles to go!
SMILE IF YOU PEED A LITTLE
At mile five my feet started to hurt.
DON’T WORRY! TOMORROW YOU WON’T BE ABLE TO FEEL YOUR FEET.
During mile six I could feel my sleeve chafing my underarm.
GETTING UP EARLY TO HOLD THIS SIGN WAS HARD WORK, TOO.
Seven, eight, nine…
By mile ten my legs weighed a hundred pounds each. When did this happen?
Every step after mile eleven was farther than I’d ever run before, since training took me only up to that point. My knees and my right glute were killing me.
WTF. WHERE’S THE FINISH LINE?
Mile twelve. Would you believe the last half-mile was UPHILL? For real.
SERIOUSLY! YOU’RE ALMOST THERE!
YOU ARE A CHAMPION.
I’d done it. It was over. I’d run every step without stopping.
I guess I need to make my own sign for that.
What would your sign say?
J.C. Lane is the author of the thriller Tag, You’re Dead, which crossed its own finish line on July 5. She also writes mysteries as Judy Clemens, including the Stella Crown series and the Grim Reaper mysteries. She’s gone through more running shoes in the past year than she has her whole life. You can read more about her at jclanebooks.com.