I am NOT an athlete. I am Asthma Girl.
But my a girlfriend asked me to walk the Columbus Marathon with her. It doesn’t sound too tough, to walk. However, until you have walked 26.2 miles, you have no idea how far that really is.
I guess I should explain my personal fitness journey a bit. I am Asthma Girl. My mother hates moving. I was discouraged from playing anything. Although I’m very young, I’m only in my 30s, I was raised as though it was 1890. Girls should be delicate and stay in the house. I won’t even go into the whole “having a job is disgraceful” mentality.
So, I ended up big, and doughy, and gross.
It took me years to get down to normal-girl size. I WALKED my first 5k last August. I ran my first 5k last November (I had to walk parts, but ran for most). I walked my first 1/2 marathon this May. And now, I’ve walked my first marathon.
Unfortunately, I have been working so much this past year, I haven’t been exercising as much as I should. I hate how much strength I’ve lost. So, aside from when I was a big ball or yuck, this is probably the least ready I could have been for a marathon. All the pain I felt during the marathon has made me realize that I really don’t care that much about my job, I need to take more time for my personal health. I will not be gross, weak, yucky Stay Puft marshmallow girl again.
Anyway, yesterday, I did the Columbus Marathon. It was overwhelming. It was sold out with 17000 participants. Just such a crush of humanity. This was the first time I saw strictly divided corrals. The state canon signaled the start of the race. There were fireworks. It was inspiring.
The city of Columbus is beautiful. As I was walking, at least for the first 16 miles, I was feeling good enough to take in all the stunning, well-maintained houses I passed. But after about 16 miles, even MY normal Energizer Bunny self really started feeling exactly how far a marathon is. And anyone who tries to say the walkers aren’t really marathoners is an elitist prick. Anyone who does any physical activity for HOURS is intense. It would have been very easy at a few points to just sit down and let the meat wagon pick me up.
The last 5 miles were the worst. It took every bit of my Scot-Irish stubbornness to make it through. I also had to try and keep my two walking buddies motivated. I thought for sure that one or both of them wasn’t going to make it. I stayed just slightly ahead and kept turning around to encourage them to keep going. At one point they joked that they’d smack me if I gave them the come on wave one more time. I told them they were welcome to smack me, they just had to catch me first. In fact, before we all reached our breaking points, this was a great source of amusement and motivation.
At the beginning, I made jokes about all the bad singers along the course. And I would sing the songs better, even as I was walking. I really rather lost it when I heard someone mutilating Led Zeppelin. Really, how could that be inspirational? I was pointing out all the gorgeous homes and saying which ones I’d like to live in and which ones I just liked. I pointed out detail work on the different buildings or just funky shops. We joked about Franklin University being FU. That will never get old.
By the end, we all sounded like we had Tourette’s Syndrome. I curse. My walking buddies don’t normally do so. This may be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. My hands were numb, my feet ached, and I had stomach cramps from about mile 4 (this was a combination of energy beans and not enough water on an otherwise rather empty stomach – a banana is not sufficient breakfast to properly fuel a marathon, walking or running).
I admire anyone who attempts a marathon. It’s tough. I’m still dehydrated. And really, anyone spending any time on physical activity is to be encouraged. Good job to everyone. Good job to the event organizers, they kept the course closed to the end (unlike Cleveland who allowed traffic down course roads way too early). Good job Columbus, you are gorgeous. Based on my trip for this race, I will definitely be coming back. I have just one tiny favor to ask. Can you maybe do something about the smell around the convention center? Getting hit in the face by the intense smell of sewage followed by vomit was not a good way to wake up.