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March 20, 2009 / merlisser

My big fat geek half marathon.

For reasons that to this day I don’t fully comprehend, I have always been a person that other people underestimate. For example, my guidance counselor recommended that instead of taking AP English and Calculus that I take a two period class called Office Lab that taught you how to use all the secretarial machines. I ended up being the one who made the perfect score on the Calculus semester test. There was the time this girl told me that my boyfriend was “TOO FINE” to be dating “someone like me.” (How she managed to live with all her hair perfectly placed on her head, I’ll never know). When I had my first meeting with my piano teacher in DC, I bought a piece I could play to show him my level of proficiency. He told me that this was a “very difficult piece.” Yeah I played it. He was impressed. UH HUH. That’s what I thought.

I’m thinking maybe I should get “that’s what I thought” tattooed on my butt.

Sometimes, I have found that I underestimate myself. I’m a perfectionist and see my flaws and weaknesses a lot more than I see my strengths. As a result, I like to do something that scares me a little to remind me that I’m alive and capable.

I began running in DC. DC has some beautiful running routes. There is the National Mall, which has a gravel trail where you can run from the Capital to the Lincoln Memorial and back again. The sidewalks are wide enough that you can run across the Memorial Bridge into Arlington National Cemetery. Rock Creek Park has a bike and running trail.

Sometime relatively soon after I started running, I thought about completing a marathon. It sounded so over the top that I just had to do it. I had a friend doing the Aids Marathon training program and through that I learned about the Galloway Method

So I put the marathon on my bucket list. I then broke it down to the smaller goals with a 5K, 10K, and a half marathon on my list as well.

Life happened. I moved. I gained a ton of weight. One day woke up and realized, HOLY SHIT I”M FAT! I’m really really fat! and started back to running . . very very slowly. So far I’ve lost about 20 pounds.

Last Saturday was my half marathon: The Little Rock Marathon in, where else, Little Rock, Arkansas. I printed out the training schedule on the site and went to town.

As any longtime reader of “run melissa run” knows, I have been panicking about this race for a good two weeks. I’ve never run a race with this many people. I had visions of being trampled by other runners. I’d never run a race this long. Would the hills kill me? Will I lose my timing chip? lots of concerns.

They turned out to be unfounded. I took pictures. Here we go.

packet pick up

This is where I picked up my “packet” with my number, timing clip, and all the necessary items needed for the race. The expo was nice. I met some of the nicest people while I was there. Runners, as a group, tend to be really nice people. Maybe it’s true what they say about endorphins and mood. I saw lots of nice things and ended up doing a little shopping.

Cool shirts at the expo.

I did not buy either one of these t-shirts.


I bought The Stick, which is billed as a “self massager” (no not that kind of massager). IT was worth its weight in gold. I got some gloves, a ponytail headband, a bumper sticker, a magnet, and some jelly beans.

I did my carbo loading at Dam Good Pies. This is an awesome restaurant with great food. I highly recommend it.

Best shirt ever.

I almost wore this shirt to the race, thinking it would be hilarious and might give the spectators a little chuckle. Then I remembered that my pants were black. Oops.

The race itself. Well 6 a.m. is really freaking early. My mother wanted to go with me and since I’m not a morning person, I was more than happy to have someone else with me to wake my sleepy head up for the race.

I started the race with my intent to do 2 minute running/1 minute walk break splits for the duration and I kept this up easy breezy until somewhere between mile 9 and 10.

Around mile 7. (when mothers with cameras attack)

This picture is around mile seven. Our hotel was on the race route and my mother waited and came outside and took this picture. Obviously, I’m not what you would call pleased with my mother playing Paparazzi.

Somewhere around mile 9 and 10, I got real tired. This route was significantly more hilly than the training area in my town. In fact, Little Rock is a lot more hilly than Melissa land in general. The hills had gotten to me. I began walking up the hill in front of the Governor’s Mansion. After that, I pretty much walked the rest of the route. My goal was just to finish. I didn’t care if I was last.

I finally got to the last turn. I got some lipstick at the lipstick aid station and crossed the finish line about 3 1/2 hours later. One person cut off my timing tag. Another person put my finisher’s medal around my neck.

My finisher's medal

(my finisher’s medal)

And none other than Mr. TMFW himself put the mylar blanket around me to keep me warm. By this point, I was so tired I wanted him to tuck me in bed with some warm milk and read me a bedtime story.

The post race atmosphere is a little odd. People are tired and yet supportive. I ate a slice of pizza, some chocolate milk, and a banana. I found my mother. I called my Dad.

“Hey Dad”
“So how did it go?”
“It went alright”
“Did you finish all 13 miles”

Uh huh that’s what I thought.

Bragging rights.

I learned a lot during that race. I learned that I need to find more hills for training purposes. I learned that in running, like life, the two biggest things are to show up and to keep going when times are tough. Everything else is gravy.



Leave a Comment
  1. sharoneb / Mar 20 2009 10:10 pm

    You are AWESOME!! I’m so proud of you for completing that! You’re definitely an inspiration for me. One day I’ll be able to do a half or full marathon. 🙂

  2. merlisser / Mar 20 2009 10:17 pm

    aww thank you. You’ve done 10Ks. You’re halfway there.

  3. jennybee / Mar 21 2009 2:13 pm

    Great job! I was in LR that day and thought of you whilst I was cursing the pylons slowing down traffic. Glad you survived. I. Could. Not.

    You rock!

  4. merlisser / Mar 21 2009 2:23 pm

    heh. thanks. I saw your message that you were in town but I had no idea how I was going to be feeling. My morning was used up and I intended to go to the post race party but instead I went home and took a nap. Yeah a NAP!

    I survived but I was real sore. That stick was worth its weight in GOLD!

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