While most people spent Saturday doing things like this:
(photo care of my friend Brittney, which cracks me up)
I spent the day doing (and subsequently recovering from) this:
My friend Becky and I participated in the 5-mile St Pat's Parade run, along with close to 9,000 comrades. It's a really entertaining fun-run that weaves it's way downtown along the parade route. It's mostly flat, thankfully, and we had perfect weather for it. The first mile killed me. All I could think was "Why am I doing this? I am an idiot. Running is stupid." Fortunately, once I hit my stride in the second mile I was able to walk-run in consistent intervals, and my inner monologue was more like, "Running is alright. I am not dead yet, so that's pretty cool."
Running! Look, I'm runnnniiiiiiinnnnnnnngggggg! (Please note at this point I was dying and Becky is all "lalala photo op!")
We crossed the finish line at Busch Stadium at 1:06:57 ... more than twenty minutes faster than my time last year (which I almost entirely walked). I felt a little guilty because Becky is a much more conditioned runner than I am, and she held back with me when I needed to walk. I could tell at times that she was itching to break loose, but she was a trooper and stuck with my pokey ass. It's definitely motivating to be there and know I want to do better next year.
Finished and happeeeeeeeee. Yeah, I ran in those glasses. Those are my "I feel the need for speed" glasses.
I love races like this because of the atmosphere. It's not particularly competitive - at least not where we were in the pack - and the crowd was feeling the holiday spirit. I didn't get many pictures, but I am a fan of any race where runner's are in costume. We saw a giant bottle of ketchup, an air freshener, countless tutus, huge green fro wigs, and tons of shamrocks along the way. When we rounded the first turn from Broadway onto Market Street, it was a sea of green as far as you could see. We were even passed at one point by four people pushing a go-kart bearing a keg of green beer (though we declined the proffered keg stand). Very festive! Gotta love St Patrick's Day!
Over 1000 calories burned later, Becky and I picked up Mr LikesIt and ate our weight in sammiches at Bar Louie. Worth it. And then I took an epic nap - the sort of which left me frazzled and disoriented for the rest of the day. I've also kind of been on a carb-fest ever since, and other such ridiculousness, but that's another story for another day.
I think I like races! I averaged a 13-minute mile for this race, and I ran roughly half of each mile. While I know I won't be winning races anytime soon, I would be thrilled to improve on that. And hey, I finished in front of about 3000 people. Guess what that means? Not Last. I think I like races. No wonder people keep doing this to themselves.
And next year? I'm finishing under an hour. Mark my words, people!