After this weekend's boss-ness at Mercedes Marathon, I'm rethinking this whole running thing. Sure those long distance runners have the resting heart rate of 15 and have developed the I-don't-care-edness to pee in any yard or park no matter who is present, but until you have experienced the joy of dancing for six hours while super fit (and possibly miserable because, you know, running is hard) people run past you, do not become completely converted to marathoning.
In case you aren't following (I'm almost not following myself most of the time), instead of running the Mercedes Marathon on Sunday, I volunteered at the BUTS (Birmingham Ultra Trail Society) cheer station. Yes, a cheer station is an official designation at Mercedes Marathon. Instead of water and gels, we provide jazz hands and an occasional high kick.
My friend Tanya did the running this Sunday, and here's what she had to say about it.
|Tanya: You're not running, i.e. developing buns as hard and hot as copper pots?|
|Lisa: Why would I run when watching you suffer is just as fun?!!!|
Also, it rained.
Hopefully these runners emptied out their Body Glide containers to help prevent the rain chafe, which is superior to oops-I-peed-a-little chafe because it covers a larger region.
|Best rain hats ever. Triple bonus if they ran in them.|
Then there are the over-achievers. The whole reason I want to run ultras is so that the only 6 I see at the beginning of a run is a 6-pack of Hammer gels. Oh, and a 6-pack of whoop a**, amiright.
But you can wear a costume while running marathons, so that swings me slightly back over to favoring running again.
But wait, you can also wear a costume while dance-cheering, so back to even on which is better.
|I stole this mask from my five year old. Photo by awesome friends.|
But this year was another first for me. I could stand calmly at the Mercedes start line without feeling the uncontrollable need to pee, do other bathroom business (right, I mean poop), and vomit simultaneously.
I got to leisurely walk around and try and find people I knew. Or didn't know. Like the Oiselle runner, who I don't know but forced her into this selfie -- because Oiselle!
And I got to be at the front line (instead of way back) to catch moments like this.
And this. Normally I never see these people in a race, unless they are lapping me.
And after the swoosh of the start, I got to walk around a quiet, traffic-free downtown Birmingham and ponder the difference between that Sunday (see below) and the Sunday that I was living.
Isn't it funny how you can almost instantly go from amazed to excited to grateful to somber to crazy robot arm? Because I immediately went from pondering to the BUTS cheer station.
|Photos by another awesome friend.|
Also in case you read the last post, you know that I was planning to pace the last six miles of my friend's marathon. Well, my runner ended up dropping down to the half. She wasn't feeling the speed, the day, the course, her feet. You name it. So she pulled the plug. In marathoning, you live to run another day and learn the most from the days that are the most annoying. I think she felt like that was a cruddy outcome, but I know she'll be back even feistier now because of it. So she did not waste her time Sunday. Valuable lessons to be had!
|Lady BUTS baller relay team, of which I am an unofficial member.|
In case you didn't catch all of the randomness above, let me summarize.
Pros of marathon running:
- tight glutes
- possible costumes
- runner camaraderie
Cons of marathon running:
- business chafing
- whole body chafing
- peeing in strangers' yards
- desire to cry after 26 miles
- shorter distance runners eat all the snacks while you are still running
in contrast with
Pros of cheer stationing:
- friends will not cheer faster than you, leaving you to cheer alone (can happen in running)
- tight lats from the running man and Roger Rabbit
- possible costumes
- runners not hating life as much because you did the Roger Rabbit and they were amused
- snacks available at any moment and less likely to choke because no eating while running
Cons of cheer stationing:
- slightly sore feet the day after (I know you ran a marathon and everything, but my feet hurt from gangnum styling)
- sore delts from vigorous windmill arms
- need to wash hands after high-fiving everyone regardless of hand/glove condition (soggy high fives are the worst)
- it's not running
- desire to cry when your friends run through the station and you are proud of them
So not a definite clear winner, but I can't imagine having any more fun than I did cheering all of the Mercedes runners through to the end of their race. So if you find me wearing yellow rain boots and a Nacho Libre mask next year at Mercedes, you'll know that I chose cheer stationing over actual running for the second year in a row. And am probably pretty darn happy about it!