Note: We interrupt this blog which claims to be about Mathews County to bring you news of a Mathews County family's adventures in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Warning: When two sisters from Mathews get away from home on their own, with no responsibilities and lots of marathon-induced endorphins coursing through their veins, anything can happen including, well, let's just say you've been warned. Things will return to normal (whatever that is) here on this blog in a day or so. Thank you for your patience.
Once upon a time, two sisters who don't get out much traveled to the Outer Banks of North Carolina for a half-marathon, even though neither had really trained for a 13.1-mile race.
|Off season in the Outer Banks can be just wonderful.|
These half-marathons are really not so much
about the race. It's all about the getting away. Sort of like one of those inexpensive vacations where "all you have to do" is sit through a 30-minute timeshare presentation.
Except instead of 30 minutes it's about 2.5 hours, and instead of contemplating the purchase of a timeshare we're contemplating
the finish line of a 13.1-mile jogathon that is anything
In fact, it's torture.
But again it's not about that short period of torture akin to a
prolonged timeshare sales pitch.
It's all about the getting away from home.
And the laughter.
And the food.
And more...much more.
|Baby Sis post-race at the Manteo waterfront. Yes, she wore a scarf the entire 13.1 miles, only because she forgot to take it off at the starting line. Most of the time it was around her waist. There was a point somewhere around Mile 5 or 6 where I contemplated using it to strangle a very loud man behind me. Thankfully for all parties involved, |he stopped talking politics I restrained myself.
Baby Sis and I finished the half-marathon without walking, which was our goal. A year ago when we ran this particular race, we finished in about two and a half hours. In April we ran one in Nashville--in cold, pouring down rain complete with thunder and lightning on a very hilly course--in about two hours and thirty seven minutes.
We had very low
expectations for this race, particularly since we didn't feel prepared and both of us complained about various important body parts that were bound to give out--like
hearts, legs, lungs, brains,
backs, knees, etc.
In spite of our doubts, we not only achieved our goal of finishing without walking, but we had our best time ever: two hours and twenty two minutes! It was crazy.
However, the race was not entirely uneventful.
After crossing the finish line, which we had sort of sprinted towards, Baby Sis stopped and held up one finger (not that
one, just the regular pointing finger) indicating she needed to pause for a minute. She said she couldn't breathe--or rather she could breathe out
but not in
. The Very Nice Race Helper directed another Very Nice Race Helper to get a wheelchair, into which Baby Sis plopped.
Still recovering from 13.1 miles of WHAT DID WE JUST DO myself, I could barely grasp what was going on but had wits enough to grab my free visor and coconut water before dashing after the wheelchair-pushing paramedic to make sure I didn't lose Baby Sis in the throngs of giddy
By the way, when you've just completed 13.1 miles without stopping and then you stop moving, it's not easy to begin sprinting after your wheelchair-bound sister being pushed by a Very Fresh As In Hasn't Run a Half-Marathon Paramedic. It just wasn't what I was prepared for.
It wasn't what Baby Sis was prepared for either.
Once we arrived at the medics' tent, she became
a little annoyed at the attention she was receiving, particularly since she
knew we weren't far from the beer garden
felt so much better after having sat down for a moment. However, she politely explained to the Super Kind Medical People that it was either an anxiety attack, a slight case of exercise-induced asthma, or Hey, my knee almost gave out about half a mile ago and my toes don't exist anymore, so I just needed to sit down.
Or all of that.
In any case, no sooner had the very nice race helpers started to ask in-depth questions than Baby Sis jumped up like a Jack-in-the Box and asked where the beer garden was.
|Once we found food and the beer garden, we were as good as new!|
|Hey, hey, hey!|
The people-watching in Manteo after this race can't be beat.
We met many interesting and inspiring people, including one man in his 60s who has run a full marathon (that's 26.2 miles) in all 50 states
. His favorite was the Boston Marathon; he says the sheer number of people cheering you on makes you run when you want to walk. The toughest? Pikes Peak. The most beautiful? Hawaii. This man is also a cancer survivor. I asked him if anyone in his family ran with him. "Nope. Too lazy."
Our new friend Brad, also in his 60s, started in our corral and burped very loudly
around Mile 4, much to our delight. Baby Sis and I have a very
immature sense of humor which will never
mature, evidently. Anyway, Brad has done Ironmans, he has done crazy Caribbean swimming with sharks, he's done all sorts of amazing races. And he's not ready to stop.
But back to the people-watching.
|This is CBW and Random Stranger Wearing a Kilt|
This Random Stranger Also Wearing a Kilt had just completed the full marathon.
Baby Sis could not get over the fact he ran 26.2 miles in a kilt.
Baby Sis also refused to call it a kilt. To her it is a skirt.
For purposes of maintaining the peace, we'll call it a skilt.
Baby Sis and Marathon Man chatted at length.
Their conversation was very lively, and Baby Sister was very animated.
By the way, although you can't necessarily tell it here, there were HUNDREDS of people around us.
Baby Sister, high on two and a half hours of exercise, endorphins, a few free beers from the beer garden and life, started to sprout one of her infamous wild hairs.
By the time the picture below was snapped, those wild hairs were out of control.
|She glances and restrains herself--probably because I begged her to.|
|She can't resist the urge. However at this point she was just pretending for the picture.|
This may be the first photograph I've ever edited. You're welcome.
p.s. Baby Sis begged me to put the unadulterated version of this photo up, but I just could not.
She plans to use the original version as her Facebook cover photo.
Maybe the oxygen loss at the finish line is to blame, who knows. We may never really know.
Either way, please look at that grin on her face.
|After the |skirt kilt curiosity was dealt with, we were all best amigos.
|My feet hurt so badly, even these flip flops were too much. |
They appeared to meld into the pavement just like my feet did around Mile 7.
|Baby Sis's feet, post-race, post-wheelchair and post-skilt incident.|
A good time was had by all.
As long as I can draw a breath, I want to do this particular race with Baby Sis.
Hopefully next year we can convince Middle Sis and other family members to join us.
In spite of the 13.1 miles of quasi-torture, which also provides motivation to move and exercise in the
weeks leading up to the race, it really is a great time.
If anyone reading does not exercise but wants to, just start off small. Walk for a few minutes a day and build up from there. If you walk but don't think you can jog, walk longer distances and just jog a few steps when you can. If you jog but think you can't for long distances, all I can tell you is I never ran more than three miles in my life until a few years ago. I told myself I couldn't or thought that you had to be special to do long distances.
You don't have to be special but you have to change your thinking.
Completing anything is 99% mental and a small fraction physical.
If you say no before you try, there is no chance you ever will.
If you say maybe
and open your mind up to the possibility
, you're way ahead of the game.
I am not ready yet to say I really want to do a full marathon of 26.2 miles, but I am slowly opening up to the possibility that I can.
If Baby Sis and skilt-wearing men are involved, I'm definitely in.