One thing I think I should quickly clear up for people considering running a marathon is its origin. Sure, we all know it's about some low-level Greek functionary who runs 20 some odd miles to tell some more important Greek that their army has defeated another army or some shit. But here's what they don't tell you:
The traditional story relates that Pheidippides, an Athenian herald, was sent to Sparta to request help when the Persians landed at Marathon. He ran the 34.5 km (21.4 miles) from the battlefield by the town of Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over Persia and died on the spot.
That's right, the motherfucker gets there and immediately drops dead. Didn't see that in the race packet when I signed up. Didn't see that anywhere in Runner's World. Don't see that in the myriad Nike or New Balance commercials.
So, as I mentioned last week, I ran in the Marine Corps Marathon yesterday, during which two people had a heart attack and one of them died, so maybe they should put that advisory in there after all.
And yeah, I boasted that I'd do in under three hours, but that plan was scrapped somewhere around mile 16 when my legs went and, well, died. So I finished with a solid 3:49:35. For a first marathon, not bad.
Let's review my collapse:
Mile 5 - 33:26
Hey, look at Mr. Hot Shit with the 6:35 mile pace.
Mile 10 - 1:08:28
Okay, you're still at a 6:50 mile. Hang in there.
Halfway mark - 1:31:32
Slipping a little. A little over a 7-minute mile. But if you duplicate this in the second half then you're right at three hours. So far, so good.
Mile 15 - 1:47:16
Alright, I'm reading the tea leaves here and I'm not liking what I'm seeing. Creeping a little further over a 7-minute pace. You're just a little tired. It's still good, it's still good.
Mile 20 - 2:38:04
Aaaaand, you're Rumphed.
I have to say that I made a new enemy yesterday: runners who write their names on themselves before races. Fuck you and your energy gel utility belts, you attention whores. I suppose there's nothing wrong with it on its face, it's probably great motivation for the person (let's call this person Jeff) to hear people chanting their name throughout the hours of running. But what if you're the person running alongside Jeff for 8 miles? You hear nothing but encouraging words for Jeff and big fat squaddo for yourself, because I'm sure it's easier for someone watching the race to cheer a name rather than to yell, "go number 1247!" or "go guy in the red shorts and grey top!" But it wears on you in that exhausted state, to the point that eventually you want to kick Jeff in the back of his knee or step on his heel and rip his ACL. Seriously, fuck Jeff.
Ah, but there's more to this post than me gushing about my marathon performance. There's Steelers sulking to be done and, luckily for our readers, this is most likely the last Christmas Ape Steelers homer post of the year, because Pittsburgh's season is officially over.
After the race yesterday, my better judgment was telling me to fall into a sweaty heap in bed and wake up sometime Thursday, but my Steelers fandom demanded that I head to the bar, what with the game not being televised. And, as usual when the two square off, fandom wins hands down. Even though they were playing the Raiders and there was no urgency for me to watch the game.
I limped my way to my car and arrived at the bar just after kickoff. The regulars had a pretty uniform reaction. "Hey, that's great. Congrats. And you're still here? Wow. You're a true fan...and a fucking idiot. Seriously, dude, go lay down. Jackass."
Rather than further draw out an already long post with further description, allow me to summarize the few conclusions I can draw through the wall of rage: Ben won't throw to a receiver unless there are at least three opposing players around his target. Ben will never throw the ball away. Before every sack, Ben will hold the ball for three Bledsoes (a Bledsoe being defined as a unit of time equal to five seconds in the pocket). A backup quarterback with a 136.8 QB rating under no circumstances should ever warm up when the starter, coming off a concussion, has thrown four picks, two of which having been returned for touchdowns. Charlie Batch has probably slept with Cowher's wife and at least one of his daughters. Our defenders get flagged for coughing after the play. Russ Grimm, and hopefully not Ken Whisenhunt, will be coaching this team next year. (Living in D.C., it would be fun watching the 'Skins fans get all in a lather about one of the Hogs coaching the Steelers.) And our special teams needs lots and lots of help. Lots.
The cuts to the near catatonic looks on Al Davis' ghoulish visage peering from the owner's box as the Raiders neared victory were almost as unsettling as the outcome itself. He looks like my legs feel.