There are times in one’s life when conditions are not as expected or less than perfect. In such times, it is often easy for one to give up or give in and bail. One may even throw one’s hands up in the air as if they just don’t care. Such is the tidal pull of life.
However, sometimes, one reaches above the imperfection and attains greatness through adversity. Sometimes one takes that step toward immortality and becomes a hero. This is not such a tale. This is more a tale of one running in some cold rain on the beach.
The sea was angry that day my friends. Like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli.
One begins the Novo Nordisk New Jersey Half Marathon at the Monmouth Race Track, known worldwide (or at least county wide) as one of the world’s premier horse race tracks. Or at least one assumes so if the sheer number of lawn jockeys are to be believed. One knows these little men know things. Dark terrible things. So one avoids them.
Fist bump bro! Bro fist bump! Fist bump bro!
One starts the race with a rousing rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, entirely appropriate for such a race.
The day we sweat it out on the streets of a runaway American dream
One then takes the starting line coral by coral and lines up to the Call to Post played by the track’s bugler. Just like the Kentucky derby, one then takes off from the coral (which are supremely well organized) and finds one’s pace.
One’s course takes one through the town of Oceanport and up to the bay at Sand Point. Here one looks over the bay from both the road and from several bridges that offer vistas of the bay and the houses upon it. These bridges test one’s legs as they are fairly steep. However they offer one the chance to make a pass on the less well trained hill runners. Around this point, one realizes one is running way ahead of pace and has been accidentally following the 8:00 pace group rather than the 8:30. One is ashamed. One eats a honey waffle out of shame.
One’s run then takes one through Long Branch which appears to one to essentially be a large collection of Mexican restaurants. One wonders if one could eat a chalupa while running. One decides, yes, one could in fact eat a chalupa while one runs. One is informed said restaurants do not serve chalupas as these are not real.
One realizes that one has been following an elderly man with a gray ponytail and extremely short shorts for two miles. One decides this is likely one’s self from the future who has traveled back in time to warn one of a horrible event come to pass. One is informed that in fact this man just likes running. One increases one’s pace to escape.
this is a lot of work for a free banana
One spots two signs with the exact same message within a quarter mile. One decides this is not a glitch in the matrix but that people are just not creative. One does however agree that this is in fact a lot of work for a free banana.
One is now officially sick of rain, having run in a cold drizzle for 8 miles. One is at least thankful that one hasn’t been hot or sweaty yet and hasn’t needed to drink any water. One realizes one has not had any water for 10 miles and may be dehydrated. One takes some water and promptly spills it all over one’s shoes which somehow had remained dry through the rain, but no longer do so thanks to said water.
One follows a middle aged man with the best gait one has ever seen. It is as if this man is on an elliptical or cross country skiing through the street. One forms an attachment to this man and is horrified when he is swallowed alive by a pace group which comes out of nowhere. One mourns elliptical man for the next mile.
One contemplates the endless nature of time and the inevitable march toward oblivion
One reaches mile 11 and crosses onto the beachside path in Long Branch. One marvels at the anger of the sea and the endless stretch of gray coastline ahead of one. One contemplates the endless nature of time and the inevitable march toward oblivion. One trips over a loose cobblestone while contemplating and decides to pay more attention. One however continues to enjoy the scenery, just not the cold wind blowing from the sea.
One reaches the finish line right along the beach at 1:50:00. One is fairly happy considering this is one’s third half marathon in six weeks and one has been slacking in training. One is treated to a fun medal with spinny parts and a towel which one’s soaked face appreciates.
One is treated to a veritable buffet of treats at the finish line including bottles of gatorade, boxed water, chips, protein drinks, pretzels, bananas, and most uniquely, salt water taffy.
One explores the finish line festival which seems like it would be more fun on a sunny day. One has to take a shuttle back to the start. One’s shuttle becomes a sauna with a large amount of condensation on the windows and in the air from the soaked runners. One is mildly grossed out. One is comforted by the salt water taffy one forgot one had placed in one’s pocket.
One heads back home, well sated by salt water taffy and boxed water.