That sounds impressive, so let me dispel any illusions of grandeur: on Valentine's Day, Brandon and I ran a marathon relay as part of a four-person team.
This was all part of my number-one hobby, wherein I search around and register for races, tell myself I will train for them, and then don't train for them at all. It's been my thing since 2011 when I actually did run a marathon all by myself, and then promptly retired from regular running to spend more time eating queso and thinking about how maybe I will start running again. I do OK in the interim - in the past five years I have run four half marathons and a handful of 5K races - but it's always a hot mess and I'm never very well trained.
I found this race - the Valentine's Day Massacre Marathon - during one of these searches last month. The course is a 1.6-mile hilly (so hilly) (lo, the hills) loop in a local park. Each team member ran the course four times (a total of 6.4 miles per person, with an extra .8 miles tacked on to the first lap), with a break in between each loop while the other three team members had their turn. The sports editor at my newspaper is a big runner, so I emailed him to see if he knew anyone who might want to do it and he wrangled us a fourth teammate. To give you an idea of how this went: on race day (a blisteringly cold morning), our team members showed up to the park with actual supplies - a pop-up tent, a card table, a propane heater, tarps to block the wind - and Brandon and I rolled in a half hour later with a plastic jug of mimosas, a stack of Solo cups and a bag of snacks.
It's not that we aren't helpful, it's just that we are a really particular kind of helpful.
I ran watchless and did really well for my own out-of-shape standards, averaging an 8:34-per-mile pace across all four laps. Our team time for the full marathon was 3:40:17 and we all had fun, minus some super-sloppy baton hand-offs. (What can I tell you? We didn't practice those because we were too busy shivering and drinking mimosas.)
The photos, though. The photos do not reflect the fun.
Occasionally, I am capable of taking a good race photo. The pictures from my marathon are all ridiculous, because I was so happy to be running that race and had such a good time that I hammed it up for every single camera I saw.
On Valentine's Day, though, I was cold, it was hilly, my knuckles were freezing from holding the baton and I just wanted to get back to shantytown so I could put my parka on and stand in front of the heater.
The photos tell this story.
They tell it graphically.
A few days after the race, one of our teammates emailed me this one. The subject line: "This is it."
I'm assuming by "it" he meant "The Best And Most Flattering Race Photo Ever." I forwarded it to Brandon immediately.
"I'M SO PRETTY," I wrote.
Five minutes later I got an email back from him. "SO AM I," he wrote underneath this photo:
(He really gets me.)
We really did have fun, though. As proof, I offer two additional photos, this one taken before the race began...
...and this one taken after it was over.
There's an indoor version of this race scheduled in May that I may register for in similarly disastrous fashion, but first I have a 10-miler to survive at the end of April.
(I haven't run since the relay.)
Fit life for life. Or something.