we ran a marathon.



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...

There's mimosa in that cup!

There's mimosa in that cup!

...and this one taken after it was over.

There's coffee with Bailey's in that cup!

There's coffee with Bailey's in that cup!

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.