Tacoma City Half: Post-Race Gluttony & Observations

There was no running on Tuesday morning or on Wednesday morning. In fact, there was no running on any morning this week. There was no running in the evening either. I played soccer on Thursday night (which technically involves running), but aside from that, I took five days off. And when I do resume running this weekend, I will run a short distance, at a leisurely pace.

There’s nothing quite as fulfilling as post-race laziness.

I trained for almost three months then pushed my forty-one-year-old body for 13.1 miles on Sunday. This downtime is my reward. As is allowing myself to eat and drink far more than I normally do. I’d feel guilty about this, however, as I mentioned a few short sentences ago, I trained for three months and ran 13.1 miles on Sunday. This is the mantra that has allowed me to live like a gluttonous slug since crossing the finish line.

This is what it's all about... sweat-soaked sneakers and a finisher's medal.
This is what it’s all about… sweat-soaked sneakers and a finisher’s medal.

The Tacoma City Half Marathon was a tremendous success. My wife and I had a great couple of days exploring a city we’d spent almost no time in despite its relative proximity. The weather was great and the race itself went really well. My wife who hadn’t run a half in almost two years did better than expected and was almost smiling as she headed toward the finish line. I ran a solid race, achieving all five of my publicly stated goals, though admittedly it was a close call on Goal #4.

One of the things I enjoy about running half marathons is the overall experience of the races. The event itself is a big part of it, but it’s also great to just listen and observe and take it all in. Every race has its own character and moments that fascinate and amuse me. Here are a few of my favorite from Sunday:

• Everyone’s running form is like a snow flake, each individual sporting a unique way of moving their body forward with pace. One woman I ran near held her arms high and tight against her torso, her hands loose and unclenched. She reminded me of a jogging T-Rex.

• One man I ran near wore large, full size headphones. No ear buds for this guy. It looked terribly uncomfortable and seemed like a good way to make the cushioned rings of your cans smell like feet.

• By the time I crossed the Tacoma Narrows bridge, I was running near the two hour pace team.We’d reached a steep incline in the path that brought us from the bridge up to the street, when we caught up with a woman who was running with a stroller. One of the enthusiastic members of the pace team took over for her so she could tackle the hill sans stroller.

• Somewhere around Mile 5, deep into a Tacoma neighborhood, we were greeted by a group of supporters who were serving beer to runners with a folding table set up as a makeshift bar. When a man ahead of me grabbed a cup and drank, the group (which included an older man wearing a smoking jacket and holding a martini glass) cheered. I was tempted to imbibe and bask in the glory of their approval, but decided against it since I’d eaten a little too much food before the race and had eight miles still ahead of me.

• At one point I was running behind a woman who was keeping a nice, brisk pace. She was dialed in. Her far more energetic friend dropped back and asked if her and her husband had “canceled the hotel reservation in Portland.” It took the woman about 45 seconds to reply, “Not yet.” She was clearly uninterested or unable to have a sustained conversation about future plans. However, her friend persisted and carried on, planning the details of the other woman’s trip to Portland to run a half marathon in a couple of weeks. Seemed to me like subject matter that could’ve been addressed after the race, not during it. And I’d venture a guess that the woman in front of me would agree.

After the race, I was on a bit of a runner’s high and was seriously considering finding another half marathon to run in early June, rather than sticking with my “one half marathon in spring, one half marathon in fall” plan. I could totally ramp up in the next few weeks and be ready to go, I thought.

I guess that’s a good sign. Better to feel the illogical desire to jump back into another long race than feel like I never want to run again. I probably won’t do another half until fall, though I have a 5-mile race next weekend and am planning on doing a 10K in early June, so there’s no shortage of running in my future.

Though if I’m being honest, one of the reasons I want to run another half marathon is so I can rationalize a post-race week devoid of morning runs and filled with regrettable dietary decisions. That felt almost as good as the race itself.

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