The sun rose Saturday morning just like every other Saturday, but this one was an exception. I had convinced myself to run the Huntsville Half Marathon: a whooping 13.1 miles. My logic was simple: someone had to prove that an Irish person can not only drink a Humpback Whale under the table but can also stagger aimlessly down the street for 13 miles. As the runners got set and the gun aimed at the sky, years of physicians’ arguments to my family finally proved true. I am an idiot.
The first mile up the Rocky Mountains of Huntsville showed my true lack of preparation. The 25 hot wings I had eaten only hours earlier did not give me the fiery kick I had foreseen. The several shots of Goldschlager did not mean I would win the gold, but instead heave up agonizing gold flakes. And jumping off my friend’s roof: well, that was just dumb in general.
The course (seriously the hilliest race between the Houston and San Antonio area) was scattered with water stations ranging about every mile. As I made disgruntled gestures with my face only two miles into the race, I noticed two competitors grab a white cup from one of these stations throw cold water all over their head. I decided to follow their lead, snatched a blue cup and threw it on my face. Five feet later, I flailed hysterically and clawed at my burning eyes.
“The blue cups have Gatorade,” one of the station workers shouted before realizing who she was talking to. “Oh my God, I think that runner’s Irish!”
The steps to decomposition in a half-marathon follow in this manner. Three miles into the race and your toes form blisters the size of gophers. Seven miles: your nipples bleed and vultures rent a golf cart and follow you around. Between nine and 11 miles, the vultures underestimate your sluggish pace and unintentionally run over you. Your only competition finished 10 minutes ago and rode back to the retirement home.
When you’re a slightly overweight college student hindered by gravity and Cinnamon Toast Crunch binges, your gold medal finish comes in the form of an IV in the arm and a medic asking you to count back from 10. But the whole idea remains that it’s interesting to try something new. Get out more often and challenge yourself to a goal you’re unconvinced is achievable. Even go so far as to wake up to your alarm clock instead of whacking it with a stick. College doesn’t go on forever: do something dumb! And lastly, take my advice: when a physician opens the door for you, it’s not always because he’s a gentleman. It’s because he knows you’re too dumb to manage a doorknob.