1. Wake up at 6 a.m. Race day.
2. Stay in bed for about 10 minutes and obsess over just how much you are not ready for this.
3. Consider how bad it would be if you texted the friend you’re racing with to say, you know what, never mind.
4. Begrudgingly get dressed.
5. Walk aimlessly around your apartment.
6. Leave your apartment and come back.
7. Get back in bed with your sneakers on and nudge your boyfriend, saying, “I think I’m not going to do it.”
8. When he doesn’t wake up to convince you otherwise, text your mom and say the same. “I haven’t run in two months,” you remind her.
9. Get an onslaught of inspirational mom texts. FIIIINE. You’ll do it.
10. Run out to get a cab. You’re going to be late!
11. Go through security and start to catch that RACE-DAY RUSH.
12. Text your friend, “Are you here? It’s AMAZING,” as if you’ve been pro-race all along.
13. Head to your corral and squeeze in with the rest, trying to look like you belong.
14. Figure you might as well stretch a bit. That’s what everyone else seems to be doing.
15. Waffle in your appraisals of those around you: You’re in just as good shape as all of them! They don’t look THAT impressive! No, wait, just kidding, they’re all Olympic athletes and you are wee Tiny Tim.
16. Find your friend, against all odds, and talk about how crazy this is.
17. Consider making a last-minute run to the bathroom, but decide against it. You peed before you left. Whatever.
18. Walk slowly with the group to the start line. It’s almost go time!
19. Realize that the start line is basically whenever the group starts slowly running, and suspect that this whole thing might be a little anticlimactic.
20. Clear the first mile like it’s NOTHING. You’re flying! The adrenaline rush is real! You will finish this race in record time!
21. Weave in and out of fellow racers with your friend, feeling on top of the world.
22. High-five the spectators on the side and decide, with conviction, that these are the true heroes.
23. Grab some water from the tables and hold onto the cup for longer than you mean to. Is it really OK to just THROW them on the ground?
24. Feel like your legs are basically one with the air. Seriously, why were you even worried?
25. Make your way through the first hill mostly unfazed. Maybe you’re slowing down? Nah.
26. Lose track of your friend somewhere between mile three and mile four, and wistfully wave good-bye to her shrinking figure in the distance. “Godspeed,” you whisper-gasp.
27. Succumb to the need for music and put in your headphones, even though the pre-race FAQ packet highly discouraged it. You need Beyoncé in this moment.
28. Just you and Beyoncé, killing it. Who runs this race? You.
29. Start to get a liiiiittle nervous about how winded you’re feeling at mile six. Tell yourself you’ll allow a bit of walking at mile seven, if you really absolutely need it.
30. Miraculously, right before mile seven, find a little girl who’s holding a sign that says, “Touch here for power.” Touch the sign, shed a few tears, and continue running. NOT TODAY, HALF MARATHON. NOT. TODAY.
31. Embrace your second wind as you fly down the highway. Realize it’s actually kind of cool to run down a highway.
32. Look around and take it in: Wait, you know what, this is all really beautiful.
33. Consider grabbing a Gatorade instead of water at the rehydration booths, but decide against it when you remember the “nothing new on race day” mantra.
34. Realize at mile nine that you are entering the uncharted territory of “farther than you’ve ever run.” Feel immediately crushed by this realization. How could you possibly run even one more step?
35. But you do, for another mile.
36. Pull into the Port-a-Potty at mile 10 and immediately regret the decision. Have Port-a-Potties always been just little cubicles filled with shit and you’ve never noticed, or are these just special race day Port-a-Potties?
37. Figure out that one thing that’s harder than running for 10 miles is running 10 miles, stopping, and then willing your body to start again.
38. Wonder if your sunscreen is wearing out, because it’s starting to feel like you’re burning.
39. Except you can hardly tell, because you’re so consumed by the throbbing of your feet.
40. Suddenly begin hating every song on your dumb playlist and switch to This American Life. These stories will carry you through the next 3.1 miles.
41. Suddenly begin hating every person telling their dumb stories. None of these stories will make you stop thinking about the quickly intensifying pain in your thighs. And your feet. And your back. And everywhere.
42. Pull your earbuds out. You’ll focus on your surroundings, and glean strength from those high-fives.
43. Hahahaha just kidding, everything is awful, there is no relief.
44. Start turning on the spectators, whose signs suddenly seem condescending. YOU’RE NOT “ALMOST THERE”; YOU’VE STILL GOT TWO MILES. HOW DO THEY KNOW “YOU CAN DO IT”???? THEY DON’T KNOW YOU AT ALL!
45. Start walking at mile 12 and have a brief internal pity party, during which you text your boyfriend, “YOU PROBABLY SHOULDN’T EVEN BOTHER COMING TO THE FINISH LINE.”
46. Feel immediate relief when he dismisses the text and says he’ll be there because, duh, you need someone to eat a million hot dogs with you when you finish.
47. Begin a cycle of walking and running, keeping an eye on the one guy who has been doing the same for the past mile or so. He looks strong! It’s fine! You’re doing great! Everything is fiiiiiiine.
48. Finally grab Gatorade and realize it is actually the nectar of the gods. “Nothing new” be damned.
49. See the surreal, beautiful vision of the 13-mile marker and run while crying for the next 0.1 mile. IT’S ALL HAPPENING.
50. Pass the finish lane! You did it! OMG! YOU DID IT!
51. Hahahaha now what though.
52. Grab your medal and get your picture taken. Make peace with the fact that you will 100% look like a wet rat in that picture.
53. Take every bit of food that people are holding out to you. Banana? Yes, please. Pretzels? Duh. Gatorade? Bury me in it.
54. Try to find your buddy or your boyfriend, but quickly realize that phones are useless while everyone is fighting to send their ‘grams through.
55. Post up in front of Nathan’s. Anyone who knows you will know that’s where you are.
56. Start to feel a little sick. Huh. Well. Maybe you shouldn’t have eaten so quickly? No biggie, it’ll pass for sure.
57. Hahaha well, not passing.
58. Run to the bathroom. OK well, now you know to pace yourself (lol) post-race. But you’re feeling better! Lesson learned.
59. Find your boyfriend. Now, finally, it’s time for a beer!
60. Except not, because your stomach is acting up again. And you’re feeling faint?
61. Decide to head home and celebrate there. The crowd is probably a little too intense.
62. Fall into what can only be described as debilitating pain on the way home, and curl into the fetal position on the bathroom floor as soon as you walk through the door.
63. “Google…dying…after…half marathon,” you ask your boyfriend.
64. Find out, from the bathroom, that you are most likely not dying, but are instead dehydrated, which makes sense, now that you think about it. Did you drink any water yesterday? Probably? Well, what’s done is done.
65. Think about the wonders of the human body in between bouts of your stomach and intestines crumpling up inside of you. Amazing that it knew to finish the race before sending you into incapacitation! * BIOLOGY! *
66. Text your friends to tell them your celebratory dinner is canceled, unless they want to have it in your closet-sized bathroom.
67. Spend the next two hours in and out of the bathroom, until you finally swallow your pride and whimper to your boyfriend that he needs to do you a favor, one which you will never speak of for the rest of your days, and it is running to Rite Aid to buy you baby wipes.
68. Crawl out of the bathroom as the sun is going down and try to drink some water, fingers crossed that it stays there.
69. Get in bed, with some dramatic whining added for effect. You have suffered so much! You have survived! People should write books about you!
70. Shake your fist at the medal thrown on the opposite side of your room and turn on Law and Order: SVU. You are in for the night.
71. Get a text from your mom saying she’s so proud of you, and pat yourself on the back. Tomorrow you will wake up unable to walk but for now, eh, not so bad.
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