[let me preface this post by saying i am so grateful to have completed another race relatively physically and emotionally intact thanks to God and an awesome guide. i don't often mention mention anything religious on this blog but i seriously made it through those 13.1 miles thanks to a lot of prayer.]
i hate crowds.
like, really really hate crowds. i've never liked them (who does, really?) but as my vision has gotten worse i've grown to really despise being in crowded situations. it's sometimes panic inducing being in a sea of people and i feel frozen not knowing if i should take a step and risk hitting someone/something. recently i've been better (read: more open due to my new IDGAF attitude) about having my cane on me, and you know, actually using it in certain situations- i.e. dark or crowded environments. but as a runner with marathon aspirations, i find myself in quite the conundrum: how do i race (and run decently well) surrounded by people i can't see? answer: grin and bear it? run with flailing arms so people stay far away from me? just blast "Move Bitch" on repeat and hope people follow Ludacris' directions? i'm open to suggestions people!
in all seriousness this is something i've been trying to figure out with each race i've done, mentally taking notes through the miles and forgetting most, if not all, of them once i cross the finish (side note, up to 4 half marathons now. starting to put that medal/bib holder to use!). that is a recurring problem i seem to have, having brilliant and deep thoughts while running only to have them vanish from memory once i'm in a position to write them down. it's a learning process as i try to navigate crowds while running, even with someone being a guide. shit is hard enough walking around crowds. and from what i hear, even runners with perfect vision can have trouble with crowded races due to to the fact that SOME people just don't know how to fucking get out of the way. for reals, there needs to be an official race/running etiquette guide and reading that should be a requirement for all race participants. we have emily post for social etiquette and MLA for writing so where is the running manual, especially for racing? (while we're at it, a guide to life would be useful since it appears a lot of people aren't familiar with common sense). topics can include etiquette for track workouts and urban road/sidewalk rules as well as DON'T EVER SUDDENLY STOP RUNNING while in a sea of people. unless you're the last person or accidentally fall, moving to the side would prevent a lot of collisions and frustration. i just don't get people who are coasting a long and then just stop in the middle of the road. no, that is NOT an appropriate time for a race selfie or to "capture the moment". if you can walk and text (because don't lie, we've all done it at least once) then you can run and instagram, or better yet, be aware of others and move to the side to take a breather/picture/tie your shoe/whatever. this probably sounds so obvious to you and me, but it happens an unfathomably amount of times. yes, UNFATHOMABLY is the only word i feel appropriate,because i can't fathom a world where it makes logical sense to straight up stop within a moving crowd. in case you haven't noticed, this is probably my biggest peeve about other runners in races. like, why can't we all follow traditional road rules and have a "slower" lane for people who run/walk and a "passing" lane for those who decide to pick up speed or got stuck in a slower start corral. i understand that corrals are designed to get similarly paced people running in the same pack, but let's be real: people lie and over/underestimate their running times. also you never know what kind of running day it will be for you so maybe you have an off day or amazing race juju. just like life, running is unpredictable and people need to GTFO of the way.
implementing this sort of rule would also help eliminate people zigging and zagging and cutting others off. not sure how much other people are affected by it, but i have no peripheral vision and so people are literally coming out of no where for me. so i'm just la-di-daing along, thinking "yay i'm running! this is awesome...but is it almost over yet? i wish i had a baby pand-" when BAM! there's a person kicking my shins as i almost trip over them. a friend was running with me as a guide, but she was in front of me so i wouldn't run into objects and follow her while weaving through the crowds. it doesn't help when someone steps right in between us, which happened at least a dozen times during the race. i also had a run in with a trash can at a water stop and then tripped and fell over a bump around mile 8. i had a brief hug with the ground. that's a nice way of saying i ate shit and banged up my knee. this is a race first, and most likely not last.
another first was getting a leg cramp at about mile 12. i suppose the bright side is that it happened with only 1.1 miles to go. but when it comes to leg cramps and running, there really isn't much of a bright side. overall is was a pretty crappy race experience but like most runners will tell you, i still thought about what my next one will be after i crossed the finish line. finish lines are kind of magical like that: you start to forget how miserable you were before that and just think about toeing the next start line.