Two fat flies spin wacky spirals around my head and torso, like tiny sharks circling their prey. House flies vomit and poop when they land on you, but they don’t bite, and I have worse things to worry about, so I leave them to their fun. I’ve reached mile 20 of the Jack & Jill’s Downhill Marathon.
I’m feeling really rotten with six sure to be excruciating miles to go, so everything is bugging me. A pony-tailed young woman in navy shorts and a matching blue and white tank invades my personal space as she speeds by, continues for a couple of minutes, then walks.
As soon as I catch her, she starts running again. I just want her to go away and leave me to my pain.
In 1987, when I ran my first 26.2 miler, the Emerald City Marathon in Seattle, I gave in to the walk/run method during the final two miles.
Not only did I feel guilty every time I stopped to walk, the gap between my walk breaks and returns to running lengthened over every interval, which is why I ran a second marathon in the first place.
About mile 22, I pass a nearly dead man walking in his thirties who gives me the thumbs up sign, then returns to running, “I’m going to try to keep up with you,” (just trying to put one foot in front of the other here), “Except you’re going too fast,” (trying to ignore him in an energy-saving strategy), “My watch isn’t matching the mile markers.” (mine’s matching).
Finally, he fades, which is when I hear, for the first and only time, the lie that well-meaning spectators feel compelled to tell, “You’re almost there!” Argh!
• To read Julee Rudolf’s complete blog, go to https://juleerudolfblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/31/jack-jills-downhill-marathon-2018/