On the Run: Week 12

What do you do when a celebrity crush gives you sage advice mere days before you undertake your first ever marathon? You listen, that’s what.

  • Days Until Anthem Richmond Marathon: 1
  • Miles Run: 334.89
  • Crazy Runner Chicks: A lot. But just one writing this column.

After starting every run with my iPod’s volume maxed out blaring Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” (cliche, but darn if it isn’t good motivatin’ music!), I settled into a playlist of whatever podcasts looked interesting.

NPR’s offerings are favorites, including, but not limited to, Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! and This American Life, as well as Nerdist, an interview show featuring celebrity guests that just happen to read like a dream list of people I would want to interview were I to have a podcast.

Now, running feels less like torture, and more like hanging out with smarter, cooler friends.

I’ve mentioned my love affair with podcasts as running partners before, but the reason I bring it up again is that I went out early one morning last week, chomping at the bit to listen to one of the latest Nerdist’s offerings. It was an interview with one of my biggest celebrity crushes, Anthony Edwards, and hoping it would be enough of a distraction to keep me from focusing on my foot injury. While it feels close to fine, I worry…

Anyway, in addition to being handsome, talented, and smart, Anthony is also an avid runner, who raises money through his running for a great cause.

During the interview, host Chris Hardwick brought up the multiple marathons that Anthony has completed and broached the subject of maybe the host training for a marathon himself.

I’m running and listening, listening and running, and, suddenly, Anthony says the very thing that I needed to hear.

I’m paraphrasing because I don’t have the interview transcript, but what he basically said is that training for a marathon is the hard part. Convincing yourself to get up early and hit the streets alone, when you could go back to bed and no one would know the difference. Doing twenty miles and having no finish line and no one to high five you when you finish. Telling yourself it will all be worth it. That, he said, is the hard part. The easy part, he revealed, is the marathon. Running with so many other people who love it. Spectators cheering. Water when you need it. Portapotties.

And he was right. I’ve done the hard part. I’ve set the alarm for 3:00 AM. I’ve iced shins and feet. I’ve peed in yards all over Richmond. I did all of that. TO GET TO THIS.

And, so, I’m heading out to the starting line of the Richmond Marathon tomorrow. I might run, I might walk, I might hobble (though I feel pretty strong), but I’ve worked to run with so many other people who love it. I’ve worked to hear spectators cheering. I’ve worked to have water when I need it. I’ve worked for portapotties. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have to finish, but I do have to start.

So, I’ll be at 8th and Broad an hour early to send the 8k-ers on their way with hugs and cheers, then line up at the back of the marathon pack for my wild ride. My ill-advised, eyebrow-raising, slower-than-ever-before wild ride.

Tomorrow, come out and cheer, come out and jeer, come out and pick me up out of the road, if you want. Or, just follow me here. You can get text or email alerts sent to you for the progress of any runner, or check the pace chart if you plan to plant yourself on the course and wait for someone you like, love, or have an unhealthy obsession with to run by. I’m definitely in the 6:30-6:45 range on that chart.

Wish me luck, Richmond. Whatever happens, I couldn’t have done it without you.

Thank you.

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The Checkout Girl

The Checkout Girl is Jennifer Lemons. She’s a storyteller, comedian, and musician. If you don’t see her sitting behind her laptop, check the streets of Richmond for a dark-haired girl with a big smile running very, very slowly.

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