Scylla wins the Half Marathon!

That’s right. My life has been hectic as hell for the last week or so, but yesterday I got up at 5:30 drove to Harrisburg and ran and won the Harrisburg half Marathon. I ran 13.1 miles in one hour fifty-five minutes and thirty-nine seconds.

I beat over 10,000 other people, and got first place!
What I mean is, I’m sure I was the only Doper to run, so I finished first place among this community. There were of course lots of people that finished the race ahead of me, but none of them were Dopers so I still feel entitled in claiming victory.

The night before Mrs. Scylla, Little Scylla and myself went to Outback Steakhouse. I had a Blooming Onion about 6 beers, and the Fettucine Alfredo with shrimp and mushrooms.

I figure I cut about a minute off my time due to the fact my gastrointestinal track was loaded up with odiferous propellant. Every mile or so I’d cut one loose and get an extra burst of speed.

My sweat also smelled like a fried onion soaked in beer, and I sweat a lot. Naturally it’s stinky, but yesterday was something special.

I’m 6 foot and now 190 pounds, and I look athletic, but around mile 10 I get passed by this lady with grey hair. She just goes whizzing by!

A minute later these two girls pass me. They look about mid-twenties. And, I don’t want to offend, but let’s just say that they are “dumpy” looking. Neither of them looks like they could run a mile. They pass me, chatting happily about a soap opera or something, breathing easily.

As I watch these two heavyset unathletic looking women leave me in the dust, I start feeling that something is wrong.

My self-image is a having a problem with this. I know it’s wrong, and looks can be deceiving, but dammit I look like I should be kicking their asses. I’m built like King Kong! I can bench 275! I’ve been running all year. I’m lean and mean. These two looki like they sit around all day eating cheese fries!

I cut loose another ripper, surging ahead while the people immediately behind me start coughing and otherwise keel over into the bushes, and I put on the speed.

I pull ahead of them easily, as we follow the river back to the Market Street Bridge and the finish at City Island, my body starts to tell me something my mind already knew.

I’m an idiot and an asshole. I broke my pace and pushed it way too early, and now I’m gasping like a fish and there’s still almost two miles left. I need water. I’m hot. My shins hurt. I’m not used to concrete. I ate and drank too much the night before and I didn’t hydrate properly before the race. There’s a lead weight in my bowels and gravity is increasing rapidly this Sunday morning.

Up the hill and to the bridge, I’m dying.

I hear the two chatty heavyset girls coming up behind me, but I’ve got nothing left.

“Good run there,” one says. “Push it to the end othe bridge, then it’s down hill for 1/3 of a mile. You can do it.”

I smile weakly and hold up my head with what little machismo I can summon.

“Thanks. Just getting ready for the final push,” and they’re by me again.

I set my eyes on the back of the shoes of the one on the left and keep them there.

I’m five paces behind them, hearing them chat as we cross the bridge. Going down hill I feel better. One half mile left. I start thinking about putting on my finishing burst.

“Ok, let’s go,” one girl says to the other, and the feet pull away. No matter what I do I can’t pull them back into view. They have plenty left I have nothing, and they’ve just increased their pace by half.

I’m, left eating their dust, sweaty, stinky, and rotten. Nevertheless I surge across the finish line to some good natured cheering and encouragement of the earlier finishers, beating out all other Straight Dopers.

Those were some tough broads.

Congrats. I don’t like to drive that far.

You seem to be overlooking another, potentially powerful reason for others outpacing you beyond your simple lack of running talent. If you will recall, per your story, the girls approched and passed you from downwind. Having done that is there any runner in that race that would not have exerted a nigh superhuman effort to stay in front of you for the remainder of the race.

Next time bring a lighter and go rocket-man with the “odiferous propellant.”

Good job, Scylla. You beat me by a mile…well, 13.1, actually.

What you really need to do is to push Baby Scylla along in one of the dazed baby strollers while you’re running. Then, you can secretly know that the other people wouldn’t have passed you if it were not for the extra load you’re pushing along.
(Worst moment ever for me in a race was when a guy passed me, pushing one of those and then had to stop because the baby inside became less dazed and wanted to run too. The 2 year old got out and ran along side of dad pushing the stroller and they were still kicking my butt.)

ooohh…I know that “passed by” feeling.

I did a half-ironman earlier this summer…during the bike leg I was tucked in, chugging along, feeling good, when I look to my left and saw I was being passed by a gal with a huge butt and a skirt. I noticed her because as she rode by she was ringing her bell! “You’re doing great!” she yells as she dusts me. 30 seconds later, I ride by my brother on the side of the road who’s laughing hysterically after witnessing the episode.

Congrats on the run. And beer counts as carbo-loading!


“odiferous propellant” :snort, giggle: :smiley:

If I’d have known you were coming to Harrisburg to run, I’d have gone with you. I live a very short distance away. Hell, it would have been fun to beat you. :wink:

So last weekend I entered a 10K (6 mile) race and won my age division!

Okay, now for the small print. I’m not a fast runner, but this was a sparsely attended race. I often place in races if I can find events with hardly any women my age in them or if the weather is really bad and the normal people stay home. I justify this by saying that I also beat all the women who weren’t running. It was a benefit for the Diabetes center at Isleta Pueblo south of Albuquerque and the run was on dirt roads on the Indian reservation. Really beautiful course along a water-filled ditch under big cottonwood trees, with a view of the Sandia mountains in the distance.

So this woman comes up on me around mile one… we chatted a bit and I tried to discreetly spot her age on the bottom corner of her race bib, but couldn’t quite see it. I couldn’t tell if she was in my group and I should care about beating her. She passed me and pulled way ahead and there was no one else around me for most of the race. So I just enjoyed slogging along, but keeping her in my sights. She was about a quarter mile ahead of me for awhile. Gradually I pulled up and was just behind her, trying not to breathe hard because I didn’t want her to hear me closing in. The last half of the race was in deep sand, so it was really tough going. Just as I caught up, I sucked in a cloud of gnats and started choking and coughing, so she knew I was there then. I always speed up toward the end though, and with about a mile to go, I stepped on the gas and left her in the dust. I was dying, but didn’t want to look back to see if she was gaining on me. At the end, I watched em put up the times and was happy to see that I had won my division and the woman I had passed was my age, so came in second behind me. Haha! She was over eating oranges, so I went over to say hello and thanked her for keeping me going in the race. She says, “Oh, it was fun! This is the first race I’ve been in since I had open heart surgery in October.” Well shit, now I felt like a heel! Contemplated keeping this tidbit to myself…

This woman is a pilot, and went in for medical tests last year. She beat everyone in the stress test but they found this abnormality in the echo-cardiogram. They insisted on surgery right away, saying that even though she was in good physical condition otherwise, her heart was starting to enlarge, she’d eventually develop an arrythmia and then congestive heart failure, so they had to fix it right away - a prolapsed valve or something. They (I’m gritting my teeth here) saw through the sternum and open up the rib cage like a sunflower seed. Eeesh. She showed me the scar that ran from her clavicle down the middle of her chest. Her cardio-surgeon was visiting a few months ago to give a talk in Santa Fe, so she picked him up at the airport and acted as his New Mexico tourguide for the day. She said, “You know how guys will stare at your cleavage? Well, I was wearing a vee neck tee shirt and he kept leering at my chest. But he was just admiring his handiwork.”

They started giving out the awards and the first place prize in each age division is a hand painted pueblo pot. Damn, and I’m thinking I should give mine to her. Fortunately second place was also a painted pot, so I kept mine.

This is the part that gets me. I’m 6’2" and 170 pounds, and I like to think I’m in pretty good shape.

Back in February I decided to walk hom from work instead of taking the bus. It’s only about fifteen miles, so a good pace should get me home in three hours or less (I was walking, remember).

With about three miles to go I got impatient and started jogging, with the cold air knifing in and and out of my lungs. It was bracing, exhilerating, envigorating, yadda yadda yadda.

I was doing fine until the last hill. I got up the dang thing, turned the corner, and saw the warm, inviting lights of my house.

Then, I sort of listed to port, failed to correct, and fell on my stomach over the (small by that time) snow bank.

Then I puked for about ten minutes.

I’m in awe of you.

I wouldn’t think a big guy like you could win a marathon. You’re built for strength, not stamina, right? Plus, you admit you weren’t prepared, as if you just woke up one day and decided to run a marathon, so quit kicking yourself.

Oh, and you lose buoyancy when you break wind, you know.

You never fail to amuse, amaze and entertain. Congratulations on your run. You are definately a winner!

Exgineer, no matter how good a shape you’re in, you have to train to run. When I started running many years ago, I was in great shape: riding my bike, hiking, etc. But I couldn’t run worth a damn. I think I could barely do a mile. Anybody can run distance if they train, barring bad knees or other genetic defects. I found that other exercise/activities don’t transfer over to running, but running transfers over to everything else.

Woo hoo, JillGat!!!

I won my division (25-29) once in a 5K. Trust me when I say this was a tiny race. And although it wasn’t raining at the time, I think it had the night before, and that probably kept some people away.

I was running in, spying some gals ahead of me, thinking for sure that they were in my division. Turns out they must have been younger than me.

Probably the only time I could place first in my division with a time that was something like 28-29 minutes!

But let me tell you…I was stoked. I won a gift certificate to some bathing suit store (which I never ended up using), a t shirt, and a few other little things. But the icing on the cake was the certificate with my name and finishing time on it that said I had won my division.

It’s called cherry picking, and I’m not above it. :wink:

Dittos Jill. Exgineer - I used to run distance in high school. Our first run was four miles, and it was a tough way to start, but your body does get used to it, but it takes some time and dedication.
The problem with the first time you do it is that you don’t know how to pace yourself or how much the distance feels. Within a month, they had us running up to 12 miles a day. (Our usual workout was 6-8 miles.)

The distance running isn’t that difficult once your body gets used to it. I never was particularly good at it, but in three months my time improved from eight minutes a mile in a 4-mile run to 6:30 a mile for an eight-mile run.

Also, the first mile or two are usually the hardest - your body is just getting used to the run and it’s tough. At about the half-hour point, you reach the fabled “runner’s high” where the pain magically lifts and you feel you can go on forever…But you have to suffer a bit before you get to it.

If you start puking, that’s usually a sign of overpacing yourself. Take it easy the first few times. Your body isn’t used to this kind of abuse.

And, Jill - I generally agree that running transfers to most everything else. But not cycling. When I was running 10 miles a day in Scotland, I decided to cycle 40 miles to a nearby town. I discovered muscles I never knew existed.

And a hearty congratulations to you, Scylla!

[[I never was particularly good at it, but in three months my time improved from eight minutes a mile in a 4-mile run to 6:30 a mile for an eight-mile run. ]]

Jeez, what a slug.

Well, that was 12 years ago. Also consider most of my teammates were running at the 5-5:30 per mile level.
Also, I’m a guy, and comparable times for women at the same age and level were about one minute to one and a half minutes per mile slower. (Probably closer to one minute.)

The only running I did this weekend was with steel-toed shoes. My dragonboat warm-up person decided we needed to do a little cardio :eek:

I do not recommend this. You end up running very fast just to finish the damn run early.

I’ve got to do some real running practice though. I have a 5k this Sunday.

Just a thought… If there are any other half-marathoners around here - or those who would like to run their first one - we could meet at the Tucson race the first week of December. It would be a unique Dopefest in that I doubt we’d want to get really blasted drunk. But we could talk about split times and ileotibial band syndrome, etc. over pasta the night before. Woo hoo! Anyway, I do this race every year and it’s a nice point-to-point downhill course along the base of the Santa Catalina mountains, and a great time to be in Tucson.

Ooh. I like this idea. I’ve had some friends go to do the Tucson marathon.

I’d seriously think about making the trip. Hell, I’ve done all the half marathons in San Diego enough, it’s time to start branching out.

(…or I could even do the FULL marathon…or not.)