How to run a race without rhyme or reason

I ran a marathon last weekend.

And to be clear, when I say “ran,” I’m using the term loosely. Once you drop below a certain speed during a marathon, you are no longer “running,” but staggering like a drunkard.

Also, technically I didn’t run a full marathon, because I was part of a two-man relay team. In fact, I didn’t even run half.

But that doesn’t really matter, because the T-shirt I was given says nothing about how far I ran, and if I hadn’t just told you, you’d never know the difference.

T-shirts aside, the race sucked. If anyone ever asks if you’d like to pay money to run 10.7 miles uphill through freezing rain, say yes. And then call me, and we will laugh together. There might even be pretzels, if you’re lucky.

And as much as I’d like to forget the whole thing, I have a duty to my readers. So here’s a minute-by-minute account of the worst Saturday morning ever.

6:31 a.m. – I haven’t woken up this early since I was five. At least I’m still potty-trained.

6:37 a.m. – I may have spoken too soon. For personal reasons I decide to wear a diaper during the race. You know, just in case.

7:28 a.m. – The race is about to start. My leg isn’t for two hours, so I board a bus and head to the exchange point.

7:32 a.m. – I wonder if I should have trained at least once before the race, but quickly dismiss my fears as pre-race jitters. Training is for the weak.

7:52 a.m. – We arrive and get off the bus. It begins to rain.

9:01 a.m. – It’s still raining. A runner in some fancy warm-up suit stares at my soaked blue jeans. “I have shorts on underneath,” I tell her. “These just absorb water better.”

9:29 a.m. – I am breathing heavily after jogging a mile to warm up; not a good sign.

9:36 a.m. – My partner is nowhere to be seen. I can spin this to my advantage. If he never shows up, I’ll never have to run.

9:43 a.m. – My partner stumbles across the line, looking like death incarnate. I toss my sopping wet jeans into his face and start running.

9:44 a.m. – The race supervisors have conveniently placed a water station 200 yards from the exchange zone. Even though it’s still raining heavily and I’ve only been running for 30 seconds, I take no chances and stop for several cups of water.

I don’t remember much of anything after that. The rest of the race is one giant haze of pain, large hills, packets of disgusting energy goo, and Ryan Seacrest (I told you I was delusional). Also, there was extreme pain.

Now for those of you who are reading this and going, “It couldn’t have hurt that bad,” you are quite wrong. It is roughly comparable to doing a triathlon without training.

How would I know this? Because several years ago I did just that (any pattern of stupidity emerging here is misleading).

I don’t want to go into the nitty-gritty details, but let’s just say a 72-year-old man swam 10 minutes faster than me.

So, if you’re sitting around one day and say to yourself, “I would like to do something stupid,” I suggest trying to climb the side of the Jerome Library with your bare hands.

But if the library has mysteriously crumbled to the ground, I urge you to sign up for a marathon ” and make sure you bring a spare diaper.

Jim ([email protected]) is never running again. Or definitely running again. He’s not sure.