8:00 a.m. – We arrive at Cherokee Park an hour before the race. Normally, this would be awesome as it would allow for plenty of pre-race stretching. Since my muscles are just now starting to transform back into a solid state, this is of no benefit to me. It’s also 40 degrees and raining which is not weather consistent with something called a “Snowman Shuffle,” unless you’re referring to the sh*tiest snowman ever made. Katy and I opt to stay in the car until closer to race time.
8:20 a.m. – Further proving that I have no idea how to talk to a woman, I quickly run out of reasonable topics to discuss and I begin telling Katy about the time I cried my eyes out while watching Philadelphia, and then stood up and accused everyone in the room of being monsters for not crying as well. Katy interrupts me to say that she’ll need to leave as soon as the race is done and that I should find another ride home. She also says something under her breath about me and her cat.
8:50 a.m. – We step out in the rain and begin our final race preparation. Since I will not have my daughter to talk to, I put in my ear buds and crank up my iPod, with every intent of losing myself in the music. This should also drown out the “Get the hell out of the way!” chants that inevitably break out when I run.
8:57 a.m. – Rain is cold. And wet, too. The positive is that I can now pee myself with impunity. The negative is that the likelihood of nipple chaffing has gone up exponentially. The latter is of particular concern as I have twice been named, “Supplest Nipples” by Areola Aficionado Quarterly.
9:00 a.m. – We’re off! As I cross the starting line, the Killers tune “All These Things That I’ve Done” rattles around my head. If running can be viewed as a metaphor for escaping from ones problems, then this song choice might seem poetic. Considering that courtesy of an unexpected and violent sneeze, I just accidentally cropdusted those running directly behind me, I consider this song merely appropriate.
9:04 a.m. – Just remembered the hard way that I ate asparagus for dinner last night. So much for peeing with impunity.
9:10 a.m. – Because my daughter is not with me, I find myself running at a much faster pace. Whereas before, we ran closer to a 12 minute mile, I’m a bit surprised to find that I’ve completed the first mile in under ten minutes. I begin mentally preparing myself for all the vomit that will be expelled from my body in the coming moments.