Death’s Doorstep

Back to back like I’m Jordan ’96 ’97. Hello, it’s me, Kelton. I am proud to say I am here to fill you up with even more of my content!

After not posting for an embarrassingly long time, I have decided to overcompensate and post Back to Back.

“Kelton, what did you do last the weekend?”

Oh thanks for asking! Well I sure was busy. Along with my running club, I went to Zagreb, Croatia to run a half marathon. I would love to say this capped off a winter of diligent training and preparation. However, it did not. I would love to show you a montage of me running up the snow-covered mountains in my hoodie and doing push-ups dramatically on the sidewalk while blasting Eye of the Tiger. 

Unfortunately, my accurate winter montage would be me bundled in my giant coat shuffling after the bus and drinking giant mugs of tea softly playing Frank Sinatra’s Christmas music.

With this in mind, travel with me to Zagreb and put yourself in my tattered running shoes standing anxiously at the starting line under the big inflatable arches.

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Seeing as this was my second half marathon, I was no longer a novice and I was going to run by myself and without my team of pacers. (See blog from January to hear more about my lovely team). Jacked up on unearned teenage confidence and a breakfast of peanut butter I tried to stretch in a way that showed I had run a half marathon before.

I kicked my legs around a bit. I touched my toes and expertly put my foot on top of a bench. Feeling limber, I squeezed into the crowd gathered under the arches and popped in my headphones. The man raised his gun and fired into the air. In perfect sync, the sounds of Offset and Metro Boomin filled my headphones with their absolute slap of a song, Ric Flair Drip.

The race course consisted of two big snaking 10.5 km laps through the outskirts of Zagreb. This means that after running for what feels like a very long time, you have to do it all over again. Spirit crushing.

Around the time I started my second lap, I felt a great pain on the sole of my foot. It worsened as I continued. It got to the point where it felt as if I had decided to run with a thumbtack in my shoe, just for the added challenge. As the finish line came into view, my foot had all but left my body to find a new ankle to attach itself to. Fighting my deserting right foot, I hobbled across the finish line and grabbed my complimentary energy drink. I then collapsed onto a flight of stone stairs next to the DJ booth.

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The energy drink had the kind of top that looks like a baby bottle. But in order to get the sweet sweet electrolytes, you have to flip up a little plastic cap. My weak body was no match for the strong industrial plastic keeping my hydration captive. I felt like the first monkey to fail using tools. Like he accidentally hammered his finger with a giant bone before giving up on evolution altogether.

In my last remaining strength, I waved to the DJ blaring ‘80s hits. Unable to speak, I mimed open this drink for me please for I am oh so feeble. The sleepy college student who looked like his mom dragged him out of bed to DJ a half marathon, walked over to my body sprawled upon the steps and looked down at me with disdain. He took the bottle from my shaking hands and opened it with embarrassing ease, then smugly walked away. I would have like to have called out “I loosened it!” but alas I had neither the energy nor the right words.

I sucked down my energy and crawled into the lobby where food was being served. Once again, I had the classic Balkan Post-Run Beans!

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As I ate, I regrouped with my running club and we chatted about our race experiences. This mostly just consisted of “Wowee! That was long and I am tired!”

I found a man who had access to the race results on his phone and I pestered him to get my time.

I then went outside to wait in the cold for the award ceremony. As you can see in the screenshot, I finished second in the eighteen and under category. I was remarkably impressed with myself until I saw that only five other youths raced. So I guess the lesson I learned is half the battle is showing up. The other valuable lesson is wear high quality shoes for long distances.

Offset and Metro Boomin, if you’re reading this, I would like to dedicate my half marathon performance to you. Thank you for the kind words and motivation.

Love,

Kelton


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