Nina’s Travel Rule #28: Weird is What you Make of It

Just a typical road race in the ATX…

So I’m running  a 12k in a couple weeks (yes, a 12k, wtf Oz, get your road race distances right!), which got me thinking about the very first race I ever ran. It was an accident, really, I hadn’t run in years and totally got suckered into it and, yes it’s true, I ran it dead drunk. But I finished! And then there was cake 🙂

So those of you who’ve met me will know something it’s important to note in a post about running: I fucking hate it. It’s probably my least favorite thing in a long list of shit I hate. In a contest between, say, George the Younger (my least favorite human being ever) and Running, I think I’d actually pick running as worse. Sadly, it’s the only thing that makes me skinny, so every couple years I go through a running phase. This was not one of those years.

So there I was, happily drinking rum in my house on a Saturday night (as one does when one is an impoverished grad student), with no thoughts of anything more energetic happening on Sunday than perhaps getting out of bed at some point. Enter: my neighbor, Ms. I’m 40-Something and Hot and Athletic and Blah Blah Whatever (I love you, Cissy!). So we all continue drinkin’ rum, it’s comin’ by the shot glass now, and at some point Ms. Skinny Lady says…

‘Ooo, I should really go, I’m doing the Capital City 10,000 tomorrow.’

Gumbies Starting the Race!

Now the Capital City 10 is a 10k held in Austin Texas every March, in which a vast number of slightly crazy Austinites concoct completely ridonculous costumes and then run around the city. Apparently it’s also the 5th largest 10k race in America! I’d totally laugh at this useless statistic, except that the race I’m about to run, the Perth City to Surf (which is kinda cool, you run from the city to the beach. I will be running into the beach.), is apparently the second largest road race in the Southern Hemisphere? Christ.

Now, the ATX is famed for many thing. Austin City Limits, keepin’ it weird, Longhorn football, what only used to be the worst mass shooting event in American history (ahh, the Tower), lounges serving canned beer you thought not even frat boys would drink (especially this one), the best queso this side of EVER (especially when drunk with these), and numerous additional delightful things. It is not, however, quite as cool as it thinks it is, as evidenced by the fact that any place that needs a fucking bumper sticker to remind people to stay weird has long ago lost that battle.

Other People Who Know Where the Best Spot in TX Really Is

Businessmen Who Think ‘Weird’ is a Cool Slogan

But to get back to my rum-sodden evening…

Me: ‘Oh, dang, I totally wanted to walk that, but I missed the sign-up!’

MSL: ‘Well you should come anyway! It’ll be fun, and no one will know you didn’t sign up!’

Now, I tried to explain to Ms. Health that I hadn’t run a step in like, years, and I didn’t have a pass, and I’d never actually run in a real like, race race, and it was already midnight and I was kinda drunk, etc… But the more I wavered, the more she finagled, the more rum we shot, the more I forgot… You see what’s coming.

Cut to 6am the next morning:  I arise.  I inhale what I recall to be a cold leftover bratwurst wrapped in a cold, tomato-flavored tortilla.

6:05am: I exit the house to find what I assume to be a ridiculously hung-over MSL. She hands me an orange juice in a juice-box and I almost kiss her.

6:10am: Me: ‘Thank fuck your friend’s driving us.  I think I’m still drunk.’ I do not think this. I know this.

MSL: ‘I don’t remember going to bed.’ And looks like she hadn’t…

Me: ‘Nope, me neither. I remember shooting rum until 3am, but not so much the bed part.’ I actually remember shooting a bloody shit-ton of rum, and can only  prove that I found the bed through the incontrovertible fact that I have just crawled out of it.

Blessed silence.

6:15am: the friend pulls up. She is, if this is physically possible, perkier than MSL on a good day. The car ride to the race consisted basically of BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAH from one of us and ‘…’ and ‘…’ from the others.  BLAH did not appear to notice this.

8am: I’m still drunk. So is MSL. The race has started. We’re almost to the starting line, and BLAH shows no signs of abating.

Me: ‘So like, uhh, we’ll just take it nice and easy now, right?’

BLAH: ‘Oh sure, yeah, I don’t run fast!’

Me: ‘The fuck I’m running this shit. You must know we’re drunk…’

BLAH: ‘Oh, don’t be so silly, you’ll be fine.’

Me: ‘No, you don’t understand.  I’m drunk.  Like, drunk. Like, I may have been shooting rum three hours ago for all I know.’

BLAH: ‘MSL?  You’re not really… drunk, are you??’

MSL: ‘Uhh…’

BLAH: ‘Oh, well, you’ll both be fine!’

The Start

8:10am: We run. I stare in amazement as my feet continue to move in front of me. Oh my fuck, is BLAH still babbling??  Yes indeedy. I black out for a half-mile…

8:30am: I have kept pace. I am competently running, drunk, surrounded by gumbies, camels, and what appears to be an entire papier-mache Empire State Building with human legs coming out of its base. But it seems this is all I’ve got. I tell the ladies to run on without me, and stop to make some phone calls while hiding from the real runners in a bush outside the capitol building. Yes, I brought my phone, whatevers. This stop was necessary mainly so that I could stop running for five minutes, but also so that I could bitch to all my friends  about how I was trapped, crap-faced drunk, in the road race from hell.

Circa 9am: Jesus Fucking H, who ever invented running anyway?  And hills?  Seriously, whoever invented hills should DIE. And fuck this ‘but it’s a dry heat’ bullshit while we’re at it, it’s gotta be fucking 90 degrees out here and it’s only 9 in the bloody fucking morning. And fuck Sundays too, and every fucking Austinite hippie-wanna-be who uses them to exercise when they should be sleeping off something disreputable in their warm, fuzzy beds. Repeat of similar, ad nauseum.

The Route. Ugh.

Approximately 9:30am: OMG I MADE IT AND I’M NOT DEAD. Huh, so that’s what running a road race is about!  And what’s this, there’s free cake?  Mmm, cake and beer, yay for Austin! Glug glug and a bit of gobble…

9:35am: Sated and starting to sober, I have now found the ladies.

Me: ‘Uhh, guys, I don’t feel so good…’

MSL: ‘Oh, you had the cake and beer huh?  It’s ok, we’re going to breakfast now, and I’m sure eggs and bacon and a bloody mary’ll fix you!’

Me: ‘Fucking tell BLAH to take me home or I will vomit all over you.’ This is literally the first time, before or since, that I have ever turned down either pig-product or bloody-mary.

And that is how I spent most of that Sunday passed out asleep on the floor of my shower. Hey, if ‘weird’ is the same as ‘abnormal’, I’d say I did my bit to keep that city that way. Of 10,000 runners that morning, or any other really, I’m willing to bet we were surely he only two to finish it dead drunk.

The Instigator. Instigatin’.

6 thoughts on “Nina’s Travel Rule #28: Weird is What you Make of It

  1. ha! true story! i remember when you called me from the middle of said road race to bitch that you were drunk and why did i do those things sober?


  2. Great story. We usually get drunk AFTER a race. Drinking alot is pretty much mandatory for my crew. At one half marathon we spent so much time getting hammered in a bar that we were the last runners in town and the race director had one of his crew give us a ride to our car, which no one remembered where we parked it.
    I could not imagine running a 10K hammered! My stomach hurt just reading your story, but I loved it! Can’t wait to read more.


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