I don’t know about you, but St. Patrick’s Day weekends tend to prove most interesting. At one, the Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach, I set my PR on a windy but otherwise perfect day. I also learned that if you hold in your bladder long enough, the urine will somehow reabsorb. Or at least I think that’s what happened because I didn’t pass a single portable toilet in 26.2 miles and yet didn’t pass a single drop. Nor did I pass out.
Another holiday, I didn’t run but walked in the Nags Head St. Patrick’s Day Parade as a giant spongy newspaper, representing local scribes. Now, the Outer Banks in March is not the same as the Outer Banks in July. Back then at least, the locals tended to be tied to the fishing industry and some folks with bad attitudes and green tongues outside a busy bar got in my foam face, chanting, “Fish wrap! Fish wrap!” The drunken crowds ate it up.
Most memorable though is The New Bedford Half Marathon. This is a big race for runners in southern Massachusetts, and entrants are rewarded for getting through a challenging hill and often lousy weather along Rodney French Blvd. with steaming fish sandwiches and clam chowder.
But what distinguished this race from all the others I’d done were the spectators. Interspersed among thousands of supporters clapping and encouraging everyone with a “Way to go!” and “Lookin’ good!” was another kind of ‘spirited’ local. The one that came to the front porch, looked around and yelled to the moving masses, “What the f*ck’s going on here?!” and “Get offa my street, you damn morons.” One of my friends reported seeing a disheveled guy come out of a bar and say, “Oh shit. What day is it?”
So, let’s all tie one on this weekend. Running shoes, that is. Please do imbibe in your beverage of choice, be it bottled water, beer, Bailey’s Irish Crème or Bacardi and Coke for you rebels. And to all those in it for the long haul, working your tired body through the streets of New Bedford or Virginia Beach, Catalina or Hawaii, or wherever the spirit moves you: Cheers!