It’s Not Easy Racing Jimmie Johnson

Six a.m. and a cold, cold start to my personal Speedweeks.

Six a.m. and a cold, cold start to my personal Speedweeks.

I did my half-marathon yesterday in Daytona Beach. Thirteen-point-one miles in the (relative) cold, on a hilly course, with a ginormous bridge in the middle of it. A bridge on steroids. A bridge so big, I will hate it forever.

And I finished in the allotted time. And I got a finisher’s medal, and there was food at the end, which I could not eat, like pizza and doughnuts and fried chicken bits (The Husband loved the doughnuts, though. What’s not to love about Krispy Kremes?)

Today is not much of a celebration, though. Yesterday, adrenaline outshouted agony. Today, not so much. I am walking like Frankenstein on stilts, trying not to fall over when I have to sit down in the bathroom (I wish I’d listened to Mom and mastered the art of the stand-and-pee in those public restrooms), and trying to paste a neutral expression on my face while out in public, so I avoid those pitiful stares and well-meaning offers of help from strangers. Driving isn’t bad; it’s getting in and out of the car that makes me wish I had a pit crew.

Speaking of pit crews, six-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson did the same event, and finished third in his age group. I should add he raced the Sprint Unlimited the night before, and had to go out and qualify for the Daytona 500 the same day as the half. He finished the half in under 90 minutes, chatted with fans, signed autographs, posed for photos and was a very nice guy. Oh, and he used the half to raise money for charity. And while I admire his athletic skill, I hate the guy for being that good. At the finish, The Husband wanted me to walk a few steps up the track’s banking, so he could get a photo of me with the Daytona 500 logo in the background. I’d tell you what my response was, but it’s unprintable.

Jimmie, you don’t make it easy for the rest of us to look bad. But thanks for being one of the good guys, on and off the race track.

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