Bib #32: Beat the Blerch 13.1

One person’s fun run is another person’s race.

I signed up for the Beat the Blerch half marathon because someone in my 24,000 person online running group asked me if I was running it. Really, that’s all it took. I didn’t even know they’d be chocolate and bacon dipped marshmallows at the start. Or Doritos.

Bib 32-2 (September 16)

The Blerch incarnate, with his bad of marshmallows and Doritos at the ready.

The Blerch is the brainchild of comic artist and author, the Oatmeal. According to the Oatmeal, the Blerch is a “fat little cherub that follows me when I run.” It’s a creative manifestation of what runners know as “the wall,” that time late in a long race when your mind tricks you into thinking that you can’t go any further.

I don’t typically have a half marathon wall; not since I began running full marathons three years ago, and ultra-marathons the year after that. Thirteen miles is a fun run, a training run on any given day. But one person’s fun run is another person’s race.


Just a little old Sunday run.

I crossed the finish line 11 minutes faster than last week’s half marathon, but still many minutes slower than a person record. In other words, just a fun run. Seconds after a volunteer placed a half-marathon medal around my neck, another runner approached me from behind. I recognized him as the person who’d run beside and behind me for the better part of the last 10 miles of the course.

“Thank you for being my pace bunny,” he said, referring to someone in the race that sets the pace for those around them. “This was my first half marathon. And this is much faster than I’ve ever run before. Thank you.”

That guy, I thought, had one hell of a race.


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