When I realized that I wasn’t going to do the San Jose Half Marathon for time, the idea of running in a costume came to mind. Most races, I’m so focused or obsessed with a goal time that I rarely get to truly enjoy the race. Don’t get me wrong, I love race day and look forward to the distance, but to run an event free of care was a different experience.
With the passing of Michael Jackson earlier this year and his music being a huge part of my childhood I thought it would be an opportune time to pay homage to the King of Pop. I was able to piece together the costume fairly quickly and reasonably cost friendly. The only purchases I had to make were spray paint glitter for an old black shirt I had, a black hat, silver aviator glasses, $1 white glove and sequins to decorate it. Everything else I already had in my closet.
This was my third time running the San Jose half and in the early miles, no one really said much. There was a guy on the sidelines around mile 2 that said “Go Michael Jackson,” but it stayed reasonably calm until mile 5. After that I think people eased into their pace and relaxed from early anxiousness. After that it was “nice costume,” or “that’s awesome!,” — high fives and lots of “MICHAEL JACKSON!” yells. What was interesting was seeing the look of kids faces on the sidelines — I don’t know if they were confused that I looked so different or intrigued to see the King of Pop running. Some parents pointed m out to their kids with a “Look! It’s Michael Jackson.”
With this being part of the Rock N Roll series, there were stages for bands every mile and if the song was right, I would slow my pace and ‘bust a move’ (ha). Around mile 11 there was a volunteer dancing, so I stopped and danced with her. She was around her mid 40s, had white gloves on and was enjoying herself. It was fun. I did have one person ask to take a picture of me mid-run. I hope it came out OK since we were both still running.
Anytime someone shouted something at me or cheered me on, I would let out a “hee hee” or an “owwww” in true MJ fashion. Everyone in the general vicinity would laugh. That was a good feeling. How often do you get to laugh, smile and have a childhood memory mid-run during a race? Good times.
I finished at 2:17 (within 20 seconds of my time in last years race when I was recovering from IT issues, weird). I didn’t moonwalk across the finish line for a couple reasons:
1. I can’t moonwalk and even if I could, in running shoes on a road over a time chip bump didn’t seem like a good idea.
And 2. I didn’t want to stop turn around and go slow and inhibit a runner behind me from PR’ing or have them run into me. But I would have loved to if I could. I did put my head down and spread my arms (see photo) across the finish line.
Overall, I had a blast. It wasn’t that difficult to run since most of it was running clothes already. My head got warm from the hat and I’m used to running in glasses, so that wasn’t too bad. I did have glitter all over me from the shirt, but what’s a glitter to the King of Pop?