Yesterday was my first race of the season. It also was my first real run since last October. I’ve been focused so much more on boot camp and general fitness, and so much less on distance running. Which is enjoyable, because distance running is hard and crappy. I know some people really like slogging along for many, many miles at a time. But I hate it. I just really like eating.
So yesterday’s race: The Cherry Creek Sneak. Which is a big race in Colorado each year, most of which is a 5k. No big deal, right? Except that this year they ALSO offered a 10 mile race, sponsored by Volkswagen. I signed up for the 10 mile race, OBVIOUSLY, because I hate signing up for any race wherein I am not running the maximum available distance. That pretty much rules out half marathons, also, because the shame of doing a half while everyone else is running a full would legitimately cleave my soul. Like a horcrux.
If any of you work for Brooks or a running shoe store, you should definitely let me know. This run has informed me in no uncertain terms that my running shoes (Trance 9s) are worn out, and I need a new pair, but don’t have $140 because of Chris’s totally unreasonable budget.
Training runs might have been a nice idea, but I am not smart enough to make good decisions like that. Instead, I rely solely on my genetic propensity for stubbornness and strong-willedness. It’s gotten me through 4 marathons, and God only knows how many employment applications. Also, a few years of marriage. And childbirth.
When I was pregnant, the doctors repeatedly told me during ultrasounds that I was having a girl. I would just say “nope. It’s not a girl,” because the idea of having a human being in the house who would one day have a period was absolutely horrifying to me. And lo! I have a boy child! Chris insists I’m the only person in history who has every changed the sex of her baby solely through force of will.
Anyway, I just ignored the fact that the race was coming up until race day arrived. Then I got up, went to the race, and planned to wing it like a boss. Here is how that went for me:
Pre-race—We ask a group of 5K racers (whose race didn’t start for an hour) if we could cut in line for the bathroom because our race started in 6 minutes. The lady at the front was an enormous bag of whore biscuits and said “Um, no. I’ve been waiting for a half an hour.” I have to PEE lady. Not take a deuce. It’ll take all of 2 minutes, and then you can go. Gah. I wish I had my slut stamp to stick on her forehead.
Mile 1—Running with my very fast friend, Bri. She runs a 7 minute mile, and by the end of mile one I was yelling “GO! Just GO! Leave me here to die!” I eventually convinced her to speed off like a fucking speed ninja and let me slog along at my slow, disrespectable pace.
Mile 2—I have to go to the bathroom. Suck. Having had a baby, running with a full bladder isn’t on the top of my list of enjoyable experiences. I start suspiciously eyeballing the port-a-potties on the route. I hate port-a-potties, especially during races, because everyone seems to enter them, have explosive diarrhea on the ceiling, and then smear it around like fingerpaint. It’s disgusting. Also, I can’t pee if people are listening. I have to wait until public restrooms are empty.
Mile 2.9—I am considering that I am possibly the saddest, poorest person in the history of racing. My self-pity is the only thing keeping me going. That and a fear that if I hold still, I will pee my pants. Poooooooor me.
Mile 3—I am passed by a man with, no bullshit, NO LEGS. He goes flying past me. I reconsider my previous assessment of my own sad situation, determine that it still stands because his little hook things that are attached to his thighs look really springy and are probably an unfair advantage. Poor me.
Mile 5—OH! An empty port-a-potty NEXT TO A BAND. Nobody can hear me pee over the strains of “We are the Champions.” I go inside, and there is no visible smeared poo. I finally get to pee, and it’s awesome.
Mile 5.1—The heartburn hits. The worst heartburn of EVER. I should mention that I’d eaten spaghetti with a sauce of homemade spicy Italian sausage the night before. It was so delicious. And now? It’s burning a hole through my throat. I fear that it’s going to just explode out of my chest into a crowd of unsuspecting people.
Mile 6—I can’t drink any of the water, because introducing anything to the fiery pit of doom that is my digestive tract is only bound to spread things. Like a grease fire. I am dehydrated to the point that my wedding ring is cutting into the skin on my swollen fingers.
Mile 6.5—I am passed by what appears to be the same exact 70 year old woman that I used to get passed by in Texas. What the hell? Is this the Matrix? Am I in a Matrix?? Panic sets in. I start inspecting the air for slow moving bullets. Maybe if I locate one, I can hurl myself at it with enough force that it will kill me and put me out of my burning misery.
Mile 7—I stop, grudgingly, at a medical tent and ask if they have any Tums. They say no. And then my head explodes, because WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK?? How does a medical tent not have heartburn medicine on a race?
Mile 7-9—I’m walking as fast as I can…about a 12 minute mile. While I walk, I try as hard as I can not to vomit bile. I reach a dark mental place. This is the first race I’ve run by myself, so when my brain suggests “maybe you should quit?” there are just crickets instead of someone else saying “no! you can do this!” After a few moments of silence, my brain responds, “Yeah! Let’s QUIT!” The only reason I didn’t is that I worried about the physics of stopping. I was walking so fast that I had some decent momentum. Stopping my body might have not stopped the acid in my throat, and it would have come out of my nose and burned through my face. That would have been bad. So I kept going.
Mile 9.5—I spot my speedy-ass friend and yell “I AM SO FUCKING SICK RIGHT NOW!” Bystanders laugh at me. She tells me to suck it up and run. I do so.
Mile 10—I cross the finish line at a run, which is good, but immediately afterwards I feel the facial numbness that signifies impending vomiting. I know this feeling. It doesn’t bode well for me. I sit down behind the water-hander-outers, just for a second, just to give my body a second to suppress the fire. My friend’s husband goes across the street and gets me a bottle of pepto. All is right in the world again. And my time is just over 2 hours, which isn’t awful, I guess, considering my condition. I mean, it’s slow enough to get passed by a man with no legs, but still…
I am never eating spicy spaghetti the night before a race again. I am making another GI appointment to discuss why twice a day Nexium is still killing me with acid. I am never running without a 5-hour-energy bottle filled with Pepto. Ever again.
Oh, and next time I sign up for the first run in 7 months? I might start with a distance shorter than 10 miles. Because duh.