Tag Archives: running

Throwback Thursday: Who needs a laugh?

You guys. I’m running the Charlotte Half Marathon this Saturday, and all I can really say is that I’ve actually been training, so THANK HEAVENS this won’t be a repeat of THAT ONE YEAR. Do you remember? No? Oh good, this will be fun. Happy Throwback Thursday, friends. I present to you: my dumbest race ever.

Originally published on March 10, 2014.

I did something really stupid.If you’re looking for how to run your BEST RACE EVER - this is totally NOT IT. (But if you want to feel better about yourself - or just need a really good laugh - you want to read this right now.)

I ran a half marathon.

For which I had not trained.

I don’t mean I just didn’t get in any tempo runs or mile repeats or whatever. I mean my longest “long run” was 5 miles. Also, my average weekly mileage was 5 miles. So basically I’d been going for a 5-mile run once a week for the past 8 weeks. That means this half marathon was 13.1 miles of Pure Crazy, people.

Back when I registered, the plan had been to give myself something to train for and set myself up to feel like complete awesomeness on my 35th birthday.

As described above, that didn’t really pan out, but my competitive nature still kicked in and said, “Do it. You can gut this out. Get out there. This thing CAN’T HOLD YOU DOWN. YOU’RE ARUNNERDAMMIT.”

That kind of self-talk can only lead to good things, right?

Fast forward to race morning. My alarm goes off. I don’t remember why my alarm is going off so early on a Saturday morning. I hit snooze, drowsily hoping I’ll know what’s going on when it goes off again.

Alarm goes off again. I bolt upright in bed, remembering: RACE. This thought is not met with joy.

Stumbling into the bathroom, I find a note from my husband written in shaving cream across the bathroom mirror. “Good luck. Love u.” My first thought is, “Seriously, I JUST cleaned that damn mirror. I am not cleaning that up.” Then I decide it was thoughtful and I’m a jerk.

I go through an abbreviated version of my race-morning routine. The abbreviated version because, typically, hitting snooze is not included in the routine and I’m suddenly panicked because I don’t know how to get to where I need to park uptown and why did I hit snooze I NEED THOSE NINE MINUTES BAAAAACK.

I grab my race bib & a cup of coffee, and run out the door.

I get three minutes away from my house and realize I’m starving and about to run a half marathon on a glass of water and a cup of coffee.

So, naturally, I go through the McDonald’s Drive Thru. Yes, really.

I eat a Bacon, Egg, & Cheese. ON MY WAY TO THE RACE. Like a boss.

My ninja-like navigation skillz lead me successfully around the correct parking garage three times and then into a different parking garage and then straight to the (3/4-mile-long) line of women waiting to use the bathroom.

Next stop: the starting line. This race doesn’t have designated pacing groups, and the half-marathon start is combined with the 5K start. So determining similarly-paced runners can be tricky. Left to my own devices, I resort to a tried and true method: look at people and make judgements about their fitness level based on their appearance.

The man with the teeny shorts, spindly legs, and Garmin the size of his head?
Too fast for me.

The woman in the compression socks and double braids with ice in her veins?
Too fast for me.

I wisely choose to start near the big man wearing jeans.

The gun goes off. Eleven minutes later, I cross the starting line.

The next 5 miles are quite delightful. Of course they are. I run 5 miles every week.

Miles 6, 7, & 8 are less delightful, but I’m still moving, spurred along by the cheers and homemade signs of my fans the people who know the people around me.

SIDE NOTE: In the “Homemade Signs That Made Me Smile Through the Pain” Contest, an adorable pair of little boys win 1st place with:
HURRY MOMMY! DAD DIDN’T FEED US.

Second place goes to:
SMILE IF YOU’RE NOT WEARING UNDERWEAR
(Although I actually am wearing underwear, so I quickly turn my smile into a frown for the sake of accuracy.)

Third place belongs to:
RUN YOUR BUTT OFF!!! Oh wait, you don’t have one.

And honorable mention goes to:
GOOD JOB YOU’RE BEATING ALL THE PEOPLE BEHIND YOU

The reason the last one only receives an honorable mention is I can only smile for a moment before I’m paranoid that THERE IS NO ONE BEHIND ME. I am in last place, aren’t I?

But I reach mile 9, and something wonderful happens. My legs go numb.

I run the next mile or so in a zombie-like state, thinking, “Just get to 10 before you walk.”

I pass the 10-mile mark, the numbness fades, and the pain rolls in with a vengeance. My competitive side suddenly barks, “Suck it up! You DON’T WALK IN A RACE!”

My realistic side says, “Excuse me. You are not, in fact, racing. You had a Bacon, Egg, & Cheese for breakfast, and you are shuffling. You can walk faster than you are currently running.”

I walk.

Fellow competitors shuffle past (I wasn’t in last place!), and through miles 10-12, I intersperse 3-4 walk breaks amid my shuffle-running.

With one (POINT ONE) mile to go, I find new strength. (Due in small part to my strong desire for the whole thing to be over already, and in large part to the woman on the sidewalk holding the neon green sign declaring, “YOU CAN.”)

I make the last turn, and the final quarter mile lies before me. At that very moment, heaven opens and the angels start singing “Can’t Hold Us.” Okay, maybe it’s Macklemore on my playlist, but whatevs. It’s a gift from the good Lord, and I receive it.

I truck it across the finish line like the man in jeans is chasing me. (Kind of fast, but not really.) Before I even know what has happened, I’m holding a finisher’s medal and a bottle of PowerAde.

I wish I had a huge spiritual epiphany to share about this experience. But sometimes the only epiphany He gives me is, “It’s really stupid to not train for a half marathon and then run it anyway. But good job. Kind of.”

Well, amen to that. Here’s to learning lessons the hard way. And Advil. Lots and lots of Advil.

How I made a very strong man fall down on his face at the gym.

Today, I caused a very strong man to fall down on his face at the gym.

How did I manage this?

Let me tell you the story.

It’s noon on a beautiful day in Charlotte, NC. The sun is shining, it’s 73 glorious degrees outside, and I realize if we jump in the car RIGHT NOW, childcare at the Y will still be open long enough to squeeze in a quick run.

I throw on my visor and sunglasses (because you know I’m already dressed in my mom-uniform-workout-clothes), usher the kids in the car, and we’re off.

I check in the kids and enjoy a beautiful run outside on the track. Afterward, I still have a few minutes before I need to pick them up, so I go into the fitness room to knock out some sit-ups and pushups.

I pick a spot on the floor for said exercises and notice the man next to me has a very intriguing setup. He has two gigantic dumbbells set on end on either side of him and a mat laying in front. I watch in wonder, crunching away, as he places his palms on the flat tops of the dumbbells and raises himself to a seated hovering position. He proceeds to tuck his legs & slowly swing them to the back, partially extending them out behind him. All while hovering.

I lose count of my crunches at this point because, FREAKING AWESOME.

He lowers himself back to the floor and continues to repeat this cycle.

I finish crunching and move into pushup position.

Now, let me stop here to ask you something. Have you ever done a pushup while wearing a visor? Just wondering.

I start in a high plank and drop into a full pushup. The rim of my visor collides violently with the floor, my head snaps back, and I release an involuntary yelp.

Next to me, Strong Man laughs, mid-hover, loses all strength, and falls on his face.

It was all as dramatic and embarrassing as it sounds. For the record, I removed my visor, and still completed two sets of pushups. Strong Man went back to his hovering. And we both pretended the incident never happened.

The end.

I peed in a bush. [Dad! Blinders!]

I had the best idea this afternoon. I decided to run home from Molly’s soccer practice. (Don’t worry, Mom. Matt was there to drive the children home. I didn’t leave them at the park.)

Getting ready to go to Molly’s practice, I think, “My legs are so white. But it’s SUNNY & 80 DEGREES,” so I break out my running shorts for their 2014 inaugural performance. I also bring my water bottle so I can hydrate while watching Molly dominate on the soccer field. (In this case, “dominate” may be defined as, “run around a lot, get hot and sweaty, give lots of high fives.”)

Practice ends and I realize I’m well hydrated. (In this case, “well hydrated” may be defined as, “I have to pee.”) With no bathrooms nearby, I convince myself I don’t have to go that bad.

One mile in, I have to go that bad. (Shocker.)

I’m running through a neighborhood, seriously eyeing the dense foliage in the lawns I pass. Yes, I’m honestly debating if I could safely submerge myself in some landscaping to drop trow and pee.

Some of you may be thinking, “Why didn’t you just hold it?” To that, I say, “Real runners don’t hold it.” (In a race, you pee your pants. On a training run, you pee in the woods.) Also, I’ve had two children and things don’t lock up quite as tightly down there anymore if you know what I’m saying.

Thankfully, I remember there’s a trail coming up in another mile. I remember this trail because the last time I ventured there (also to pee) it was full of plenty of bushes and brush – you know, THE WOODS. So, naturally, good cover for a quick squat.

I reach the trail. It’s different than the last time. That’s because the last time was at the height of summer when everything was in full bloom. But today is only the beginning of spring and these bare twigs are not going to hide me.

But it’s too late. I’m committed to the trail. More importantly, I’m committed to the pee stop. I put my head down and run for cover. I just keep running – mind you, I have no idea where this trail leads, but I’m convinced I must continue until I reach an acceptable bladder-release site. You have to understand, I’m running on a trail that is only four twiggy branches removed from a row of back yards. Also, I’m wearing a tank top & shorts, and I realize my pasty white skin is reflecting the afternoon sun like a human glo-stick.

Let’s review: I am a human glo-stick, running on a trail, four sticks removed from innocent children frolicking in their back yards, and I have got to pee.

Finally, I reach a row of three large evergreen bushes. Relief! I nestle into the evergreen, turn my back(side), and finally empty my screaming bladder… Meanwhile, I look up to see another row of homes I hadn’t previously noticed (how had I not noticed!?!) in plain view.

You’ve got to be kidding me.

When I veered off course, I had no idea how far I’d have to go – I was just running to find cover, head down, feet moving farther down the path. And in the end, I was still just peeing in a bush in front of somebody’s yard.

Feel free to insert your spiritual epiphany here… running from God, self-protection, you name it.

For today, I’ll stick with this gem: getting caught peeing in a bush is still better than peeing your pants. I think.