First things first, we had pretty much the best weekend ever, in the eyes of our toddler, Jack. Here is just a partial list of all the fun things he got to do: Go to the swimming pool, see a parade, play with his water table, go to the park, play with sidewalk chalk, eat candy, ride in a golf cart, go for a stroller run and watch “The Letter Factory.”
Of course, there were some not so fun things, too: Sharing with his baby sister. Well, that pretty much sums that part up.
Philip and I debated running a local 10K on Monday. It’s in Lennox, SD, and it’s a pretty good little race. The shirts are usually fun, and it’s dirt cheap — $15 — to enter. Plus there is a huge parade for the Fourth of July. We still hadn’t decided on Monday morning. We were laying in bed, with the baby between us, where I put her at 5 a.m., hoping she would go back to sleep (she didn’t — seriously, this baby needs like half the sleep of a normal baby; it’s annoying).
Finally at 6:15, we were like, OK, let’s just GO. We got up, made coffee (priorities, baby) and then hustled to pack the diaper bag, snacks and the double jogger. And then we woke Jack up, got him dressed and plopped him, half-asleep, into the car. “Go for a run?” he asked, all sleepy. My guy.
We drove to Lennox, about 20 minutes away, and Philip registered us while I got the kids situated, which involves this conversation over and over:
Me: Jack, do not take your shoes off in the stroller.
Jack: Take them off?
Me: No. What did I say?
Jack: Don’t take them off.
Me: Right. Are you going to take them off?
Philip offered to run the 10K pushing the stroller. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I’m not really in racing shape. I hadn’t done a warm-up. It was hot. I ate Rice Krispie treats and old Shot Blocks on the drive there. So, you know, quality race preparation. (This is the part where I line up my excuses.)
I ran into a friend, Jill, there. She is very sweet, very fast runner. So, so gentle and kind. I saw her on Saturday, too, when I was out for my long run (15 miles). She’s just really friendly, and I love running into her. I chatted with her at the start (along with another local runner, Jeri, who I finally got to meet). And I decided, screw it, I’m going to hang on to Jill as long as I can. I asked her if she cared, and she said she didn’t mind. I’m sure she knew she would shake me off soon enough.
The firecracker went off, and there we went. Jill and I weaved a bit and then settled in. She asked me if I had my special song in my head to keep me going. I told her that she really doesn’t want to know what kind of horrible songs I sing when I run. They are always dreadful. One that always gets stuck is “Ease on down the rooooaad …” from “The Wiz.” Yeah, I don’t even listen to that. But I sing it ALL the time on a run. What the hell? That and a bit of Tom Waits, “Baby, I’m so far away from home, I miss my baby so … .” That’s not even uptempo. It’s just depressing.
We ran together and then another woman came up behind us, and ran with us. She was super nice, but I forget her name now. I wish I could remember. We three ran together, and I thought we were all in line for 2nd place. Of course, I knew I would be 4th, but it was fun to pretend I could run with the big girls for a while.
There were no mile markers on the course, which was odd. Last time I ran it, they had every 2K marked. This time? Nothing. I don’t run races with a Garmin, just a trusty watch, so I had no real idea what was up. I heard Jill’s Garmin click off the first mile and looked down, 7:01. OK … I can do this. Same thing for mile 2. Then mile 3 was around 7:05.
Then I totally and completely panicked. I started thinking things like, It’s hot out. I’m hot. What am I doing up here? I don’t belong up here. Maybe I will just stop and wait for Philip and the jogger to catch me, and cruise in with them. What the hell am I doing? So, I did what any moron would do: I came to a dead stop. Jill and the woman ran off, of course.
I stood there and did something I haven’t done in a race in a while: Peed my pants. While standing there. In the middle of the road. I got passed by a man and a woman, who kindly asked if I was OK. “Yeah, just pissing myself.” Nice.
Then I got myself together and sort of trotted it in. I honestly don’t know what happened. I wasn’t dying when I stopped. I mean, I was working, but I could still talk. I just totally freaked out. I’m not saying I could have stayed with them for the whole race. But maybe another half mile? Maybe not? But I wish I would have let my body fail me instead of my mind, you know?
I played leapfrog with a guy for the last few miles. He finally said, “You’ve passed me three times now,” and I had to be honest. “Yeah, I have to keep stopping to pee my pants.” That pretty much ended that conversation.
Still, it was a lot of fun to be up there with the lead women for a while. I finished in 48:11 (nice like 7-minute positive split, loser). I ran into Jill at the finish, and she said the other woman got away on the back stretch of gravel road. I asked Jill if she took 3rd, then, and she said, no, 2nd. So we must have been all running for first place for the first 3 miles. I’ve never done that. I’ve taken second in a few races, but have never been out in front for any of them — my second place was far, far behind first, you know? So that would mean, I think, that I did take 4th. (Aside: The results of my last race are up, and I was 5th overall, not 3rd.)
It was not a pretty race for me. I ran this same course 3 minutes faster 2 years ago. And I ran 4K of it sub 7:00s, so I know I have that in me. Maybe if I hadn’t started so fast. Maybe if I was in better shape. Maybe a million things. I don’t know if I could have done it, but the point is that I didn’t, you know? I totally and completely wimped out.
I was sharing this story with my friend Owen, who was like, hey, Lennox is a good place to blow up. And he’s right. Sometimes you have to just go for it and see what happens. Though, really, I feel kind of like an idiot for such a dumbass racing strategy. But it’s not like anyone cares.
I don’t have any races planned again until Twin Cities Marathon in October. That’s good enough for me. My pubic ramus is pretty sore from the 15 on Saturday and the race on Monday. I took Sunday off, and I think today I will just lift at home after the kids go to bed. Or not.