This weekend I went down to D.C. to run the National 1/2 marathon and visit my brother and his family. What a great weekend it was overall! The weather was great, the race was lots of fun, and hanging out with my niece and 2 nephews...priceless.
This was the longest race I have done in quite awhile. I really didn't go into it having any expectations. I had picked it as my "race of the month" and was just going out there to run it for fun. Over the last few months I have simply concentrated on getting back to running consistently, trying to run 3-4 times a week, with a longer run on the weekend. I have not been using any type of watch to time myself during these runs and have not done any type of speed work, so I really didn't have any idea of what to expect regarding pace. I decided to just go out there and run based on feel, and that is exactly what I did.
I was pleasantly surprised by my time. It wasn't a PR, but it was better then I had thought it would be for not really training for anything in particular. I am use to running 1/2 marathons during marathon training seasons, so I am usually in prime training mode at the time. One thing I am beginning to learn is that running based on feel tends to work better for me then focusing so much on what the clock says. Listening to my body and knowing when to speed up or slow down seems to work best.
Although the race went well, there was one BIG hitch! I had to deal with something I never had to before during a race- the need to go to the bathroom, badly!! I have heard so many stories, from so many people, so many times about bathroom dilemmas, and I have always been so grateful that I never had to deal with anything like that before...until now. I will not bore you (or embarrass myself) with all the details, but let's just say I shocked myself when I found myself actually contemplating whether or not I should actually go in my pants!!! What???!!!
I can't believe that idea even entered my mind... it wasn't like I was in contention for first place (or even 100th place for that matter) but for a few moments, as I realized I must be doing ~ 7 min/miles and was on target for a good race, I was actually thinking that it wouldn't be so bad if I just went in my pants instead of wasting the time to stop (not to mention putting myself out of GI misery). I even found myself figuring out the details in my head.. I had a change of clothes with me at bag check and there was a gym where I could shower not too far away from the finish line, etc, so maybe it wouldn't be so bad. What???!!!
Luckily, sanity finally found me, and I am happy to report that I kept myself clean and dry for the entire race. I decided on another strategy - limit my water intake and definitely no GU or powerade (that would have really thrown me over the edge) if I wanted to cross the finish line without an accident! Stupid, I know!! I really don't know where my mind was during this race. However, all these crazy thoughts got me thinking, and it led me to realize why I am so drawn to this sport.
Running/racing brings out the competitive spirit in one's self towards.... one's self. The only person I thought about beating as I contemplated sacrificing dry pants (and ever being able to show my face in the DC running community again) for 2 minutes off my time was... myself. How awesome a sport is that?!! You get to be competitive without being mad/jealous of anyone else. (Maybe that is why runners are always so nice to each other)
This sport is so addicting, and so much fun... especially when you have a good race day.
A day like Saturday makes you want to go out there and do it all over again, even if it means maybe pooping in your pants!!!!!