This last run was – interesting.
First, I rolled out of bed at 6:25 am on Saturday morning, which was already too late.
My run was slated to start at 7:10, but I knew I’d have to hurry if I wanted to make it downtown on time. After getting ready, I was finally out the door by 6:40 am. This would have been enough time to get downtown, except that half of the goddamn roads were closed when I got there. I’m not even kidding. I learned later that they were setting up for the Gay Pride Parade, but since I did not know this prior to my run, I spent about fifteen minutes maneuvering my way downtown and cursing all the closed streets.
When I finally pulled in the parking lot, I hurriedly parked my truck in a space. There was a tree overlooking the curb, and I felt my car hit it. I got out of the car and looked at the bumper, which was resting cozily next to the tree. “I’ll worry about this later,” I said to myself, and ran off.*
I saw groups of runners running on the sidewalks. I ran after them, hoping to catch up with my pace group. “Excuse me,” I asked a woman. “What pace group is this?” “We’re the elevens,” she said cheerily. “We’re doing ten ones.” I had no idea what the hell that meant, so I ran a little farther up the sidewalk.
I talked with a couple of people, and determined that, if I hurried, I could still catch up with my group. For a good five minutes, I ran steadily. And I think I would have caught up with my group, had I not made a fatal flaw. There was a split later in the run – the marathon runners were doing five miles, and the half-marathoners were going to do three. I followed a group of people I thought were going north, back to the parking lot. I ran several minutes with them and noticed, with a sinking feeling, that not only were we running back south, but we were running up hills.
This is when I found out I had blindly followed the marathoners. But they were the 10:15 pace group. I had been so, so close.
I left the marathoners and ran blindly through the neighborhood by myself for a couple of minutes, before finally meeting up with some stragglers. They too were marathoners, but they told me which street to turn on to so I could catch up with the half marathoners. I thanked them and was able to catch up with a slower group.
I was far, far behind my pace group, and to add insult to injury, my stomach was starting to hurt. I had not been smart enough to pack Pepto Bismol either. I’ve learned that on long runs, Pepto Bismol is your best friend. It’s not a panacea, though. One of the worst runs I’ve ever had was when I was training for my marathon two years ago, on a nine-miler with my group. Like an idiot, I ignored the fact that I have a historically sensitive stomach when I run, and had decided to eat a “Voodoo” chile hamburger the night before the run. The next day, during our training run, I was in agony after about two miles. I took my Pepto Bismol, but my body did an equivalent of throwing it back at me and then flipping me the middle finger. Even worse, there was not a bathroom anywhere in the vicinity of the trail, unless I wanted to squat behind a bush or something, which, for me, was not an option. So I walked in pain, falling well behind my group, until my stomach stopped hurting.
Now, I thought about this bad training run and felt a healthy dose of perspective. Having an upset tummy on the last mile of a short run was far preferable than having an enormous stomachache at the beginning of a long one.
When I finally finished my run, I wasn’t able to find my group anywhere. I was tired, sweaty, and a little bummed. But, lesson learned – I’m definitely waking up early for the next training run.
*There is now a small indentation in my front bumper. It’s been several years since I’ve done anything really dumb with my car, so there’s that.