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…Remind me again why I signed up for this?

This past Sunday I participated in the Toronto Sporting Life 10k in support of Camp Oochigeas, a summer camp outside Toronto for kids with cancer.

The race was a huge success- over 22,000 people registered to run, and altogether, almost $2 million was raised for Camp Ooch.

I was excited to be running for such a great cause, but also a little nervous. I mean, it was running after all… not drinking wine and not bidding on any of the silent auction items like I normally do at charity fundraisers. But I thought, what the hell? I’d put in a few miles on the moving vessel of death treadmill over the winter, and even if I had to walk,  I knew I could probably finish it.

Although, my performance might look less like this:

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and more like this:
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… or maybe just this:
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The morning of the race, I prepared the best way I knew how: by making an awesome playlist of “Call me Maybe” and the entire Mariah Carey Greatest Hits collection, and  wearing an obnoxious amount of pink:

Yeah. This’ll make me run faster.

As soon as I got to the race, I immediately set out in search of port-a-potties. I had gone before I left home, but because I have the bladder of a four year old child of my pre-race jitters, I needed to go again. I noticed, though, that the line was a good 100 people long. Probably because for over 20,000 runners, there were ONLY 12 PORT-A- POTTIES!! I knew if I waited, I’d never make the start, so I made my way back to my corral and tried to forget about the anvil sitting on my bladder.

I was amazed by the energy of the other participants. The race had drawn in people of all ages and fitness levels, and everywhere I looked, people were jumping around, laughing and cheering. I even saw some people doing a few “warm up laps”. Try-hards.

Then, the gun went off. The first km I didn’t even think about running because I was so busy trying not to get trampled to death. Sh*t felt like the running of the bulls, without the ambience.

I said a few prayers and let the sweet, sweet sound of Mariah guide me.

The course ran straight down Yonge Street in Toronto, which meant that (thank GOD) it was mostly downhill. The thing about closed courses though, is that there are no crosswalk lights. When you’re an urban runner like me, you get used to having those little 15-20 second reprieves from pounding your ass on the pavement, and so without them, I was really feeling the burn.

I tried people watching to distract myself, and found it funny how quickly some of the shiny-happy people I had witnessed at the starting line lost their veneer. Only about 2km in, I saw a number of people walking, some looking disgruntled and in pain, and even heard one agitated (and clearly undertrained) man screaming clearly over my Mariah: ” I just need some f*&*&ing WATER OK??”

After that, I tried to zone out and enjoy myself, but it was hard having to weave through so many people. I tried to channel my concert-going experience to jostle my way through the crowds, but the incentive just wasn’t the same. Instead of getting a better view and the rogue sweat droplets of an indie rock god  at the end, you just got to run more. Womp womp.

oh, and did I mention that this whole time I was dying of an intense and overwhelming NEED TO PEE?? They had promised port-a-potties en route, and at every mile marker, my eyes darted past the crowds and ironic homemade signs in search of that sweet, sweet blue goddess.  Finally, at km 7, I saw her- shrouded in a halo of blue light, in all her plastic, unsanitized glory: a port-a-potty.

I immediately made a dash for it, cutting off several runners in my path, and was just within reach, when a middle aged man wearing sweatpants cut me off directly and darted in, slamming the door behind him.

Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I could not believe the audacity of this sweatpants wearing gentleman. As I stood there, shifting my weight from leg to leg like an impatient child on a shopping trip, I thought of the many ways I could get back at him. You’ll pay for this, Sweatpants, I thought. Finally, SP finished his business, and the blue goddess and I had our much-anticipated moment.

There’s something to be said for the whole “objects in motion” thing. After my little potty break, I had a tough time getting back into it, and had to break up the last couple of km with a sort of run/walk system. I tried making it fun by picking out people in the crowd as benchmarks: “just run to the guy with the booty shorts” I told myself “..and then you can stop. And when you do, ask him why he’s wearing booty shorts“.

But finally, I crossed the finish line at 56:56.

I don’t have a pic of me at the finish, but here’s a pic of Kara Goucher at the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials instead, because obviously I looked just like this:

Just kidding. I totally looked like a dying, waterlogged tomato.. but we can all dream, right?

Question of the Day: Have you ever run a race?

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35 thoughts on “…Remind me again why I signed up for this?

  1. Too funny and hey, at least you finished! I ran my first half marathon last May. Prior to that the fartherst I ever ran was 400 meters to chase my child while he was darting to the street. Actually, I take that back, I had to run a mile in gym class once. Anyways, I finished and at mile 9 also had to use the fancy potty. I hear you as it so hard to get back into it. I did cross the finish line and the pictures of me were quite scary. Yet, that is more than my friend who started the race with me can say. She bailed .2 miles into it, called a cab and got herself a pedicure. I got a banana, a bottled water and shaky legs. Kudos to you! Thanks for sharing!

    • good for you! I ran a half once about 3 years ago and it was the most painful experience of my life… don’t think I can handle that long of a distance. That’s hilarious that your friend took a cab home though

  2. I have my first 10k coming up in just under a month. I’ve been training for it but so far have not yet run more than 4 miles at once. How hard can it be to just add 2 more miles on to that, right??

    That totally sucks that you had to pee while you’re running – ugh it is excruciating!!

    p.s. Can you imagine wearing underwear bottoms for a race like the Olympic runner in this post?? I have a feeling that might be even more uncomfortable than having to pee.

    • I was actually thinking that exact same thing about the underwear bottoms when I was looking for this photo- at the very least it would be a great incentive to stay in killer shape!!
      Good luck on your first 10k! If you can run 4 miles, you can definitely run 6.2… just make sure to get a couple runs in outside and try to incorporate some hills in there… that was my problem I think, I did almost all my runs on the t-mill

  3. Let’s just say that running and I are not friends. We’re more like bitter enemies who hate each other with the burning wrath of a million, fiery suns.

    Congratulations on completing the 10k with a great time. I would have definitely been like the guy in the second scene– slowly crawling towards my inevitable demise. ;)

    • Me and running have a love hate relationship as well… mostly hate.. but I just can’t seem to quit that b*tch for some reason.
      Thanks for the congrats!

  4. I sent a link to your blog to a coworker (who is also an attorney AND female AND who just ran a 5K). We decided you should write a column – I mean blog (did I just show my age???) – about annoying co-worker habits. We have plenty of material for you! (Our fav pet peeve right now is the girl who clips her nails at her desk twice a week!!!!!

    • omg I HATE when people clip their nails in public- grossest thing EVER. there is someone at my work who does it too and my skin crawls everytime I hear those clippers! Annoying work habits would make for a great post- you’ve got my wheels turning now…

  5. Haha, this sounds like it was written by me! I have a tiny bladder so I always have trouble when I’m out. I’ve run races before, I used to be on the track team and cross country team in school so between both of those I’ve done a lot of running. I haven’t done any in the last few years but I’d love to start running again and do a charity race sometime!

    • charity races are good because it forces you to get over your fear/unwillingness and just do it for a good cause!
      I wish I ran track in high school, but I really hated running back then

  6. Congrats on running and completing the race! Something to be proud of!

    The only racing I do happens at that awkward moment, as a party is winding down, and you and someone else both notice that all the wine bottles are empty, except for one, that has about one glass left, and it becomes a race to see who can stagger to the bottle quicker. :-)

    • hhaha this made me LOL
      I do a lot of that running too… you’d think I would have been better prepared for the race on account of that ;)

  7. You write so good. Hilarious! For me, the key phrase way “… the anvil sitting on my bladder.” Good stuff!

    I don’t run. Ever. When I was in the Army I could do plenty of situps and pushups, but not the two-mile run. It was always dicey for me and they allowed something like 18:55 to complete the challenge. Later I learned I had mild asthma and bronchitis and stuff. Did the Army care? Noooo. :)

    I did run in elementary school, though. It was one of those ubiquitous quarter mile tracks. I gave up around the half-way mark and walked the rest of the way. Adults were yelling at me to push it, but strangely I had already developed this “go stick it in your ear” attitude and ignored them. And thus the first of many “participant” ribbons was earned. You should see my trophy room! :)

  8. Have I ever run a race? No.

    After reading this I think your question at the end should have been “Have you ever had to pee really bad and not been able to?” In that case, every damn day. Don’t some runner poop themselves?

    • hahaha, you’re right that may have been more apt considering that’s all I could think about the entire time. And yes, yes they do. Thankfully, I was not one of them.

  9. Congrats on finishing your race! I’m an avid runner, but I’ve never technically participated in a race before. I’m training for a half marathon right now, and I am definitely nervous. Not about the distance, just about the whole race atmosphere.

    People like Sweatpants drive me crazy. If I was flushed and running, heart beating like crazy, and someone did that to me…I would’ve probably tripped him.

    • good luck on your half! I finished one once.. but to be honest, it almost finished ME. I was way undertrained and hating my life for the last 5-6 km. I will pray to the running gods that you will have a better fate!!

  10. I came here through Karen’s Blog, and I’m glad I did!
    Cheers that you ran for such a noble cause :)
    All the best and I’m looking forward to more AWESOME posts from you.

    Did I tell you that you have an amazing sense of humour? No I do, seriously.

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