That's got be one of the great things about being a runner, being a part of the runner community, etc.
We can be REALLY embarrassing.
And we can laugh at ourselves, and our fellow runner along the way... ;)
So laugh with me, fit fam.
Have you ever run so hard, so fast, that you lose control of bodily functions? That was this race. And it was hot that day! And that first meet of the season continues to ALWAYS be the hottest day of the year. (there's this other meet where it ALWAYS rains...but that's a different story for another blog...)
To say I was a little nervous for my FIRST high school cross country meet ever, would be an understatement. I learned that day that I do better being in one of the first heats rather than having to sit and wait...and wait...and wait.
But wait I did.
And nerves built up...and up...and up.
And so did the heat. oh my goodness.
And while all these other schools had nice tents or awnings, we had a blue tarp. The kind you use for camping or covering something in the truck. Hot sun meet hot plastic.
My heat finally comes and we cram into our box and no one explained....BAM!
Everyone starts stampeding out of the box and racing down the course and I just get swept away awkwardly because I did NOT understand the starting procedure of
line up in the box
give good luck pinches to your girls
get your race face on and get in your ready to run position
juuuust in time for the gun to go off.
Fit fam, this was a baptism by fire.
And I was NOT prepared.
We race on. over hill. over dale. through corn fields everywhere. And I'm just keeping pace with the stamped which was probably going 45-60secs over my normal race pace. Right, no big deal! It's hot (did I mention that already?), I'm sucking wind, coach is taking splits along the course and telling us we look great and that I'm setting a record pace for myself. I remember gasping saying (unintelligibly) that I just. can't. keep. up.
He says the obvious "then just slow down; it's ok!"
Runner Brain at the time: "oh wait... we CAN DO THAT???" and it happened, otherwise I wasn't going to make it. Then things became a little more manageable. still hot, still dying, but the normal race-dying, not actually heat stroke dying (don't worry, that comes later).
This particular hilly course would not be complete (obviously) without a couple hills and twisty turns right before the finish. Previously, while we were walking the course and talking strategy before the race, coach pointed where to accelerate during these final 3 hills and final 2 turns. Genius Runner Brain decides to forget that it's 3 hills instead of 2...
Final 1/2 mile of the 5k. Kick and then kick again, right? I make turn 1 and hill 1. Make turn 2 and hill 2....and start slowing down. Whoohoo, I'm done! (was the finish line there? NOOOO. Did Runner Brain know that?? NOOOO.) I here teammates yelling at me, see girls flying past me...and the adrenaline kicks in along with the dread. Oh my gosh, I'm not done. I look up, and realize my mistake of "I have 1 more hill...."
Runner Brain: "Let's go full sprinter mode. We know how to do that from track season. Plus it's 100m literally all down hill.
....and the faster you run, the faster you're done."
(can't argue with that logic...)
So I go full sprinter mode. Time slows down. The heat closes in. I can hear everyone cheering loudly along the chute. I start picking off the girls that passed me, because now I'm mad I let them get ahead, and I SOAR down this long hill, crossing the finish line in a hot mess of arms and legs falling over....and blacking out and pee my pants.
Yup. I kicked so hard my FIRST cross country race I peed my pants and blacked out from heat stroke.
Oh, it doesn't stop there, fit fam. Before I totally lose it in the chute, I'm actively looking for someone to hold me up because I know if I fall down right there, I going to get trampled by the herd of girls behind me. There's this big, strong football dude! He can....not. help. me. I guess. Apparently incoherent, sweaty, very smelly, and drooling cross country girls were NOT his type. Thankfully this angel of a cross country mom gives him the *best* stink eye I've ever witnessed and helps carry me out of the chute, and onto a grassy spot in the shade with a wet wash cloth.
(I still silently thank mystery cross mom from time to time.)
I don't remember getting back to our teams tarp. But I did. And I remember asking a couple teammates, "what's my time? How did I finish?"
I swear I must have asked 5 times, and it sounded perfectly coherent to me...but they gave me strange looks which told me I was completely unintelligible and was making myself look like a literal babbling idiot. Apparently heat stroke will do that to you. But one of them did give me her spare pair of shorts and underwear...a lesson apparently she also learned the hard way.
I got home that night and told my parents I quit. This was insanity. I was never doing that again.
That's when mom and dad said, "It was a race of baptism by fire. And you're not a quitter. You never have been. And now that you've gotten through the hardest part of, don't stop now. Just finish this season. Finish what you've started. Who knows, maybe you'll love it by the end..."
Have you had a fire by baptism run/race?? Or an amazingly embarrassing running experience?? I would love to hear about it! Tell me about it in the comments below!