Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Eugene Half Marathon Recap (or I can't shit before a race)

Part One (Eugene Half Marathon Recap)

I had a great race.
I beat my Vegas race time by 10 minutes. I beat my own record by a minute, achieving a new personal best of 2:19:31. I managed to pace myself nicely through the first half, although I still slowed up during the second portion of the race (remember one of my goals was to run slower during the first 10 km to preserve my energy for a faster ending).
The average time for this half marathon was 2:19:32.  I am above average. If only by a second.

I made a last minute decision to not carry any water or liquids with me, as I didn't want to be weighed down by the big fuel belt. Instead, I purchased a nice little SPIbelt at the Expo on Saturday and just carried my gels on it. My plan to utilize every water/gatorade station along the way, whether I felt I really needed it or not, seemed to work well, and properly hydrated me to the end.  I felt free without the water belt, and will definitely continue to race without it.

I enjoyed the run, was appreciative and grateful, and had fun. It was a beautiful sunny day. The route was fairly flat, but the few hills I encountered provided me with energy and motivation. There were lots of people throughout the course cheering and holding signs. The same people and the same signs kept popping up throughout the 2+ hours that I was out there. Most of them have the specific names of friends and family, helping to energize moms or dads, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons and friends. But some of them are more generic, like "There's tequila shots at the end." I can assure you that one didn't propel me faster (especially after my Palm Springs experience just a couple of short weeks ago...). One of them said "Quit reading this sign and get running." I found it kind of annoying and it made me want to punch her in the nose, not run faster. Another one just confused me: "Your donut looks tasty. Keep running." My donut? What the hell is she even talking about? If it was her goal to distract me from my running zone, she managed to do just that.

And then there was the sign that actually worked. The one that made me smile every time I saw it; that actually made me want to run harder. "I am so proud of you, complete stranger." I seriously teared up the first time I saw him. He was holding up that sign with such determination for every one of us, with the biggest smile on his face and I LOVED it.
I thank you, complete stranger! You moved me.  (and my bowels...see Part Two)
The last small portion of the race happens on the legendary Hayward Field and enters into the stadium with the band playing and the bleachers full of fans cheering you on. I was in a fairly delirious state at that point, muttering "Just Go. Just Go. Just Go. Just Go." repeatedly to myself in a trance-like state - providing the perfect cadence to my pace. I removed the earphone from my right ear in order to experience the crowd and my crossing the finish line. The fans were screaming!! I was high as a kite.

It wasn't until I crossed the finish line that I realized that the marathon winner had entered the stadium just behind me, crossing the line at 2:22. The crowd was cheering for him, yet I had the good fortune of sharing in his moment. And despite the fact that he had just run exactly two of what I had done, I was pretty damn proud of myself.

Part Two ( I can't shit before a race )

The race may or may not have been better if I had managed to shit before the run, rather than during.  I guess we'll never know.  I mean, having to wait in line for the porta-potty and even getting to sit down for a minute or two (not once but twice!)...that's gotta have bought me some time, I figure; rested me up; and spurred me on. I'm sure I ran a little bit faster after the break, and after lightening my load.

Fortunately for me, and others around me really, the porta-potties were situated in plentiful and appropriate places and it wasn't a really distracting or negative experience. Only a few times did the need to clench my butt cheeks and avoid farting truly affect my run. Only a few times was I more focused on where the next potty was that I forgot I was even running. (which is something I strive for, right?) Only a few times did the feeling of touching cloth make me wonder if I was, in fact, going to lose this battle and shit my pants right there while I ran.

In any case, I lost some time because I can't shit before a race. I woke up at 4:30 am in order to exactly replicate my usual morning routine. Yet, still no success. The need to go hit me about the 4 mile mark and I waited until 7 miles in before accepting that the need to unload wasn't going to go away. I had to stop again at mile 12, knowing that I couldn't finish the last 1.1 miles unless I did. So I stood in potty lineups twice and probably lost at least 8 minutes combined.  And I was surprisingly calm about the whole thing, even welcomed the break that it forced me to take. And, like I said, I bet I ran a faster race than I could have otherwise.

On race mornings, some people are business as usual, others' nerves and excitement make the job easy, and still others, like me, can't let the shit go if their lives depend on it. At least not until the horn has sounded and the body's motion starts to inspire a movement; while the clock is ticking away and lineups start to form at every pit stop.

I gotta figure this issue out. And I WON'T be getting up any earlier on race mornings to make it happen.


Hiromi said...

OMG, Jodi - you have me in tears, really. That being said, you are a true trooper. I am in awe of YOU. Poop or no poop, I love you!!!
CONGRATULATIONS on your run!!! Next race I hope to also congratulate you on pooping before the race ;)

Thelma said...

I hope that you become a super pooper trooper.

couldn't resist...

love you, your candor, your sexy armbands and the fact that you fart.

you know what my goal is? to one day cross the finish line of a marathon with you (and not downwind)!

mwah baby!

Renee said...

I'm so proud of you! Great job. :) It must be a tricky balance to make sure you stay hydrated and eat enough to have energy but not have to make 10 pit stops during a run. I read somewhere that some runners will take an Immodium before a race so they don't have to stop.

Kristy said...

Very proud of you! I also adore your writing style! Keep up the good work girl. I used to have the poopy problem on long runs and had to adjust my diet. Now its all good!

Have a wonderful day!!

J.Rube said...

Kristy!!! Thanks for reading and for your positivity! :o) Help me. What works for you, in terms of your diet, to prevent this poopy problem???

AppleTree 43 said...

can't ya just take a laxative the night before so you have a "good poop" when you get up?
My body gets out of whack when I travel or fly. So I always take one the 1st night or two...so I don't get "backed up" !! LOL
Can't believe I'm talking about pooping.

J.Rube said...

I would usually do the same, Peg, except that I need my fluids and fuel from overnight to get me through the first hour of the race. The laxative would suck all of that good hydrating and preparation that I've done right outta me. I don't know what's worse...starting the race empty of food and water, or starting it with a full bowel.
I need to explore this further.

AppleTree 43 said...

well, there's always a good old fashioned "enema" to flush everything out. You don't loose any fluids, etc with that.
Squirt it up your butt and let it MOVE. LOL, reminds me of my last two weeks of pregancy!!!!

J.Rube said...

Hmmmm....this is actually a very good idea, I think, Peg. although it is likely more information than even I would want to be sharing with you all (and that's a hard feat to reach!) It's the last thing I would want you all to be envisioning as I prepare for a race. lol

AppleTree 43 said...

I'm not a runner, but a good pooper!!


Dominique said...

You should try eating a buttload (haha) of popcorn the night before the race. I've only run shorter races, but popcorn has never failed me!

J.Rube said...

Thanks for the suggestion re: popcorn. Funny. Popcorn is my all-time favourite food and I eat it every day. When I'm away from home before a run, I've bought popcorn to snack on before bed. In both Vegas and Eugene, it still didn't seem to help.
I have a race on Sunday morning... wish me luck!!!!!

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