This morning as I sat in our family’s second car wondering how to remove my soaked bra without committing indecent exposure, it occurred to me: I should know better at this stage of my running life.
I’ve been training for races on and off for 17 years. The races I’ve
trained for in the last year and a half I’ve been pretty serious about.
The programs I’ve followed for these races all include a long run almost
every weekend. Ahead of these long runs, there are certain behaviors
and preparations I know I can make that will make the long run
experience much more enjoyable. And on the day of the long run, I also
know there are certain safety precautions I should take to give me peace
of mind and prevent uncomfortable situations.
This weekend, I exhibited none of those behaviors, made none of those preparations and took none of those precautions.
So here, in the hopes that I can prevent this ridiculous situation from
happening to someone else, is a list of the things I did and didn’t do
that made today’s two-hour long run such a miserable experience:
1) I wasn’t careful about what I ate the night before. This one
isn’t necessarily a huge problem, if I don’t mind a stop or two in a
handy bathroom or Port-a-John during the run the next day. If I don’t
want to stop, because, oh, say, I might not be able to get to a bathroom
in time, I need to rein in the eating and stick to certain kinds of
2) I started late. It was for the best of reasons, to deal with the
kids’ breakfast and thus give my husband a little time to sleep in. But
when I start later than 7:30 or 8 a.m., I’m already hungry. This sets
up bonking, even on runs of only two hours.
3) I wore neither gloves nor hat. I didn’t need them during the
run—it was over 40 degrees. But afterward, when I was standing outside
NOT running, that felt a lot colder, especially when the sun went behind
the clouds and an innocent-seeming little breeze kicked in.
4) I brought neither a house-key nor a cell phone. I figured, hey,
it’s a two-hour run and I’m doing it around town and I will never be
very far from home. I knew my husband was taking the kids out. It didn’t
occur to me that he might actually…..lock the door. Which he did. Which
I discovered only when I returned home, desperately needing a bathroom,
some dry clothes and something to eat.
5) I brought nothing to eat or drink after the run. I had never
before tested how it feels when you don’t refuel during the magical
window of 30 minutes after. Now I have. It doesn’t feel good.
So here’s what I learned from today’s experience:
1) Eat like I’m running long the night before, even when running
long isn’t the longest long ever, even when friends are over, even when
Dan makes his homemade pesto.
2) Get out the damn door as soon as that sun wakes me up.
3) If the weather is at all cold, at least bring gloves and a hat even if I don’t wear them. You never know.
4) Bring the key all the time and the cell phone if I know I’ll be coming back to an empty house.
5) Keep healthy fuel in the glove box of both cars. A LaraBar in
that situation would have been great. (Lucky for me there was a bottle
of half-frozen water in the car.)
In case you’re curious, I did manage to get my wet shirt and bra off in
the car without scandalizing the neighbors. Not for nothing did I attend seven years of Catholic school, where getting the uniform off as
quickly and discreetly as you could after school was a high priority.
The bathroom problem wasn’t so easily or neatly solved. Suffice it to
say, my camping skills came in handy once again. (And yeah, we do know
some of our neighbors, but not well enough to ask to use their guest
toilet while holding my knees together.)
At least we hadn’t locked the car. It was nice and warm in there….for
the full hour and a half I waited for Dan and the kids to return.