I'm not sure if all runners have neurotic pre-race thinking, or if it's just me. Either way, here's a bit of what went on in my head the night before and day of my most recent race. It starts with "the shirt"- the sporty shirt given to runners when we pick up our race materials.
THE NIGHT BEFORE:
I should wash the shirt. I'll wear the shirt. And it should be clean. It should smell like Tide, not new shirt. Are other people going to be wearing the shirt? Maybe I shouldn't wear the shirt. What if a whole bunch of us are wearing the shirt and then someone shows up to cheer for me but can't tell me apart from the other thousands of people wearing the shirt? (Will thousands be wearing the shirt?) Maybe it's not cool to wear the shirt. Yeah. Last race I saw other people not wearing the shirt. They looked like better runners. Faster. They had cooler shirts. Like I-Don't-Care-About-The-Free-Shirt lookin' tanks and stuff. Their own shirt. I should wear my own shirt. A tank top, I guess. What if it's too cold for a tank top? A pull-over? I can tie it around my waist if I get hot. I won't want to run with a big ol' pullover around my waist. What am I thinking? The shirt seems warmer than a tank top. What if the shirt's too hot? Shit. I need to wash the shirt. I wonder if other people are washing their shirts. I can't wear the shirt. Should I wear the shirt?
Ok. No shirt. I'll wear this tank top. Now, what about shorts? Too cold for shorts? Maybe I'll wear these. They come down to my knees. I'll be too hot, won't I? Probably. Ok. Shorts. Shit. What if I have an accident? Shorts will hide nothing. Nothing. What about these shorts with a skirt thing over it? I saw some nuns wearing something like this in the ocean once. Will I look like a running nun? Do nuns run? Do they have accidents while running? I don't want to be a running, pooping nun. How is it that I'm too old to wear a mini-skirt, but I'll run in this? Which is essentially like a mini-skirt with shorts under it. Screw it. I'll wear them.
Did I eat enough carbs? I had a shitload of pasta yesterday. Did I poop? I didn't poop. Oh no. What if I poop on the run? People do that, don't they? They go, like, right there? While running? Oh please, God. Don't let me be one of those people. Should I take an immodium before I leave? I'll get all bloated. Are other people thinking about this right now? No. Probably not. They're probably pooping. Why aren't I pooping? I'm never going to poop. Except while I'm running. I really, really don't want to do that. Maybe I need to eat more.
I should make a playlist on my i-Pod. Yes. A playlist just for this run. Eh....I listen to that song too much. Eh....I don't really like that band anymore. Eh.....this one's too slow. That's a good one. Should it be later in the playlist? Or first? Later? First? Maybe I don't even want to listen to it. Delete it. Wait...no...put it back on. How many songs do I have now? Two. Shit. I need almost 2-hours worth. Okay. Haunted When the Minutes Drag. Good first song. Then, right into some Radiohead. Yes. No. Slower. Andrew Bird into Radiohead. Wait. Maybe some old-school rap. No. Al Green? Shit. Wait. Hanson. Fuck. Why do I always sneak MmmBop into every playlist? It's just going to make me mad when I hear it. Okay. Just put some songs on there. Go. Do it. Hurry. You need to get up in like 6 hours.
THE MORNING OF:
What the hell time is it? 4:30? This is stupid! Getting up early is stupid. Running is stupid. Getting picked up at 5:30 is stupid. Wait...maybe I have time to poop. I don't need to poop. Sweet Lord! Please make the poop happen before getting picked up! Wait! Oh no. What if I have to go on the way down there? Do I ask my ride to pull over? Has anyone ever asked him to pull over so they could go poop before? Probably not. How embarrassing. Oh, man. This is going to suck. Wait. Maybe I won't have to go! But if I don't, I'll probably have to go while I'm running. Do people wear diapers while running? Probably. I don't have any diapers. I'm not going to wear diapers. I'm loosing it. Get up. Take a shower. Now. Eat a banana. Eat some cereal.
Money for parking.
Okay. Let's go.
AT THE RACE/LINING UP:
I need some of those compression socks. What are they for, anyway? That dude is wearing some. He looks fast. That chick has some on her arms. What the hell? Do I need those? Maybe I need those. My arms are going to rot off without those. Dang it. Poor arms.
Oh. Okay. We're kind of squishing in here. I see how it is. No problem. So sorry. That was your butt. Totally an accident. Believe me. Don't flatter yourself. How many people are wearing the shirt? I just made eyes with that dude. We both nodded. I think we were complimenting each other for not wearing the shirt.
My nose is nearly touching the neck hair sticking out of the back of the shirt in front of me. That's nasty. Where are the bathrooms? Do I have time to go? Do I have to go? I don't. Okay. Wait....do I? I might. No....wait. Dang it. I don't have time. Everybody's bouncing around like they're on speed. Or is it cocaine? I can't remember. But this isn't right. It's like we're all barefoot on hot coals. Bouncy-bouncy-bouncy-arm-shaky. What's that arm shaky thing about, anyway? Should I shake my arms? I need some of those compression things. What the hell are they for? I need some.
Oh...More squished. Here we go. The announcer is getting all psyched up and there's a lot of cheering going on. Okay. I get it. Let's get going here.
BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA! And we're off!
Oh, for chrissake. We're like old people shuffling onto an elevator, here.
Here we go!
This feels good.
Oh yeah. Here we go. Nice beat.
Dart around this guy. And this guy. And this lady. (Holy shit. Is she really wearing a tutu?) And this lady. And this guy. Oh. Gum. I need gum.
DURING THE RUN:
This is totally awesome. I forgot how great it is to run with a big crowd. Magical. We're alive. Like a big moving being.
If this were a 5K, I'd be done about now. Keep going! Feels great. Follow that lady. She seems to have a good pace.
Um. Wait a second. These hills are stupid steep. Okay. No problem. I can do it. Wait! I haven't even thought about pooping! I think this might be a poop free run! Thank you, Lord. Did someone just scream my name? Multiple someones? Wait. Is that? Sheri? And Erin? Holy shit. That's Stacee! Louise? Wave at them! Do it! Lift your arms, woman!
It's been over an hour. I can do a lot in an hour. Really. Watch most of a movie. Take a nap. Drive to Illinois and back. And what have I been doing? Running. Just running. This is ridiculous.
Oh, for crying out loud! We're all still running. What in God's name? We're idiots, that's what. "Run like a Kenyan!" that sign just said. You run like a Kenyan. You. And tie a rope to my waist and pull my butt to the finish line, will you? Who just yelled my name? Hey! It's Linda! That's awesome. Whoa. That just put some major pep in my step. Leap, lady. Big strides. You're gazellin' now.
Okay. I'm ready for this to be over. I ate that nasty-ass Gu awhile back, shorted out my i-Pod when I dumped water all over it at the last water station, lost my pacer, and I'm pretty sure my sports bra is working like a nail file across my underboobs right now.
Just....keep...going. Really. Don't be a sissy. The whole-marathoners aren't even 1/2 done yet. What do you have to complain about? Is that lady really passing out little Dixie cups of beer? I just licked my face. It's salty. Like a salt lick. A yummy salt lick. It's totally okay for me to lick my face for the last mile, isn't it? I'm going to.
Seriously......does someone.....keep moving.....the finish line....back?......100 more steps.....50.......you...
and across the finish line....I.....go.