Sheri’s Rants #8

Posted on February 10, 2009 by


This last weekend I joined my buddy Gayle in Sedona, AZ for a race she was running called The Sedona Marathon.  Gayle is preparing to run the Boston Marathon and so was entered in the half-marathon (as a training run).  I was there to hang out with her, provide support, swagger around acting like a ‘coach’ and shove food down her throat.

Sheri and Gayle

Sheri and Gayle

I picked Gayle up at the Phoenix airport Friday and we had a 2 hour drive to Sedona.  We caught up on personal news and giggled a bunch.  Arriving in Sedona, we gawked at the scenery and guffawed at the scene in Sedona – more ‘psychic’ signs than masseurs in Santa Fe.  Somewhere between the fun of catching up and dinner, I agreed to run the 5k and had registered for the race.

Except I haven’t run in – oh, say 4 months.  And I didn’t bring running gear.  And it was supposed to rain.  But, hey, it’s only a 5k, I’m in good shape – it’s like doing a long cardio, right?

We researched and found a local restaurant open at 5:30 for breakfast (time to eat, digest, guzzle coffee/water, and hit the starting line of the race at 8).  We had spinach omelets (no cheese) and potatoes.  Cruising along, getting hyped up.  I’d decided to run in my Vibram Five-Fingers (barefoot shoes –  just a vibram protection for the foot) – I ALWAYS have my gym gear.

Arriving at the race start, we totally lucked out and scored a parking spot right at the start/finish line.  Sweet!  So we sat and prepped ourselves in warm comfort.  Minutes before the race started, we both suddenly had to … ah… ‘go’… our guts were boiling and churning.  After a long line for the porta-potties, we both emerged looking drained, pale and nervous.  All was not, it turned out, ‘well’ with our breakfasts.  No time to contemplate – on to the start of the race.

00179-32-0775-thumb1Suffice to say I ran the race with one eyeball peeled for a porta-potty and another for a bush to puke in.  The race course was all pavement and hills, my running muscles were not trained, the elevation was not even a factor I had considered and I felt like a recovering smoker.  My gym pants kept falling down.   Barefoot on pavement was 00179-33-0580-thumb-1interesting.   I took note of all that was working against me and had to laugh.  I decisively turned up my iPod, slowed down, turned my attention to enjoying the scenery and keeping my physical fluids under control.  Yes, it was fun.  By the end of the course, my head was finally tuned into a sweet spot where I knew I could keep running.  Instead, I bee-lined for a porta-potty.

sq_00179-14-0282-thumbGayle finished the half and placed second in her age group.  She usually places first and had to work that out in her head.  I was incredulous that I had run only 12 minute miles, and decided to feel victorious over NOT puking (or worse) on the race course.  The race was followed by 24 hours of intestinal ‘discomfort’ that we surfed together, laughing all the way.00179-14-0881

What did I learn?  Well, quit hanging out with Gayle unless I bring running gear.  Don’t eat untested restaurant food before a race.  Always keep SOME level of running conditioning going on if I am EVER going to even think about running again (sitting on my ass writing all the time is a real disadvantage to my conditioning level).  Don’t run unconditioned on pavement in Five-Fingers.  Wear appropriate gear.  And finally, even when I break all of my own rules, even when I am involved in serious discomfort, I am STILL able to have a great time!  The ability to pivot my thinking and my attitude is my very favorite muscle, highly conditioned, and I am grateful to be able to flex it at will.

Posted in: Sheri's Rants