This was off the cool running website!! Very funny and so true for me.
We get through the first few weeks of aching, stiffness & muscles threatening to hold their breath until they turn blue if we insist on dragging them off the couch even once more. Unfit but inspired souls that we are, we perservere. We grunt, sweat & strain a little longer, a little further every week. At some point, we are seduced by the thought of doing a 5K race. I put every ounce of blame I can muster up to fling at the good folks here at the Newbie Cafe. Yup - with most speaking of races they've done in the past or races they're thinking of doing or are going to do convinced me I should aim for a race.
Let me make one thing perfectly clear. I know nothing about racing. Zip. Nada. Diddly. Squat. NOTHING.
Ain't no way I want to embarass myself by lining up at the start not having a clue what to expect. I'm a voracious reader & figured the running sites online were a good place to start. It didn't take much reading to figure out that the nothing I thought I knew was nothing compared to the massive amounts of nothing I really didn't know. It didn't help that I got side tracked reading about marathon starts. There, I read about corrals for starters & how to be sure you got into the right corral area for the time you planned to finish. Corrals? I associate those with feed lots. I had mental images of an official calling for those in the 4:30 corral to be herded into the slaughterhouse in ten minutes or something. In any case, I'm doing a small & local 5K - no need for corrals but if some helpful race official has hammered a pole into the ground with a sign on it saying 'LAST', that's where you'll find me.
Racing bibs... um... do runners drool? Or do they think we'll slop Gatorade & sports gels all over ourselves? Oh the NUMBERS! Okay, I think I can manage to pin that to my shirt without doing some weird body piercing. Hubby rolled his eyes & said IF I got to that point, I could probably pin the bib to the shirt, THEN put the **** on. Oh. Yeah,. okay - but stop being so logical already. Timing chips - do they come in salt & vinegar or BBQ? I wouldn't know what a timing chip looked like to save my life. I just know that when I cross the start line, it starts ticking & considering my lack of speed, they'd better give me one that can tick long enough to cover a normal marathon time. I'll have to swallow my pride & ask an experienced runner how to fasten them to my shoe. Yeah, I'm that clueless.
Race manners, etiquette & protocol. Yup - better bone up on that stuff. If you're going to walk, move to the side of the road so you don't get bowled over or throw a runner off their stride. That sent me into a fit of hysterical giggles. Everybody is going to be ahead of me - this will not be an issue. Mind you, a two year old having fits because Mommy ran off without him COULD run me over at the 2 mile mark but I' figure I'll hear them coming. Don't line up at the front if you're slow - that's a no brainer. I plan to cross the start line dead last - at least following everyone else, I can't get lost. And I'll have multiple targets to chase. Whether or not I catch any is a different story. One burning question I've yet to find an answer for is... will I offend sensibilities if I run sobbing: "As God is my witness, I'll never go racing again!"? I'd be grateful for advice on that one.
I sit in awe at discussions about race pace. How do you figure that out when you've never raced? I only have three paces - turtle, sloth & snail. If they give prizes for dead last, I may be a shoe-in. I'm so far away from race specific training, those discussions and me belong in different zip codes... or continents. The notion of tapering the week before my first race is mind boggling. Personal best? Trust me, if I can stagger across the finish line, it will most definitely be a personal best. Speaking of crossing the finish line, does it count if you drag yourself across on what's left of your finger nails? Or roll? Would it be frowned upon if I arranged for my chosen undertaker to meet me just past the finish line? I'm trying to help him with his time management, after all.
Bathrooms... I was reading John Bingham's book - Marathoning For Mortals & he said the first thing one should do upon arriving at the race site is get in line for the PortaPotty. I like the way this man thinks. I was relieved to hear that was okay.
Wardrobe... I hope these races aren't fashion parades because I'm going to end up looking like I was dressed by a reject from Project Runway. The cooler the weather, the more bizarre I'm going to look. If word hits CNN in early Novemeber of a bizarre rash of suicides by Canadian stylists - you'll know why. They'll have spotted me running in khaki green long johns covered by blue running shorts. I've yet to figure out what I'll wear as a shirt and what hat or ead band I'll scrounge up but the potentials, judging by the contents of my drawers & wardrobe are frightening.
I can only hope the running community is as kind & patient with newbies runners as I've heard they tend to be... because from the time I show up until the time the start gun goes, I won't have a clue what I'm doing. To be honest, I won't have a clue what I'm doing when I'm running but as long as I'm on my feet, I can fake that. The only thing I'm absolutely certain I don't have to worry about is having a short & graceful acceptance speech prepared for when I'm presented the winning medal.
That's a relief.