Yesterday, I set out to do the Shamrock race at the Oceanfront. It's the one race I try to do every year. It's fun, inspiring, and has the best atmosphere of any race I've ever done. It's not too cold and it's not too hot. Also, you get a great medal, and Irish stew and beer at the end. What's not to love about that?
I thought it might be kind of fun to record my thoughts. So here, with some editing, are the thoughts I had during the race.
(Due to circumstances beyond my control, I was almost late getting there. In addition, my husband had planned to run with me, and we had an emergency come up that he had to take care of, and so I did it mostly alone. In the beginning, my daughter was with me – her boyfriend lives down there, and she wanted to meet up with him. She rapidly ditched me about a quarter of a mile in.)
We are never going to get there. We are never, ever, EVER going to get there. They said there were 9000 people signed up for this race, and I think every single parking space in the city is totally full.
Where can I park? Where can I park? The meters are taken. The lots are full. The security guards are enforcing no parking in all the grocery stores. There's no parking signs all over the oceanfront area.
My city is nutso about Oceanfront parking. They are tow fanatics around here, and you have to be super careful that you don't park somewhere you shouldn't. I always feel like, for race days, businesses should just relax all of the parking rules for the short length of time it takes for the race to complete - and DEFINITELY not charge $20 to park.
Finally, we found a spot. I didn't see a no parking sign, and although it was half in someone's lawn, I hoped and prayed that I wouldn't get towed. The start time for the race was 8:00 AM, and it was 8:03. I was six blocks away from the end of the start line. We ran all the way and I got to one of the very last spaces right as the starting gun went off.
Of course, the starting gun going off means nothing when you are in the back of 9000 people.
Ten minutes later, we'd made it half way. If I could walk this pace the entire time, I'd never even break a sweat!
Part of the great thing about this race is that you see all kinds of cool things – there was even a man running on stilts. There are women dressed in tutus, men dressed in tutus, ribbons, hats, temporary tattoos, funny socks – you name it, and if it's green, it's probably here. There was a man dressed up like Ronald McDonald, which was more than slightly creepy. It was even more creepy that he was trying to high-five everyone as they went by. I stayed far away.
I hope I don't get towed.
I was walking at a pretty brisk pace, feeling good about myself, in time to look over and see paramedics working frantically on a man laying on the side of the road. They had removed his shirt, had paddles on his chest, and an Ambu bag on his face. Kind of put the whole thing into perspective.
I have a motto in my life. If there's a bathroom opportunity, take it. I've had six kids, I don't think I need to clarify that intention any further. Regardless, I saw the Porta potties at the one-mile mark, and thought to myself, "I should stop. Take advantage of the opportunity."
"Naah, I don't have to go, and I'm sure there will be more porta potties later."
Always, and I do mean always take advantage of the opportunity.
Mile two and mile three passed pretty uneventfully. I had my music, I was writing some posts in my head, planning what to pack for my trip this week, and starting to wonder if I would ever see a porta potty.
All of a sudden, I had to go. Of COURSE I DID.
I was still feeling good, and so I decided to do some intervals. This may or may not have been spurred on by the fact that it began to sprinkle. Run a little, walk a little, run a little, walk a little.
I hope I don't get towed. Interspersed with -
Where in the hell are the Porta potties? Over two miles may not seem like much - but when you've gotta go and you are jogging along, it really stretches forever.
Finally, close to mile four, I saw it – the public restroom. I took a detour off the run path. It was only then that I noticed that it was coned off and closed. Really? I didn't care, and did what can only be described as a hurdle jump over the cones, running smack into a homeless woman. "These bathrooms are closed", she said. I nodded, and replied "I don't care."
She looked at me, nodded, and said "Good for you."
Relief had been obtained. I got back on the path, noting that several people I had passed were now ahead of me, and begin again.
I was pretty proud of myself. I ran a lot, and my leg didn't hurt, although I really don't have the endurance that I used to have. But no pain in my leg is a huge goal, a really nice bonus, and one that I hope will continue.
The last mile was done in the pouring rain.
Crossing the finish line, I was completely soaked, and tried to take a picture of myself, but my hands were so shaky (um, never a good idea to run with no breakfast!) and it was raining so hard, that I couldn't get anything good. I grabbed my medal, declined the beer and the stew, and tried to leave the race area. For some reason, the city had the entire boardwalk cordoned off, and I had to walk 8 blocks in the wrong direction just to leave the race area.
Eight blocks down, and eight blocks back to where I started, and I realized I had no idea where I parked my car. I knew it was about six more blocks in the other direction, but was that four blocks over, two blocks up, or vice versa?
And It. Was. Still. Raining.
I searched everywhere for my car, and could feel myself getting a little bit frantic. At one point, I even entertained the idea of setting off the alarm, in order to find the car, but realized that if I hadn't already been towed, the aggravation from the alarm would probably send someone straight there.
Twenty-two long, long minutes later, and I was in my car. I don't think I've ever been so happy to see my car my life.
One hour, ten minutes run/walk time.
Moral of the story: never pass up a bathroom opportunity, and always remember where you parked your car.