(note to self : it's been too long since you've watched that movie. This needs to be remedied!)
After the fateful day I learned I could actually run a half-mile, without stopping (!!), it became my new, favorite form of exercise. With 2 boys at home, and one of them being an infant, my time was limited.
I know they're way cute. Rest assured, I wasn't running away from them. That would come later.
My obsession was strong enough to propel me out the door, each day, though. I possessed zero electronic devices and had absolutely no idea how fast or far I was running.
After the husband's prompting, I finally started driving the distances, after I'd run them, to see how far I'd gone. Sometimes I'd check the clock before I left and after I returned, too. Other than that, I was totally clueless and blissfully happy.
Fast-Forward to a couple of years later. I'd kept up with running, but it had been more sporadic. I now had 3 boys, but they were all fairly self-sufficient, so I was able to get back into it more regularly.
life before Racing Madness began
While at a family dinner, my brother-in-law and his wife found out I'd been running at least 3 miles, each time I went out. They'd been committing to running a 5k, each month, usually as a part of these events. (clueless alert : I had no idea how long a 5k was). Kristi-Anne (we still haven't figured out what to call your spouse's, sibling's spouse) encouraged me to join her for the one she was doing in March 2010. Giddy and breathless at the thought, I jumped online and signed up for it.
(by the by, Thrifty Me was disgusted with Clueless Me when I discovered "paper registrations" and the no-fee policy associated with them.)
I spent the next few weeks immersing myself in calculated training, informed reading and healthy eating....HAHAHA! This is all about how I was Clueless, remember?
I. knew. nothing. of what to expect on race day. I'm pretty sure I ran a couple more times between registration and race morning. Still had no idea of my pace or distance, but I knew I hadn't died or vomited so I felt ready.
The night before, in a panic, I realized I had no clue where the race was held, what time to be there, where we should park, etc. (clueless alert : all that information was available to me, online)
I dragged the oldest out with me to go drive around where I thought the course might be. Feeling ultra-prepared, I drove back home, gorged myself on pizza, washed it down with a beer and passed out.
The next morning, I may or may not have eaten, but I did have my coffee. (instinct kicks in at opportune times for me) My nerves and excitement were in full force as I met my family member who is married to my husband's brother (see, that doesn't flow very well, does it?). We parked way too far away and hoofed it over to the race.
The husband and boys (who quickly became the greatest cheering section the racing world has ever known) planned to sleep a bit longer and meet up with us.
Luckily, once we arrived to the packet pickup, I had my husband's brother's wife's (nope. not working) racing expertise to guide my clueless self. She taught me all about bibs, safety pins, bag drops and port-a-potties. We picked a mid-pack starting spot and agreed to just run our own race and meet up at the end.
I turned on my ipod, complete with big, fuzzy headphones, right at the start. GreenDay's "Welcome to Paradise" propelled my already excited feet.
I was immediately head-over-heels in love with racing. It took 5 seconds to know this was an experience I wanted to repeat as many times as I possibly could for the rest of my life.
I remember seeing a water stop and having no clue if I was supposed to stop and take a drink, or not. Having never drank water during any of my other runs, I passed it up but felt like everyone was staring at me, knowing I was a newbie.
As I passed the clock at mile 2, I started to get a bit fatigued. The novelty had worn off and my poor choice of race attire was becoming an issue. (more on that, later) However, I'd set no goals other than to try to run the entire distance and to have fun. So I kept on doing both.
I saw my guys, on a corner, and tiredly waved. My husband was trying to rally the littler guys but there were way too many other and more exciting distractions. The oldest yelled at me to "go faster!"
The finish line crossing was stress-free. I glanced at the clock but had no idea what the numbers meant. I was surprised when my sweet and fast friend who is also somewhat related to me , via marriage (how about that one?) finished behind me. In her defense, she had pre-fueled the previous night, with a bottle of red wine and wasn't quite at the top of her game.
Hugs and waters were passed around between all of us and then it was time to take the antsy boys home.
(clueless alert: I had no idea they posted results OR gave out awards for these things)
Much later, I discovered I'd actually placed 2nd in my division. In my very first race. (In case the numbers obsessed people are wondering, it was an 8:09/mi avg pace.)
I now wish, with all my heart, my first marathon could be like this. (minus the zero training part)
Alas, I have read too much :
just a small sample, of course
Seen too much :
if you haven't seen this, you must (after you watch "Clueless, of course)
And exposed myself to way too many amazing running peers to have this truly be a "first race" experience.
However, as much as I'll always treasure the truly Clueless experience I had with my first race, I wouldn't have changed the way things unfolded, in the years that followed, for the world.
my first race. No, no..not the one who has a clue. I'm the one in sweatpants, cotton shirt 80's headphones and cross-trainers. Notice my smile, though! This is right around mile 3.