Monday, February 1, 2010

The good, the bad, and the amazing: My Miami ING half-marathon experience

I didn't beat my time from my previous half-marathon. But on the bright side, I did avoid pooping in my pants. Here's my story.

The Good

There was lots of good. Some of my favorite moments:

  • What it felt like to see my friends Lucy, Ali, and Meri and my coworker Carolyn right before the race started, and to begin the race running next to my running coach, Ana, and my best friend from college, Ava, who flew in from NYC to run her first half-marathon with me.
  • The thrill of passing the first few miles without feeling like I'd run at all, making terrific time.
  • Seeing my husband and my two kids one mile before the finishline. Rebecca, age 4, was calling out, "Go runners, go!" and Jacob brags he managed to score 40 high-fives. I had to stop and hug and kiss them, I was so glad to see their faces.
  • Being greeted by my wonderful friends, Shari, Julie, Samara and Karen with a sign that read "RUN JORIE RUN" and a bouquet of flowers. What amazing friends I have!
  • Knowing that I raised almost $3000 to fight blood cancer--how awesome is that?
  • Knowing that I finished the race at all, given the "Bad" I'm about to describe.
  • Knowing that I very thinly avoided a disgusting display of public poopery. (Again, the rest of this story lies under the "bad" part.)
The Bad:

OK, here is where the story gets messy. So if you are put off by "TMI," just skip down to the "amazing" and we can just say I had a bad case of what's cutely described as "Runner's Trot," but isn't cute at all and really doesn't involve trotting.
  • I began the race with the goal of beating my last half-marathon time of 2:02. Sometime between mile 4-5, suddenly seized by painful cramps, I revised that goal to simply "finishing" the half-marathon. And by mile 6, when those painful cramps had become more urgent and no unlocked Port-a-Potty was in sight, my goal simply became to not poop in my cute little running skirt. Seriously.
  • The mood of the race started out so wonderful. I waved and smiled at the people standing on the sidelines. "You go, girl!" some nice Team in Training lady shouted at me. "Whoo-hoo!" I called back. But forty minutes into the race, as the cramps took over, I realized I needed to go, and go NOW. "Rock on!" shouted another nice sideliner. "BATHROOM???" I cried back. Mis-hearing me, she said, "Yeah, WHOO-HOO!" And then looked puzzled when I made an anguished face at her.
  • Port-a Potties are disgusting. That was my first impression when I finally found one at the 7 mile marker, but after waiting five minutes to use it, I had to admit I was grateful they existed. My next experience with a Port-a-Potty made me realize the first one I'd been in was actually BEAUTIFUL compared to the second one, which had no toilet paper in it. Just a banana peel. I want to bathe in Purell just remembering this experience.
  • Severe diarrhea combined with sweating for over two hours equals incredible dehydration. At one point I really just wanted someone to catapult me over the finishline, I felt so weak.
  • During my frantic attempts to find a bathroom, I lost pace with both Ana and Ava, who I'd hoped to run to the end with.
The Amazing

As awful as being sick was, as down as I might have been about not breaking 2:00, which had kind of been my goal, there is one thing really special about my time: it was the exact same time Ava came in on. I didn't even realize that we crossed the finishline within seconds of each other, but once we were through, she tapped me on the shoulder, and sure enough, she'd been right with me all along. Here's a picture of us right before we crossed.

Ava and I lived together for eight years--from when we were college freshman until I moved in with my now-husband. She was my maid of honor at my wedding, and even though I don't see her very often now that we live so far away from each other, whenever we do meet up it's like we're still two twentysomethings in our pajamas, staying up late and watching "Love Connection" together on basic cable.

She's the one in black, I'm the one in purple.

Anyway, I did it! I'm done! And now Ava is asking me when we're going to run our first marathon together. Hmmmm...I would guess the answer might be, "When they find a cure for Runner's Trot." Which I'm sure does exist. It might entail a diet of Immodium and bananas. But if it does exist, I'm all over it!


  1. OMGLOL! Congratulations!!! I'm sorry it was disgusting and painful, but you KNOW you weren't the only one going through that. My dad was a big runner back in the day (when we lived in Miami, in fact), and I remember how the *winners* of those races often had streaky legs and shoes they'd have to toss in the nearest dumpster. I guess they didn't want to lose time waiting for a PortaJohn. I remember how a zillion people would take photos of these poor runners crossing the line, but the photos in the paper the next day were always so carefully cropped...

    Anyway, it brings a little tear to my eye thinking of you and Ava in this triumphant reunion. I'm sorry I missed it. I can't wait to hear about the marathon!

  2. You go girl !
    What an accomplishment! I am so proud !
    Thankfully the leg is better. I hope I see you next time.
    Great shot of you and Ava.
    Love your proud mama

  3. cool cool and super cool. well, except the runner's trot thing. Blocking that out now....
    Yeah! I super impressed at your time! with all you had going on you still ran like the wind.

  4. Kate, next time Ava and I will have to find a race close to you. It would be very fun to have a reunion! I am very glad I avoided "streaky legs." YUCK! I didn't notice that but I wasn't fast enough to be among people who would care so much about their time that they would go through that embarrassment!