I did two new things during a race last weekend.
First, I PR’d a 5k. Translation for my non-runner readers: I got my best time ever for a 3.1 mile race (PR means personal record).
Getting a PR was intentional. It started with a Christmas “gift” from my sister: a plan to shave a minute off my time from last year’s race. For a short 5k, this is no small feat. I’ve trained for many races, but speedwork is not my forte. It’s funny to be gifted a personal goal, but I was up for the challenge and grateful someone else did the research and tailored the planning for me. Especially in the depths of winter, I am more apt to be a dedicated runner with a specific target. With no races on my calendar, look for me under couch blankets watching Broad City and drinking Two Roads.
After 11 weeks of strict treadmill training, this race was my re-introduction to late-winter elements. Although confident in my training, I was somewhat concerned about this unknown course in a hilly part of the Nutmeg State. Hills are not great news for PRs.
Before the race, my 4 year old told me to run fast like a cheetah! The mayor, the race organizer, and a few others spoke beforehand in what sounded like the ‘wah wah wah’ adult noises in Peanuts. With my sister by my side, I just wanted to GO. The gun shot, and I took off like a cheetah. I had no GPS watch on so was just trying to keep up with those around me. They seemed cheetah-like, but I couldn’t tell how fast I was running. The cold air permeated body, and running on pavement felt unfamiliar and difficult.
As I pushed my legs and lungs to their limit, I another new thing happened: I peed my pants. Not a full gush, but a milliliter lost every time my foot pounded the ground. I considered my options. Could I simultaneously do Kegels? Would there be a porta-potty on the course? Could I pop a squat on some poor soul’s yard? I unsuccessfully tried the first option. I couldn’t control all those muscles at once. The other options seemed unlikely, and even if there were a porta-potty, a trip to the bathroom would be an instant kiss goodbye to a PR.
So I ran on. People behind me probably thought “Oh, that poor lady pissed her pants.” But I’ll never see them again (one benefit of running in No-wheresville). I felt self-conscious and sorry for myself – not like the cheetah I intended to be – as I ran my heart out. This had happened once while training recently, but I was on the treadmill and could easily get off and head to the ladies’ room. And trust me, this never happened pre-kids.
Even with this distraction, I finished in record time.
After crossing the finish line, I took off my outer layer and tied it around my waist, joining my spectating family. They said, “Wow, you rocked it!” to which I replied, “Yep! And I pissed my pants!” They shrugged and we went to eat bacon cheeseburgers. My mom even put a blanket down so I didn’t contaminate the pleather diner booth (once a mother, always a mother).
I’m chocking race-day pants wetting to another side-effect of childbirth. I peed like a grown-up, in the bathroom, an hour before the race! Oh well, guess next time I’ll need to check out that porta-potty mere moments beforehand.