Of course I was nervous about my first team run with TNT. I was worried about getting there late, and not falling behind the others, and other silly things like what if I needed a bathroom out on the run?
Well I tried to get to bed early and I set my alarm for 5:30am. I walked away from the clock and turned around to check it again. But I stopped myself because I’m a little OCD about the potential of being OCD. Often, I purposely don’t check things just so I don’t get in the habit of checking things. Yeah, I’m a little weird like that.
So I wake up in the morning... on my own, without the alarm. Which should be my first warning. I don’t usually wake up before my alarm. So I laid there thinking I must be excited about the run and woke up early. Then I noticed the level of daylight outside the window.
“Honey, what time is it?” I asked my husband.
OMG! I had to leave at 6am! I had five minutes to get ready!
I understand most people have a morning “constitutional”. Mine entails multiple visits to the lady’s room. This morning I was lucky to have one visit. I was hoping my body would cooperate since I had almost an hour drive to the run location and I wouldn’t have time once I arrived to find a bathroom before we started running.
I made it on time (barely). And off we ran. The route was fun. We ran over a nice boardwalk, then up and over a railroad bridge and onto a bike path which was the majority of the route.
The group spread out pretty early in the run and I pretty much was running by myself. However, I wasn’t the very last in the group.
The bike path was nice to run on. There were a lot of trees and clumps of bushes along the route. It looked like an ideal place for transients to form a neighborhood.
I looked over and a man on a bike with four garbage bags overstuffed with cans and bottles hanging off it was riding next to me.
“There are a lot of joggers out today.” He said, “Are you guys training for something?”
“Yes,” I said. Then I explained the three events the runners were training for. I was happy to see I could still talk (at least in short clips) at this point in the run.
He smiled very kindly and said, “That’s great! Keep up the good work.” and off he pedaled.
I kept running and soon, my stomach was gurgling again. It had been gurgling on the drive up. But I was hoping it would settle down when my body had running to focus on instead. And it was quiet for part of the run. But now it was talking to me and not very nicely.
I was in the middle of the bike path with nothing at all around. On one side was a railroad track and on the other field. This path was heading out of town so there weren’t any restaurants or anything. Even if there were, it was too early for them to be open anyway. So I tried to ignore it and focus on the running.
Finally, I reached the end of the bike path that marked the half way point. I turned around and started running back up the trail I had just finished. My stomach was protesting louder than before. I was starting to worry because I was barely half way through the run and I knew there were no restrooms on the bike path. I tried to ignore the increasing discomfort. But it was hard.
I kept scanning the area on my left and right. But there were absolutely no signs of even a port-a-potty. Just clumps of trees and bushes. Hhhhmmmm.
First of all, I doubt I could have ducked behind a clump without someone seeing me. Though I was running alone, there were runners all over the trail and the coaches were running up and down checking on everyone. So no way I could be discreet. Besides, any clump of bushes could very well be the home of my new friend “Bike Man”. And well, to use someone’s living room as a toilet just isn’t neighborly.
I gritted my teeth and kept running.
I was happy to see the bridge again as I knew that meant there was less than a mile to go. At the bottom of the bridge I couldn’t remember which we way came from. I started running straight and didn’t recognize the area. I thought I must have took a wrong turn so I did a 180 and started running the opposite direction. I didn’t recognize anything in this direction either. I knew I was at least running in the direction of the park. So I kept running.
As I neared the finish line I heard runners coming up behind me. They passed me without effort and I recognized they were a group of runners I had been following the whole time. I must have made the wrong turn at the bottom of the bridge and accidentally took a short cut. I could only hope they didn’t recognize me. Otherwise, they may think I CHEATED by taking a short cut. Great. My first team run and I had the reputation of a cheater already!
But that was the least of my problems. My stomach was full on percolating now.
I was wondering if I should stop at the gas station that was a block away from the finish line. I figured there had to be a restroom at the park and I hate dirty gas station bathrooms. So I jogged right on by.
At the finish line I kept running. Straight to the large building on the far side of the park. It had to be the bathroom and I had no time to waste.
To my horror, when I reached the building, it appeared to be a rec building that is closed over the weekend. I couldn’t believe it! I walked all the way around just to be sure. On the far side I found...... the restroom!!!!!
Angels began singing or maybe it was just me. I have never been so happy to find a public restroom.
With a much lighter step I walked all the way back across the park and checked in with the mentor. You check in so they know you are on the course then you check back when you finish so they know you made it off the course. That way Pete the SAG guy doesn’t have to go look for you.
All in all, I thought it was a great first run. I made it on time, held my own on the course and though I needed a bathroom and there wasn’t one, I dealt. I just might make this marathon thing after all.