On Friday, I finished my last long run of a dozen miles of my training cycle for the Revel Mt. Lemmon half. It was good enough.
The first three miles were great, mind. Fall has definitely arrived here. The leaves are stunning and the temps are chilly. Friday morning was also damp and windy. I wasn’t sure if it was actively raining or just super foggy. A little of both, I imagine.
I was super foggy, too. I’ve spent the last few weeks waking up at 2 a.m. for reasons unknown. Most of the time, I can drift off again. Some of the time, I just lie there with my eyes closed and fret about things I can do absolutely nothing about at 2 a.m. Thursday night was one of those.
Still, the long run waits for no runner. I needed to hit the road for the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival, which is one of the better weekends in the world if you are a knitter. So I hauled myself out of bed and ran.
After those first three miles, a significant volume of the fluids in my body decided to leak out. My nose would not stop running and my eyes would not stop watering. My bladder, which is usually well behaved, decided to get in on the act. Finding a bathroom just seemed like too much work. At that point, given how damp I already was from the snot and tears and fog/drizzle, I just let it go.
And go again.
When I got home, I squished up the stairs to my bedroom. I stripped everything off, left my nasty clothes in a heap on my rain jacket on the bed, and lumbered into the shower. I'd take my clothes to the washer when I had more energy.
The poetic part of my brain wondered if my body was simply remembering what happened this time last year. As part of the Another Mother Runner Cape Cod retreat, I ran the most epic race of my life: 13.1 miles in a nor’easter. While the last four miles of that run tested my limits — I was so cold and so wet and so over it — it is a race convinced me I was a badass.
As I’m writing this column, I’m also running a load of post-Rhinebeck laundry so that I can pack for this year’s retreat out in Falmouth. It doesn’t look like we’ll be faced with lashing rain and gale-force winds during the race this year. That’s one reason why I decided not to run it again. Once you’ve run a course under epic conditions, anything less seems like cheating.
Also: I’m saving my legs for Tucson. Running Cape Cod would have thrown off my taper. I respect the taper because it gives me an excuse to not push-and-push-and-push all the time. Once that last long run is done, I love to lean into the glide path to race day.
Speaking of …
That heap of pee-soaked running clothes stayed in a heap on my bed. While I was in the shower, my brain helpfully connected two observations for me.
Observation #1: Our big dog immediately jumped onto the bed as I left the room for the shower. He spends most of his morning asleep there so this wasn’t unusual. I thought nothing of it at the time.
Observation #2: Both dogs have a routine where, if one pees on familiar turf like our backyard, the other must pee on it, too. Which prompts the first to pee on it again, and so on. They’ll keep at this until distracted by whatever other thoughts wander through their heads.
Between shampoo and conditioner, the thought clicked. My bed is familiar turf and currently smells like pee, which might lead one dog to begin the potentially endless pee cycle. If this started, I was about to do a lot more laundry than anticipated. And, because one of the dogs can hold gallons of urine, was probably about to buy a new mattress.
Never have I ever finished up a shower so quickly. I whipped a towel around myself and dashed into the bedroom. I’d already formulated a plan to deal with the worst of the damage. It involved our shop-vac and all of the old towels that I wanted to get rid of anyway.
Life is full of surprises. Rather than face a sodden Serta, I was greeted by a dog who’d buried his snout deep into my nasty gear and fallen asleep. The other dog was stretched out on the floor near him. Both were ticked that I’d woken them up.
Truth be told, I’m a little bummed I won’t have a reason to buy new towels and a mattress. I do vow, however, to make the washing machine my first stop after a long, gross run.