Today I participated in the National Breast Cancer Half-Marathon in Jacksonville, Florida. A marathon also races at the same time and on the same course. Let me further explain. We all started off and ran together (well, actually a bunch of people ran - and I, along with a bunch of other people wogged) until about mile 6.5. This is the mile that is run on the beach, and at this point, we half-ers turn to go back on pavement while the full-marathoners continue down the beach and get back on the pavement miles down the road. When we get back on the pavement, we half-marathoners are at Mile 7. This point is where the full marathoners rejoin us - at their mile 20. Here's where the lesson begins.
I do these races slowly. To give you an idea of how slowly, when I was at Mile 4, the winner of the half-marathon was headed toward the finish at Mile 10. He was probably finished and in the middle of his nap by the time I got to Mile 5. So, by the time I got to Mile 7 (back on the pavement), the human cheetahs were passing me at their Mile 20. But we turtles cheer them on, because we are just happy to still be walking and breathing.
Okay, so here's the lesson - really. As I am chugging along, several women full-marathoners pass me and then SHE comes. She is wearing the usual race uniform of the fast people - something that I would call a two-piece bathing suit, but I'm sure there's some technical name for their outfit. Anyhoo, she races past and I look at her legs. I'm thinking, "She must have some of those magnet strips that I've seen on other elite racers." Then I look again and think, "Boy, she sure does have a lot and in such an intricate pattern." Then I look yet again, and think, "Those are not magnets - that's dirt and mud." Looking for the last time, I realize, "She has had a blowout!"
Yes people, this woman has pooped in her pants and down her legs. I checked her bathing suit bottom for confirmation. And yet she kept running, past all us slow-pokes and fans along the way.
I couldn't help but wonder why she didn't stop at a porta-potty. Certainly being in the front of the race, there had to have been plenty available. Why didn't she stop to clean up or at least hose off? Personally, I would probably have stopped, done my business, and headed for home at the first inkling of such a situation. But then again, maybe that's why I'll never be an elite runner.
Things that make today great: Fellow racers on the buses and during the race; finishing the half-marathon; lunch at Mimi's Cafe; cheering spectators along the route