Saturday, September 17th was my husband's birthday. He turned 33. I figured that was a GREAT reason to skip the Saturday morning run so I could sleep in late, drink coffee and eat a big breakfast. It was a good reason, right? Sure, except that I still had to do my five mile run. I've never run five miles before, so I think I was in some sort of denial about doing this run. I just kept thinking of it as my now "normal" three mile run....I just have to run three miles, but really I have to run five. It's cool if I have bacon, toast and eggs for breakfast, washed down with two cups of coffee. Man, that bacon was gooooood.
So after the hubby left for work, I started to pidaddle around the kitchen, thinking to myself, "I really should put my stuff on and go run my three miles". And in the back of my head I knew it was really five. Fear of the unknown, even when it's just exercise, is still scary. My typical Chubby Chick mantra kicks in and says, "What is this five miles going to feel like? Will I get injured? Where am I going to run?". Luckily my new runner instinct kicked in and said, "Screw it, go put your clothes on and quit whining. Just do it already".
So I worked on getting myself all pumped up, I grabbed my donated iPod with my three artists on it (Keb Mo, Big N Rich, and Enya...yeah...I know) and I laced up my now dirty and old looking shoes and headed for the park in my oh-so-sexy black and neon pink spandex pants and moisture wicking shirt. I felt pretty hot heading out the door...well, not hot but I felt pumped...and the result is I felt like what I knew my hot self would look like in another 2.5 months after I've run a half marathon!!! WOOHOO...I'm getting there right? Whatever.
So, all pumped and ready to go, I pull in to the park and it is PACKED with parents watching their little kids play soccer. It was really a cool scene, all these old folk just sitting there all lazy, and I was going to show them who was boss. I was going to run five miles in front of their KIDS...oh yeah baby. I turned on the iPod...nothing. I hit the button again, still nothing. I even tried the southern approach and mashed the button, STILL nothing. Dang it. No music for the run. No little British chick telling me I had run half a mile, then a mile...and then the anticipated five miles. I would have to say it to myself....NOOOOOO.....dang it. Dang it. ...... Dang it.
Okay, I can still do this. I have my expensive shoes, I have my good attitude, I have purpose, I have an audience, and I can cheer myself on and sing to myself if I have to. Right? Sure thing. I start walking to warm myself up a little, and after I made it across the parking lot I looked at the sign with the trail on it. One-point-one miles. I can do this. Just run around it four and a half times. I'm good. I start walking again down the trail.
Now if you're my dad and you're reading this I'd like you to remember a day back in 1994 after we first moved to Fort Mill, SC. Remember getting a call from your daughter who was at a gas station somewhere between Pineville and Rock Hill? Remember me saying, "can you please have this nice gas station attendant explain where I am so you can tell me how to get home"? I literally couldn't figure out which way to turn to get to Pineville versus getting to Rock Hill. I was supposed to be in Pineville for my job, I ended up in Rock Hill. Rock Hill is NOT Pineville. Apparently that little episode has stuck with me through the years because after I stood starting at the sign showing the trail for running one....point...one miles, I realized I had not one clue what I was looking at.
I ran to the right of the soccer field where all the cute little kids were punting the soccer ball around, and came upon a fork in the trail. I could NOT remember which way to go. Fortunately I picked randomly...and picked correctly. And then after a few more minutes there was another fork. Okay this is silly, how many forks does a "loop" need? I turned right. I look up - you have GOT to be kidding me. Another freakin' fork? I turned right. Um yeah, it was actually really easy. it looks like this... 0-0-0 get it? it's three circles connected by a small dash....and all I had to do was keep turning right. I'm an idiot.
About half a mile into the trail, I noticed a young couple sitting on a bench enjoying the scenery. There are lots of trees. And lots of people running. Lot's to laugh at. And that's exactly what they did. People, I'm not kidding, the kids laughed at me. I ran by, and the girl snorted and cracked up. The dude shook his head as I ran by. I was mortified. What a sight I must've been. I was red faced, bouncing around, dressed in spandex, and I was running. Okay, get yourself together kid, they probably weren't laughing at you, seriously. Now, this trail loops around a couple of different ways, and if you can believe this, on my way back around I had to get CLOSER to said couple. I figured I'd see what happened. Sure enough, the guy whispered something in the girls ear, she said, "oh my God" and then cracked up after I ran by again. You know what I did in self defense? I clenched my butt cheeks in an effort make them look smaller so I would feel better about myself, and maybe, just maybe they would say, "Oh wait, I thought that was the fat chick, guess I was wrong." Yeah, you're getting a glimpse into my defective, downright crazy little mind. Pathetic isn't it?
Now, this is just my first pass. In one loop, I have to pass this couple twice. So I figure this is going to be a LONG five miles. And all the way down and all the way back up the loop all I could think about was what I was going to do if this couple laughed at me again. I pictured stopping, walking up to them, and introducing myself. I thought about cussing them out. (Sorry Pastor Brian, but I am just a mudball after all!) I imagined giving them the blog website so they could read about how stupid they were. I was so furious. And beaten down. But don't worry, the story gets better.
As I came back up the loop, they were leaving, and I had a new friend. There was a 50 something year old Illinois guy walking up and down the loop in the opposite direction, and he said, "Funny seeing you again!" as I passed. He laughed WITH me every time we passed each other. Thank God for small things....a friendly stranger's face and funny words.
So all that anger got built up into energy and a determination to show that lousy couple what I could do. I could run five miles, and all they could do was make googly eyes at each other while plopping their skinny butts on a bench and laughing at people who were actually trying to DO something about their situation. I can fix fat, they can't fix stupid. So THERE....Yes, I was aware at that point they had left, but I had to prove them wrong anyhow....I'm telling you, I'm demented. You'll believe me eventually.
Running has so many layers. The mental aspect, the physical, the emotional. When I got to mile three, I literally felt like I ran into a brick wall. My brain just shut down and said, "okay, you're done now". My emotional side was asking how soon I'd be able to gorge on ice cream and pizza. Physically, however, I was fine. My legs were feeling great, I had a good pace going, and I was actually passing the walkers for once. So I had to keep going, and I did. I kept GOING people....do you realize that I, Lori Maurer, ran FIVE MILES????? I did!!!! I can...and I DID! I don't know if I'm the only one that gets the gravity of this, but I totally ran five miles. I even have a blister in a weird place on my foot to prove it.
The funniest thing to me about this whole trip was my attitude in the last two miles. I was grinning from ear to ear. Every step I took was one step further than I had ever run before. On the last leg of the loop, there is a little place with a picnic table. There was a group of people - probably a few families with their kids. They probably think I'm the strangest lady living in Concord, NC. On my last loop, in the last 10th of a mile, they got to watch me run like Rocky with my hands above my head rocking it out, laughing hysterically shouting incoherent words that were meant to be, "yeah, I did it!!! I ran five miles, I'm awesome!!!". I think it sounded more like, "Wheaaa, I schmidid.....Ewan fwive meeles.......hewehehehehehe...." I was completely incoherent. And probably a bit dehydrated. I'm pretty sure I heard one of them laugh, but honestly I don't blame them. I'm not kidding, I really must've looked weird.
I ran all the way to the parking lot where I grabbed my water bottle for the 10th time (I took some breaks okay?) and I walked to the grass, collapsed and drenched my face and head with the water....and then drank some.
As a victory celebration for RUNNING FIVE MILES, I ate um...a lot of food on Saturday. I iced my knees, and I stretched a lot. But you know what? It still hurt. A lot. So much on Sunday that I limped down the stairs. I limped up the stairs. I groaned, I moaned, and I comlained. And to prove I'm demented, I did this in front of two ladies in their fifties who are still healing from getting both of their knees ripped out and replaced with fake ones. I COMPLAINED ABOUT KNEE PAIN...in front of them. Demented.
I was supposed to run a recovery run of three miles today.....I couldn't do it. I'll do it tomorrow. I promise.