Half Notes.


You guys have put up with not one, but two posts about running races in the past two weeks.

And I am well aware of how obnoxious runners are to non-runners. I was a staunch non-runner for 32.75 years and had zero intentions of ever becoming a runner and would’ve totally told that joke, “Hey. How do you know if someone is a runner? Don’t worry – they’ll tell you!”

…Until my stupid Dysautonomia got bad enough that I was willing to attempt the one thing I didn’t want to do to help it – and it worked so well and so instantaneously that I’ve run nearly daily for the last nine months.

So I get it. And I promise not to write another race post.

With that said, I went out of town with Chris last weekend to r*ce in my first h*lf m*rathon.

(See? This is about a date weekend away. Not another r*ce.)

We are experts at planning trips away the weekend of Daylight Savings Time, because we totally get to skip the adjustment by sleeping in with no children.

(And stick it to my parents, who have to deal with losing an hour with our kids.)

(Sorry Mom and Dad.)

So we skipped town around lunchtime on Friday and drove to Tuscaloosa. We did what you’re supposed to before a r*ce and ate giant plates of pasta with Chris’ brother Joey and sister-in-law Heather, who were going to be r*cing with us.

This was the juncture at which Chris thought it was time to mention to me that our r*ce started at 7 the next morning.



And I was talked into this trip based on being able to skip losing an hour. And then they tell me I have to get up at who-knows-what-time to go stand out in the freezing morning air so that I can pay good money to do what I could do for free later that afternoon in the nice warm sunshine?

I now see why people hate runners.

Because runners are stupid.

But I played along. I woke up on a Saturday morning in the 5 o’clock hour (that should not even exist on Saturday morning), pulled on my leggings as pants (I admit it – they make me feel like a superhero) and might have called my husband a “frickin’ idiot” when we walked out of the hotel into the 27° morning air.

Naturally, my car was also not ready for such early-morning torture, and was snoring under a thick blanket of frost.

Chris asked if I had an ice scraper.

“No, but remember? I learned that defrost actually *de-frosts your windshields* last year!! It’s so cool. Let’s just wait on that!”

But this was the first r*ce I’d ever run with my husband. And I learned that he is indeed quite antsy on r*ce mornings.

So he rooted around in my Chick-fil-a-covered back seat floorboards, found the most scraperish thing available (a DVD case), and began leaving claw marks across my windshield while I went back to muttering under my breath about his insanity.

Scraping Ice in AlabamaThis is how Alabamians scrape ice, y’all.

I then noticed that the sun was rising behind us and was all like, “ooh! We should drive back there just for a minute and take a picture!”, to which Chris said, “You DO realize that we’re not supposed to show up at the race right when it starts, correct?”

Oh yeah.

The Race Day Antsies.

But being the good husband that he is, he drove me backwards for approximately 100 feet before promptly turning around and heading toward the starting line.

Sunrise in Tuscaloosa

We arrived, and it was inhumanely cold. Serbian Serfs wouldn’t have to work in this weather. But I found a sunny spot and stood in it, ignoring the fact that my feet were slowly freezing onto the pavement, because at least the big ball of light was keeping my eyelashes from icing over.

About ten minutes before r*ce time, I realized I needed to pee.

Of course.

So I joined the long line at the port-a-potties to wait my turn. When I was three people back, a hot blond with thigh gap came bursting out of one of them.

She looked around wildly and said to all three dozen of us waiting, “I would NOT go in there! It is JACKED UP!”

This was a first for me – a hot blond with thigh gap admitting to jacking up a bathroom, however portable it may be.

And then she finished her thought.

“I got stuck in there! The lock would not unlock! I had to beat on the door and shake it up and down to get it open!”

Well now. That does make more sense.

Finally, two minutes before race time, it was my turn in the long line of rubber poo boxes. And guess which one was vacant – just in time.

Yup. Jacked Up.

I ever so barely locked Jacked Up. And God Shined Down Upon Me that morning when Jacked Up opened without trouble.

I ran to the starting line, found Chris, Joey and Heather, and explained about the horrors of Jacked Up – just before the r*ce began.

In the chaos of the starting line and my recovery from Jacked Up, Chris and I somehow got ahead of Joey and Heather. Chris kept looking back for them, but the crowd was too thick. So at the one mile mark, he gave me a choice.

“You can either take off and run as fast as you want, or you can go back with me to find Joey and Heather.”

“Um. You just said ‘go back’. What exactly do you mean when you say ‘go back’ and do you realize this is a r*ce?”

(Note: Chris is a much nicer person than me.)

“I just mean walk for a bit until we can find them.”

”Walk. In my first h*lf m*rathon. I love you and I love Joey and Heather but I CANNOT WALK.”

“Then go. Be free. Have fun!”

So I took off. And my Type-A-Competitive-Spirit unleashed within me as I began gleefully passing person after person, sizing them up to see if they were in my age bracket and hoping that they were. Every time a runner in front of me took a short walk break, I pounced upon them like a hungry Hyena discovering a nearly dead animal.

I’m a terrible person. A terrible, horrible, over-competitive person.

I quickly found out that I could not drink while running, and I refused to walk through the water stops. So I began skipping them.

Hydration is for sissies. And I had sissies to pass.

I finally allowed myself to walk for about thirty feet when my hip started hurting at mile 11, and then I walked through the final water break, despite the wretched feeling of my opponents passing on the left.

I finished at 2:14:39, in 473rd place. I so wanted to be first. But I was just barely (over an hour) late for that.

I received my medal, and all I could think about was how embarrassing it would be for any Auburn fan runners.

Tuscaloosa Half Marathon MedalI’m surprised they weren’t yelling “Roll Tide” as we crossed the finish line.

Chris and I went back to our hotel room, which was on the University of Alabama campus, to de-salt our bodies. This was the point that I began to hurt.

No normal running aches and pains – no, not for me. I got the world’s most uncomfortable stomachache. Which turned our day in Tuscaloosa into a day in the hotel where I alternately napped, moaned, and googled appendicitis.

Apparently, you can shake a bowel loose if you r*n too fast.

We finally left for a while, when Chris bought me Pepto Bismol and a thermometer and repeatedly asked if I wanted to go to the ER. But it was sunset. And you can’t go to the ER during sunset.

150307b Bryant-Denny Catching the Sun

While we were watching the sun set into Bryant-Denny stadium like an egg dropping into a frying pan, a red Ford Explorer careened by, hitting a light pole or curb as it did. A few seconds later, a police car flew through the same intersection, sirens blaring.


We were witnessing our first police chase.

More sirens clouded the air, and the Explorer only made it another couple blocks, where he {quite conveniently} crashed into a rehab center.

The excitement was palpable, and I’m sure the chase had nothing to do with the legions of fraternity parties going on just a block away, all of their stately colonial mansions enshrouded in security trash bags.

Frat Party at Alabama 2
Frat Party at Alabama

We went back to our hotel room and watched back-to-back Adam Sandler movies, listened to the frat parties wafting bad versions of “Uptown Funk” through the windows, and I laid, still in pain, insisting it would be better by morning.

And I am happy to report that shaken-up bowels absolutely do rearrange overnight – even on nights when you lose an hour to Daylight Savings Time.