3.1 miles, 75,000 (give or take) people and one puking runner
4:45 a.m. on a Saturday morning sucks.
4:45 a.m. on a Saturday morning in October when the temperature is close to 30 freaking degrees is insanity.
The morning of the 5k I was up and moving by 5 a.m. it was still dark and I think my body was under the impression it was a week day. The darkness didnt' help. After I stumbled around the house a little bit looking for random pieces of clothing and making sure the dog was fed and put out, I finally hit the road. Luckily, not many people are as insane as I am so the traffic I was anticipating between home and Baltimore was minimal. Gave me plenty of time to wonder why in the hell I was up at 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday to run...RUN, 3 miles for the hell of it.
Much to my surprise, the main area was full of people even as I pulled in around 6:30. I made my way to the registration area (unnecessary since I had registered and paid my dues online) then handed in my pledges. With time to kill I meandered around the sponser tents, picking up free swag here and there (loving the pink scarf from Ford), taking in the atmosphere.
Eventually the sun started coming up and everyone was herded into the area around the stage for a warm up where I saw one of the most inspiring things I have ever been lucky enough to witness. Right in front of me were two 70+ ladies, doing leg lifts, marching it out and shaking it like they were 20 year olds. One turned to me and said to me "Honey, you're going to have to move a little faster than that if you want to get yourself together for this thing".
I had no idea what to say so I just smiled and said "yep, you're right!"
Once the warm up ended we were directed to the starting line. All almost 75,000 of us. My stomach was doing flips by this point...and not just from nerves. For the two days before the 5k I had been having stomach "issues" to put it politely. I had just chalked it up to lack of sleep and lack of proper food in my diet. Bad idea. As I was warming up at the starting line the gurgling continued...and continued through the first half mile...and mile. Then the feeling started happening. That tickling feeling in your throat when you have to cough, but you know that when you do, you'll probably end up puking all over the place.
Thank god I was in a part of Charm City where it wasn't that noticable.
Right there, along the side of the course I let loose. Dinner and the apple bits I had that morning all came back to greet me. I.Was.Mortified.
A nice lady and her daughter did come over to check on me having witnessed my mad dash for the side of the road. Once I had convinced her I just needed to stop for a little bit, they kept going. I don't think she was all that convinced but actually, once I puked, I felt better. There just happened to be a race volunteer right around where I stopped. He asked me if I wanted to sit and he'd call a car to come get me. I was tempted to take him up on it...but I just couldn't bring myself to throw in the towel just yet.
Instead I kept going.
I walked for about 1/4 of a mile, getting everything back to normal or semi-normal and actually managed to make up some time along the way. By the time I hit the last stretch, House of Pain's "Jump Around" came on and I was ready to go another mile or two.
My finish time was exactly 60 minutes. Kind of crappy, but considering the circumstances, it could have been worse.
The rest of my day was spent in recovery. I made it back home just in time for the football game my band kids were performing at and once that ended, I stayed awake just long enough to grab dinner then head home. Where I passed out on the couch for 5 hours. Room mate #1 woke me up when he came home around 10...only to have me go upstairs and go back to sleep.
A good day I guess. One thing is for sure, I'm not going to attempt that kind of physical exertion again until I get my big butt moving some more. Time to dust off the gym clothes and hit the eliptical because that is the last time I puke in public...until St. Patrick's Day.