What a bizarro week it’s been. I think I can safely say that the motto of the week is “Feedback, not failure.” (a WW favorite) I think it pretty much applied to everything I did and experienced. I got a lot of feedback. But I don’t feel like I failed.

First, the food. See details here. At the beginning of the week I was in a bit of a cocky state, crowing “I can eat cookies! I can eat pizza!” because at first, my weight just went up a teensy bit. Then like 3 days later, it went up a LOT. Okay. So I can’t eat “everything.” Especially not all in one week. It has now settled back into my regular range, so that’s good, but it was, I suppose, a bit of an eye opener. I did learn a few things from my week of Indulgence though:

  1. A lot of people avoid sugar because they feel like it will be like a Gateway drug into more and more and more sugar. This was not my experience at all. I ate cookies for a couple of days, and my response was, I WANT VEGETABLES. Same thing with the fried chicken and pizza. They made me crave greens and vegetables and “clean” food like nobody’s business. So that was kind of illuminating, and also a relief. I feel like I don’t need to see another chocolate chip cookie for a long time. Or pizza, for that matter.
  2. It took like 72 hours for the food to “settle” onto my body.
  3. But it also went away pretty quickly. Most of it. Not all of it.
  4. It’s just really, really hard to stay in a good range when one eats out a lot. Which I really did this week. So. Lesson learned.
  5. I’m not about beating myself up or feeling “guilty” or like I blew it. I don’t think I blew it. I think I learned stuff. Yay for that.

Now, to my 10k race this morning. Haha ha ha! Let me just say that until I was actually on the course, I never really believed I was going to run a 10k today. If I had, maybe I would’ve, like, TRAINED for it? Ha ha again.

Back up. I found out that this race was happening in a park very close to my house. Which got me all excited. It’s a beautiful park in the redwoods. I vaguely remembered seeing people doing this very race (or maybe it was a different one) a few years back, and what I remembered was a few people running, and a bunch of Sierra Club-ish septegenarians with hiking boots and walking sticks. And their website says “hikers welcome,” meaning you don’t have to run it. So this WHOLE TIME I was thinking, I’m gonna hike this baby. Easy peasy.

But several elements transpired to transform this thing from an easy 6.5 mile hike into a crazy, grueling, up-and-down hills 10k RUN. First, I got to the registration place. I did not see a single 75 year old with a walking stick. Not a one. Instead what I saw was shirtless people with 2% body fat. I immediately felt faint, and like, UH OH. Then I ran into my friends: one of my Team Penguin buddies (surprise! yay! he was doing the 20k, ooh!) and my friend Sarah from solo performance workshop, and a WW buddy.

They herded us into different groups: 10k, 20K, 30K, 40K and FIFTY KILOMETERS. Holy mackerel. The woman with the megaphone referred to the 10k as a “lollipop run” to which Sarah took offense (“What are we, babies?”) but then I pointed out I think that was the SHAPE of our course, not our level of difficulty. I nervously noted that MOST of the herd was in the 2ok and up crowd, and the 10k bunch was relatively small (50? 70?).

They counted down (about 20 minutes late) and then were off. The trail was really narrow so it was pretty much single file. People were passing me like crazy, including a woman with one leg and one spring. That was impressive. After a while the course thinned out incredibly and I was in the company of this guy who looked Not At All Like A Runner, wearing snowboard pants and a wool cap. And carrying a loose water bottle in his hand. This other guy, who was Most Definitely A Runner, kept running up ahead at great speed, then coming back to check on the snowboard dude. I later learned they were brothers. I am not sure if Snowboarder was grateful or wanted to kill his marathoner brother.

Anyway, I ran the first half-mile or so then it started going uphill. Then REALLY uphill. Like a ladder. And my ankle, in spite of its sturdy brace, began experiencing major stabbing pains. It just DOES NOT like inclines. Or declines. Or anything other than pure flat terrain. My missing toenail, on the other hand, did not bother me at all.

The trail was really beautiful. It looked mostly like this.

Very pretty. People kept passing me. Eventually Snowboard Guy, who was behind me for a mile or two, passed me. These two women, who were behind me, passed me. Finally I was all alone. It occurred to me that chances were VERY HIGH that I was the Very Last Person in the 10k pack. And I had to do some serious talking to myself. I felt sorry for myself. I felt like a loser. I felt stupid for not training more, and for not really checking out what this race was truly like.

Then I remembered this guy from this video I saw last night.

And I started crying. I was like, Guy, if you can do what you did, I can get through this 10k. And I also thought, even though I am probably the END of this pack of athletes, I am HERE. I am doing this. And how many people are not doing any 10K at all, OR a 5k or even a 1k. And then I felt a little better.

Running is such a psychological experience!

I had a few periods of what I call “gazelle running” – when I was truly running fast, LEAPING over logs and just flying. For me. But then other times I was trudging up steep inclines. And my ankle was crying. And then a few times I got all dizzy and nauseated and my hands went numb and I knew I was getting dehydrated. It turns out that they do not have aid stations every mile or so, like regular big runs, but instead EVERY TEN KILOMETERS. In other words, when my race was over. And I was not carrying any water. Duh. When will I learn? (Today, Jesus, today!!!!!!!!!)

I did have a KIND bar which I think helped me with hypoglycemia. So I got through it. I eventually finished. I felt like both crying and throwing up when I finished, but I did neither. I had to rush off to pick up my daughter from crew practice, because Mr. McBody (um, Dr. McBody) was on call and could not do it. So that also helped me hustle my little tushie through the woods in a timely manner. For ME, I ran my ass off, and it was still really really hard.

My final time was 1 hour and 50 minutes. This was not stellar. I was, I think the last person in. The first finishers finished a full hour before me. But you know? I feel good about it. And sort of dumb. I wish I’d realized I was going to RUN this thing. If I had, well, I either would have dropped out ahead of time, or I would have prepared better.

Live and learn, right? For now I am feeling pretty proud that I did this thing.