In order to be ready for this Half Iron Person triathlon in June, I need to fit in 9 workouts a week: three swims, three rides, and three runs. T minus 6 weeks until race day. My stomach, and my bowels, do a shaky little jig every time I think about race day. More on this exciting dance later.
Last Friday, my parents (AKA, all star, award winning grandparents) were in town, and I had my long run to do. Ten miles, give or take. The cool part was that my parents are training for a half marathon at the moment, so they agreed to do the run with me. Six years ago, I never imagined I'd run ten miles by myself, let alone with my parents.
While I was proud of them and their new found love of running, I quite frankly expected to leave them in my dust and meet them at the car afterward. As we were driving to the trail, I felt a little cocky about it, actually. There's not many people I can beat, I thought, but surely, surely, I can beat them. My mom just took up running a year ago and, after all, is more advanced in years than I. I had it in the bag, right?
WRONG. I tried to lose her, I really really did. But, the old girl hung on and hung on. Every time I glanced behind me, there she was in her pink running shirt, keeping the gap between us short and tight. I kept running, downing my water and gatorade intermittently, beaming at the tenacity and strength my mom was exhibiting. I guess I shouldn't have been that surprised. She did raise 6 kids, all of us girls, after all.
The only problem with my hydration efforts was that one bottle of water had a wee bit of bacteria in it. The dirty bottle had been sitting in my athletic gear drawer for months. I had apparently neglected to wash it after I last used it. Before the run with my parents, I hastily rinsed it out, swished a little soap around, and re-filled it with new water. I thought it tasted funny, but by mile 4, was thirsty enough not to care.
Around mile 7, I decided to run it in with my mom and slowed down to let her catch up. It only took about 20 seconds for her to reach my side. Then, suddenly, out of nowhere, my bowels began to do different versions of the mamba and traditional Zulu dance. The nervous little jig that they usually perform was swallowed up by louder jungle drums beating insistently in my intestines. I had a major emergency on my hands. I darted behind a thick patch of blackberry bushes, shouting to my mom, Go on ahead, I'll catch up, and did what I had to do.
Well, to make a long story short, my mom was waiting for me by the car. I ended the run with a less than calm digestive system and some wounded pride.
So, BE YE WARNED.....If a dirty water bottle is permitted to grow bacteria for several months and you do not clean it with bleach, IT WILL GIVE YOU DIARRHEA. There, I have done my public duty.
In spite of the negative gastrointestinal experience on this run, I learned something huge. My mom's exemplary 10 mile run taught me, quite simply, that my best years are ahead. That one can age with strength, endurance, and excitement to conquer new challenges. That grandmothers really do rule the world.
My mom and I are going to run a half marathon together this month. And, I will show up to the race with clean water bottles.
I have two words for you, mom. GAME. ON.