As a mother runner who nursed both kids, traveling to run races did mean other embarrassing mama tales. The occasional breast milk leakage-whoops, did I just spill my water on my shirt? Clumsy me! And oh, I know I've just met 4 of the 5 of you amazing Hood to Coast relay van-mates, and that I'm sure you expected a lot of strange and disgusting bodily functions and hilarity while being trapped in a van with your teammates for 36 hours, so adding a breast-pumping mama to the mix isn't a big deal, right? Yep, that's breast milk in the cooler. I've totally got enough if you want to try some plain or put it in your coffee.
It was during this relay race adventure, my first Hood to Coast, the Mother of all Relays, that I joined the mother runner UriNation.
The weekend before H2C I ran my longest distance so far, 16 miles, training for my first marathon. So, let's say that even though I was new to running, I had logged some miles and faced some unexpected challenges-shin splints, dehydration, mid-run fueling gone wrong, exhaustion, i-can't-do-this crying meltdowns, learning to plan routes with Honey Buckets or open public restrooms-but I wasn't prepared for what happened on my very first leg (leg 6 for those who know the race).
I was nervous and excited. H2C was the race that made me want to be a runner, and here I was, fulfilling a dream. I went to the bathroom, checked my gear, and got ready for the leg 5 runner, my husband, to slap that relay wrist bracelet on and send me on my way.
It was a perfect beginning. I was in a groove along highway 26's rolling hills, my pace a full minute faster than my training time. I couldn't be happier.
With 2 miles of my 6.78 left to go, I realized that I had to go. I can hold it. 1.5 miles-is there anywhere off the side of the road I can sneak to go? Nope. It's like a wide-open prairie here. I can hold it. Maybe run faster. 1 mile left-whoops, was that a little squirt? Okay, disaster averted. Now I know I can hold it. 0.75 miles-squirt, squirt, hmmmm...
I'm in the town of Sandy now, really no where to duck and pee. And this race isn't just about me, I've got to finish my first leg strong for my team. I can hold it.
0.65 miles-I can't hold it. I'm letting it go.
Okay, that's not so bad. I'm sure my underwear and shorts just soaked it up. After all, I can't have that much in me; I'm a sweating machine right now. Whoa, is that moisture hitting my back and legs? I glance behind me and see the tiny sprays of moisture bouncing off the heels of my shoes as my feet kick up in my wake. Tink, tink, tink. The pee, having soaked through my shorts, is now dripping down and tinking off my shoes to make sure I remember with each step that I'm a mama and a runner and am now a part of the UriNation.
As I near the exchange, a major exchange where both team vans and all 12 teammates meet-up, I'm not thinking about the urine, I'm thinking about the hand-off, and my time, and do I look like I'm giving it my all, because I really am. I'm dreaming of a Gatorade and high fives and maybe a mid-morning beer between this leg and the next.
Holy cow, an 8:35 pace! Yes, it was awesome! Oh, and I peed myself. "You what?" Well, I'm pretty sure as soon as I walk away, or you smell the bag of dirty clothes heating up in the van as we drive on, it will be obvious so I might as well own it. It was such a relief, literally. My teammates were amazing. They laughed, asked for details, took pictures and posted them to Facebook, and really, I loved it! It was like an initiation into this running community I had craved without even realizing.
I think about that first leg every time I think about H2C, and was recently surprised when a friend new to running proudly informed me, "I'm in the Erin club now!" What? What club? "The I peed myself during a race club." Heck yea!!! You go sista runner! Welcome to the UriNation! It's an amazing club and membership is free and simple. You just have to pee yourself and own it.