I ran the New Haven Labor Day 20K today, more on the lady and her bathroom in a minute. We’ve been having a beautiful summer here in CT, I’d guess temps have been in the 80s, the humidity low. All that changed this weekend, the last days of summer; the humidity started yesterday and continued into today. I heard more than one person call the weather “oppressive” more than once.
I arrived at the green with plenty of time to spare and wandered around looking for familiar faces. I don’t enter many races but have run this one for the last fourteen years; it’s always nice to see people I haven’t seen since the prior year as well as all the folks I run with on a somewhat regular basis. Through a series of unfortunate events three people who had registered, who I looked forward to seeing and running with, had to bow out this year. Turns out they may have been the lucky ones!
The run was rough! The weather was brutal but it didn’t help that my training has been nonexistent. I wrote here about keeping my expectations low and enjoying the day but, in the back of my mind, I had a goal – a goal easily reached in prior years but out of my reach this year. I did remember to thank the volunteers and police force who came out to support us, I high-fived kids cheering on the side lines, their palms outstretched, hoping to connect with us as we went by. I ran with two different friends in the first half, a couple of miles with Kellyann and a few more with Tami.
It was about the 10K mark when I started thinking about needing a pee break and wondering if/where I’d find a port a john. The course heads down Chapel Street, through Wooster Square, before turning onto East Street. My dentist’s office is in the block across from the Wooster Square park, there’s a coffee shop, church and funeral home around that immediate area too. As I headed toward the park I pulled off the course and asked a group of cheering people if I could use the bathroom. In my mind, which was not at its sharpest in that moment, I thought they were standing in front of a business, maybe a law firm.
They looked around at each other, seemed to contemplate their next move, until a man finally pointed to a woman and I asked again, “could I use the bathroom?”
She nodded okay, led me up the stairs, unlocked the front door and said “it’s on the second floor.”
“Of course it is,” I said, thinking about the seconds ticking by (okay, in my mind I was thinking minutes were ticking by). I quickly laughed, said I was kidding, said I was very grateful and thanked her again. When we got to the second floor I thought “hmm, this doesn’t look like a law firm or office.
The woman showed me around the corner to the bathroom. When I spotted the scale on the floor, saw a decorative painted wood block on the vanity, took in all the toiletries around the bathtub, I realized, way later than I should have, that I was in this woman’s home! I peed quickly and washed my hands, all the while thinking about the clock counting off the seconds (minutes?); when I came out of the bathroom the woman was in the kitchen graciously offering me water! I politely declined, thanked her profusely and ran down the stairs and out the front door. Back on the sidewalk I told the rest of the group their friend was a saint and thanked them all too.
Side story – when I ran the Boston Marathon in 2005 I knowingly pulled the same stunt. About halfway through the run, just past the Wellesley Scream Tunnel I needed to pee. I ran over to a guy who was cheering in front of his house and asked him if I could use his bathroom. He looked left and right, maybe checking to see if his wife was nearby, then nodded his head and turned toward the house; I remember stepping over baby toys in the living room on the way to the bathroom. After my quick pit stop I thanked the man and ran off toward the second half of the course. I knew what I was doing in Boston, didn’t know what I was doing today.
I finally got to the end, soaked from sweat and running through neighborhood sprinklers. As I crossed the finish line I bent over, hands on knees to catch my breath and was quickly escorted to the curb by a volunteer. I tried telling him I was okay, but he insisted so I let him lead me to the side, took the water he offered and said another “thank you.”
Once Bill and I found each other I made a beeline for the food tent. In addition to the bananas, apples, cookies, yogurt and Chabaso bread, they were giving away Yasso Frozen Yogurt bars. I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that, after finding a shady spot to sit down, I ate two dark chocolate raspberry bars and a peanut butter cup bar in quick succession.
After commiserating with some of my friends about how horrible our runs were, Bill and I went home to eat leftovers from last night’s dinner, shower and take a nap. I hope I’ve learned my lesson, hope the next time I register for a 20K or longer distance I put in the training; but today, I have nothing to complain about….I ran 12.4 miles!
And, again, to the lady who let me use her bathroom…..Thank you!