Have you ever played that game?
As a runner, I can envision an interesting twist to this revealing game. Shall we play?
Never have I ever broken that cardinal rule of "nothing new or different on race day."
Let me set the scene .... Grandma's Marathon 2015 (full recap HERE). My training had been sporadic at best with a crazy spring schedule, including the sudden passing of my mother-in-law. Try as I might, I just couldn't get my long runs squeezed in during the final weeks, and then ((BAM!)) a sudden eruption of Plantar's Fasciitis, sidelining me for a good 10 days prior to the start line. On a whim, I made a command decision to try using fruit snacks for my fuel...but when I absentmindedly mixed in too much Gatorade (on the race course), my tummy totally rebelled. Thankfully, there were no accidents, but it was pretty ugly with the frequent porta-pot stops between miles 14-20.
|not my smartest race day strategy
Never have I ever worn a dry cleaning bag for an entire 5-mile race in the rain. This happened last fall, at the IMT Des Moines Marathon Mercy Live Up Loop (full recap HERE). This was my second race after my 3-month running sabbatical (following my surgery), and I was not gonna miss it for anything. The temps were chilly and the rain wasn't heavy, but it was steady. After the first mile, the rain tapered off, but I was reluctant to shed the bag in case it returned. Sure enough, just before the 4-mile mark, the rain returned and got progressively heavier towards the finish line. The clincher? Somehow, I managed a third place AG finish (out of 21). Not bad for an early rally back race after my crazy summer.
Never have I ever ran a 6-hour overnight ultra in the pouring rain. Myself and six other running gal pals all met up for the Christmas in July races in 2015 (full recap HERE). Our 6-hour race began at the stroke of midnight, under an ominous sky and extreme humidity. Within the first hour of the race, the rain began. Our race was somewhat contained in that we ran nonstop 1-mile loops around a lake. Did I mention there also was lightning (though it was not directly above us)? Fortunately, the rain didn't last the entire evening, but we did have to contend with it for a good two hours or so. None the less, all seven of us persevered through the night, and crossed the finish line around 6:00 a.m., thoroughly soaked. Due to the warm temps and humid air, very little of our rain-soaked clothing had dried, but we all felt like warriors for the battle we'd fought (and won!). Several of us returned the next year and ran the 12-hour over-nighter (under much better weather conditions).
|All of us after six hours of nonstop action...myself, Michelle, Penny, Maggie, Teri, Barb, and Karen
Never have I ever ran in -30F temps on New Year's Day. Every year, a group of us have a NYD run at our lake, and 2018 was no exception. So what if it was the coldest NYD on record?
|#BRRRR At least we had sunshine!
Never have I ever done a duathlon with a borrowed bike. My friend, Paula, persuaded me to join her for my first-ever duathlon (full recap HERE)....the only problem was that I didn't have a road bike (my mountain bike wasn't an ideal option). The solution? She let me borrow her bike (and she used her husband's). Keep in mind, I'm pretty much a novice when it comes to cycling, so this endeavor was way out of my comfort zone. I had a tough time figuring out the gears, so I had to put cheat marks on my hands to remember which gears shifted which way. Long story short, no flat tires or mishaps. I survived the 5K run/20-mile bike ride/1.5-mile run and was able to finish under my goal time (sub-2 hours).
|How do you like those cheat marks?
Never have I ever driven an hour to run a 1-mile race. A couple months ago, another friend, Barb, and myself took on the Grand Blue Mile (in conjunction with the Drake Relays in Des Moines, IA). I had never done this event before, nor had I ever raced a 1-mile course. I don't consider myself a fast runner, either, so I had no idea on strategy. We did a quick warm-up run (about a mile in distance) and hopped into line, just as the race was beginning. I wasn't sprinting, but I was trying to run faster than usual. I had to do a lot of weaving, so when I crossed the finish line and saw that I had clocked a 7:53 mile, I was in disbelief. We didn't stick around for awards (I had to get back to town for dance recital practice), but later that evening I looked up the results...and saw that I had placed 3rd (out of 76) in my age group. Dang.
Never have I ever ran almost an entire half marathon with a large water bottle in hand. When I ran the RnR Las Vegas Half Marathon (full recap HERE), I had every intention of ditching the 20-oz. water bottle right before the start line, but when I couldn't spot a trash can anywhere, I vowed to toss the bottle along the course at a water station. Except, I drastically underestimated how dry the air would be, and I was constantly thirsty. I kept refilling the bottle along the route, and finally pitched the bottle in the final mile so I wouldn't have it with me at the finish line.
|Still in disbelief...
|That water bottle kept me hydrated in the Las Vegas desert
So, those are the big Never Have I Ever experiences I've had. Running certainly brings a lot of crazy excitement and adventure to my life, and I find myself constantly learning new things. It keeps me humble, too. And, once in awhile, I do stumble across a great race day hack.
Have you had any experiences similar to the ones I shared? Any lessons learned?