Saturday, 24 September 2011

Zoo Run Diary 2011!

Well, ran the 2011 zoo run today.  Worst 10k I have run. "But, Hossy, why was it so bad?", you are probably not* asking.  Well, Internet, it's nice of you to ask. Let me recap.

*who doesn't love the strikethrough by the way?

1st! - I didn't try to sign up until week before the race. It was sold out, so I bought the bib from someone on a Running Room forum.  Awesome.  Except the bib had already been made and identified the runner as "Gayle".  Although I am lucky in that the woman I did buy it from didn't ask for her email ID to be put on the bib, as I am not sure how the ladies on the course would have reacted to a guy with a bib identifying himself as the "Tantalizer".  

Luckily we have a sharpie at home, and, as you can see, I was able to seamlessly transfer the bib to my name.  The best part of having the bib was at one point during the race there was a spectator cheering everyone by name.  She was saying "go Daniel!, go Stephen!, go..uhhh...keep going, woooh!"  Actually, as I write this, maybe this part wasn't so bad after all.

2nd!  I am still getting used to Toronto.  One thing that absolutely takes getting used to is that if you are doing any event, so are a million other people.  No matter what the event may be.  So I left home an hour before the race, as it takes about 25 minutes to drive to the zoo.  Lots of time!  So I get off the highway exit and....

I finally get to park and, as I leap out of the car, I hear the gun for the first wave, my wave, go off.  But...not disaster, as this race has a staggered start so I will just run the next wave in five minutes!

3rd! So I hustle to the start hoping I have everything.  And I kinda need to pee.  Porto-potties....massive line, no go. Check that I have everything - Bib, watch, power gel....(uh oh)...

The forgotten power gel, after the race.  Look at it there, just mocking me..."look at me, so full of energy..."

Fuck.  Just fuck.  Ok.  Not the end of the world.  Gotta pee kinda and no gel.  Two minutes to start time.  Stretch!  Turn on super satellite watch.  Takes a while to get a satellite reading and gets one faster if you stand still, so good to turn on now.  

I stand in place stretching and hear "30 seconds!"....check my's off.  Sharp intake of breath..."Fuuuuuuck."  Turn it on, thinking "30 seconds might be long enough, maybe....never has before, but...".

Gun goes off.  "Well it will probably get a signal shortly after I start."

Not problematic: Beautiful run.  See zebras and giraffes.  Problematic: super satellite signal...asking me "are you indoors?" signal...

"Hey Buddy, you don't happen to have a power gel do you? No?  That's ok, don't worry about it, thanks anyways.  I'll ask the zebras." (note: this is not my photo. I didn't take my phone with me.  Although now I kinda wish I had, as it couldn't have hurt my time too much. But photo IS TO zoo.)
And the best are the arctic wolves.  I dunno why.  Just personal preference.  But they are out in force, and real purty.

                                   They looked like this, know...awake. (Not my photo!)
4th! And by far the worst!   Right around kilometre 9, (Update on super satellite signal....) running hard, feeling good...blllooouuurrpp!....


Now to tell you this part of the story, Internet, I am gonna have to tell you another story.  Way back in Ottawa, Hoss used to run to work.  One night, on a night pre-children, He was out with wife and friends eating nachos and hot wings and drinking beer.  The next morning, as he was running to work (bounce...bounce...bounce) something odd started happening downstairs..(bounce...bounce...bounce).  Blooourp!....Blurp!...Blooooooourp!....Cramp!....My guts!  I figured it was ok, I could make it to work. Kept running.  It was not ok.  It was the diametric opposite of ok.  

The fact that there was a construction site with a porto-potty right after the bridge over the Rideau River saved me from being arrested for pooping on the street in downtown Ottawa.  Unfortunately, the shorts I was wearing under my running pants had to be sacrificed for the cause (R.I.P.) (I, flustered, without thinking, tossed them down the hole, then began reaching down for them before asking myself just what the hell I was doing).  Oh and by the way I think I am pretty brave for telling this story on behalf of all sensitively boweled runners out there!

Well, ever since "the incident" I have tried to be careful when I run, especially races.  Never wear a hydration belt (too bowel squishing!), never eat greasy spicy food the night before a morning run and always, always do a number 2 beforehand.  

Back to 2011!

I haven't been running too many races lately and am out of normal routine.  Thus, I broke one of the cardinal rules and did not think to sit on the potty this a.m.

Back to km 9!

Blooourp.....I have been here the first "bloourp" hits, I am running past a bathroom.  To paraphrase Robert Munsch, the inner dialogue at that moment went something like "It's not that bad, I can run another kilometre can't I? Oh, yes, yes, yes, I can run another kilometre."  

....Bloop.....blooourp....(beginning to look around frantically for a bathroom) ...bllllllooourp...."gahhhh"....(sweat forming on brow (not running sweat, "I am gonna shit my pants" sweat))...."unghhh".

150 metres left...all that's in my head is that I am going to end up as a post in Deadspin as I poop myself in front of everyone at the finish line.  As I come around a bend I see, appearing in front of me, salvation!  In the form of a beautiful blue pillar with a white top.  It's a construction site!  The potty is behind a makeshift wooden fence with orange plastic mesh stapled to it.  I run directly to the fence and jump up on it to hop over as I say to the race volunteer "sorry, I gotta go".   Unstable temporary fencing, no go!  The run volunteer offers, helpfully, "there's a bathroom right after the finish line...(trailing off as I ignore him and continue to try and navigate the fence)... I don't think you' use...that one...  

Now, a couple of points on the bathroom he was referring to was, in actuality, quite far past the finish line and there was a fucking line up, so I am extremely glad I didn't wait because that would not have worked at all.  Two: hey man, what do you think is going on here?  100 metres left in a race and I am stopping in front of you and all these spectators to hop a rickety fence in order to obviously take a shit?  You really think I would do so if it wasn't a Defcon 4 situation? "Well, I don't really haaaaavvve to, but I just want to see if  I can squeeze something out."  Three...please don't take this to mean I am not a rule abiding-type guy.  I don't walk around thinking rules apply to everyone but me.  But believe me, this was a speeding to the hospital because the wife is in labour dealie.  I would have gladly accepted a police escort, if offered. 

I choose an alternate part of the fence and hop up...I hear a bad "craaack!" sound..."uh oh"...but it holds, and I am over and in and yes!  Sweeet, sweeet relief.  My goodness. Everything I imagined it would be. 

And then done and ready to run the final100 metres!  Sprint to the same part of the fence I hopped in on and hop up..."Craaaack!"...and I am down, lying on the ground, amidst the ruins of the particular fence section. Helpful race volunteer: "Uhhhhh, are you ok, man?"  

Me!: "Yes, I am good! Sorry about the fence! If there's a problem, remember my bib ("Gayle!")!

So I finish the race.  Woohoo.  Crap time (no pun intended, haha!).  And then my time is not adjusted for starting in the second wave so it's 5 minutes slower!  

I am eating a cookie after the race and glance at my super satellite watch.  "Acquired Signal!" Sigh.

But the race shirt is North Face, so that's pretty sweet.  Plus the course director is my neighbour so I emailed him and asked that my time be adjusted to the second wave, (not for myself, but to ensure that my blog followers are not too disappointed!).  And it gave me something to write about!

Phew.... That was pretty long.  Sorry.  Lucky it wasn't a marathon I guess!

Hoss Out!


My neighbour told me, and I am paraphrasing here, to go jump in the lake.  And rightfully so!  I just hope, Internet, that ole' Hoss has learned his lesson.


  1. What was your actual time?

  2. OMG I have to pee after reading that! I think I have to start following your blog! oh - hang on - phone ringing - Toronto Zoo calling? I did what? where? Now that wasn't really tantilizing was it? lol

  3. Yes, I guess I could have said my actual time. "May be relevant to this post!" 52:41 gun, 47:36 chip.