Oct 09

Any Given Race Day

Most of you know I’m an NFL fan.  You wouldn’t know it with my 1-4 fantasy team record but that’s another post. My point is that there’s a saying in football – “any given Sunday” – as in any team can win or lose when it’s  game time.  You can have the best quarterback, wide receivers, defense, whatever – if everyone doesn’t play their best or if there are too many turnovers, you can and will lose.  I feel the same about race day.

As runners, we’ve all had our share of races that just sucked and, conversely when everything went unbelievably right.  If you train your best and are fully prepared then you should have a great race, right?  Wrong!  The problem is that you can never seem to predict what race you’re going to have until you get out there and run it.

Here’s some of my personal highlights:

1.  Although it was not a race, it was a competition and possibly the most embarrassing thing to happen in my entire life! I was about 10 years-old and at a gymnastics meet.  I had been in gymnastics since I was 4 so I was very competitive and fairly good.  I got up to salute the judge I was ready for my floor routine and started peeing in my leotard all over the floor!  No biggie, I was just in front of 100 of my peers.  I wanted to die!  Luckily my mom was there and she happened to have my replica Mary Lou Retton Olympics leotard in the car.  You remember the one, right?  I put that sucker on, got back out there and ended up winning the floor competition.  I have no idea how the hell I mustered the courage to do that.  If that happened to me now, I would crawl in a hole and die.

Right on Mary Lou!  I bet you never peed in your leotard!

Right on Mary Lou! I bet you never peed in your leotard!

2.  Boston Marathon 2007:  I obviously worked my ass off to make it to Boston.  The race I qualified for to run Boston was one where the stars aligned and I had the best marathon ever.  Boston?  Not so much.  In the 111 years of having the marathon they almost canceled it because of a Noreaster!  Luckily (I guess?) the race went on but I was hungry, cold and tired from the start.  I did everything wrong and ended up finishing with my worst marathon time ever – 3:47.  The only saving grace was that it was Boston and my whole family was there so I was able to check myself pretty quickly.

3.  Half-marathon turned 10K:  I signed up to do a half-marathon with a friend of mine.  On race day I was pretty sick with a chest cold.  I still wanted to try and run because I’m insane I didn’t want to leave my friend hanging, so I switched to the 10K which is half the distance.  When the gun went off I took off with the leaders and somehow held on to come in second overall!  Since that day, I have done the same race every year and have come in second or third each time.  If that cold didn’t happen I never would have know how competitive I could be at that distance.

Miles wearing my medal from the 10K race.

Miles wearing my medal from the 10K race.

So now I’m facing down the first of two major races I have been training for, for months.  The half-marathon is this Saturday and I need to set my goals.  That’s right – goals with an “s!”  A while ago, a brilliant racer (I can’t remember who?) told me to always set three goals for any race.  The first should be something easily achievable like just finishing.  The second can be a little loftier like a time goal and the third should be the ultimate if all goes exactly to plan.  By setting three goals, you’re sure to at least meet one of them and therefore still feel successful.

My three goals for Saturday:

1.  Finish without being broken

2.  Finish with a PR of 1:30 or better

3.  Make the top five females in my age group

When I run through these babies to the finish line, I hope I'm smiling!

These are the only “golden arches” I know and they’re at the finish line of the Hartford Half!

Now that it’s out there – the pressure is on!…not like it wasn’t before this post…but there’s something serious (and vomit inducing) about putting it out here and having to report back.

I know that anything can happen on race day.  All I can control is the training I have put in until this point and hope it’s enough.  I guess if I don’t pee my racing shorts, I should consider it a win!

Care to share you’re most embarrassing moment?  No?  How about a race or competition that went better or worse then you thought?




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  1. thedoseofreality

    First of all, you are amazing. The fact that you ran in a Noreaster is so incredible I can hardly stand it. AND you ran sick?? Good God woman!! Secondly, the Mary Lou Retton leotard story is awesome in every way!!-Ashley

    1. vita88

      I definitely have a sickness…I’m addicted to running! Thanks Ashley!!

  2. Megan

    Okay – here you go. Most embarrassing event. I had to have been 15 or so at an age group swim meet. We had just finished warming up, and I went back into the gym, where our team had all of our stuff for the day (it was a big meet). When we warmed up, we always had extra suits on for drag. I went to peel those suckers off, and by mistake pulled off ALL my suits to my waist…in a gym filled with people – kids, adults, boys, girls. I survived – and really only a couple people actually noticed it happen. But at that age, I was horrified. As for my goals – I love the idea of three. For Saturday:

    1. Finish unbroken. (I think that is a really good goal!)
    2. Finish under the cutoff time.
    3. Finish with a PR – ultimate goal? 2:30 finish. (I’m not a gazelle.)

    Thanks for sharing Allie! Good luck!

    1. vita88

      That is definitely an embarrassing story! At 15 everything is embarrassing, especially being semi-naked in a room full of people. Luckily you recovered quickly.
      I love your goals for the race!!! Good luck!!! I’ll be thinking of you!

  3. Nellie

    Oh my gosh you poor thing!! I love that mama was so prepared with the backup outfit!! I would have been mortified but the body acts in funny ways sometimes especially when it comes to nervous energy. Ah my most embarrassing moment was one of my first presentations for work, I was like 24 and I got up there, did great, and when I came back to my seat I had horrible underarm sweat that had seeped completely through my top and it was so obvious!! I’m still working here so I guess I’m over it. Lol!

    1. vita88

      Ah armpit sweat. I’ve been there too! Glad you were able to recover nicely:-)

  4. Britton

    Awww Good luck Allie! I’m sure you will do great! Can’t wait to “hear” the results!

    1. vita88

      Thanks Britton! Looking forward to blogging on your site for Monday…:-)

  5. Kristina Walter @ Kris On Fitness

    Ok, here I go. My parents are “off the boat” Hungarian so when I was little and being the oldest, I didn’t speak any English when I went into Elementary School. In the first grade, with my English still being bad, I was told to bring in empty toilet paper rolls for art but what I brought in was full rolls. A little lost in translation moment! Got a good chuckle from my classmates and I managed to stock the bathroom for the day.

    1. vita88

      That is really too cute, but I understand the embarrassment of a first grader! Thanks Kris.

  6. Kim

    Thanks for the first story – I enjoyed the pee incident!!! And, a tip I got yesterday for your race – just pour water over yourself if you need to pee!!!
    Love your goals for the race – I know you are going to rock it – can’t wait to hear all about it.
    My first half marathon (20 + years ago) was awesome – I didn’t know what I was doing so I just went out and ran it hard. 1st female and in the top 20 over all – 1:33. (I think I will try the same strategy this weekend – just go out and run – it’s what I know!)

    1. vita88

      Oh how I wish I could have poured water over myself!! That is definitely a good one.
      I really love your philosophy of just “go out and run!” My husband usually says the same thing. He knows nothing about running and racing and is always like “don’t you just have to go out there and run?” Yep.
      Good luck to you!!! Monday is going to be fun!

  7. Holly

    Most embarrassing moment was when I scored in basketball at the wrong hoop…thats just one of many times and thus why I guess I stopped playing haha. Can’t think of any embarrassing moments that have taken place in the past year…but I’ll keep thinking.
    You are going to do great this weekend! You’ve worked your butt off and this race was made for you to PR. Have a good rest of your week and I’ll be thinking about you this weekend!

    1. vita88

      Thanks so much Holly!! I think it’s probably best that you gave up a basketball career although the opposing teams probably miss you!!

  8. Sara @ Fit.Fun.Femme

    You always make me laugh! I don’t have any sports related embarrassing stories, but I did stuff mu bra in middle school and the tissue came out of the top of my dress at a Bar Mitzvah. I told everyone it was a downey sheet that got stuck to the inside of my dress. BRIGHT RED!

    I love these goals. No matter what, you will make one of them. The other two are just bonuses.

    ROCK IT OUT MAMA! Can’t wait for you to report back. And I totally know how you feel…once you put it out there on the blog it’s like one of the 10 commandments…set in stone.

    1. vita88

      OMG that is so funny about your bra stuffing!!!
      Thanks so much!

  9. Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama

    I LOVE Mary Lou Retton! Had a poster of her in my bedroom when I was a little girl. I totally sucked at gymnastics though! Has anyone ever told you that you look like her? But cuter! And way more fierce! You’re going to ROCK your half! I have to figure out my marathon goals soon, and I hear ya on the vomit-inducing pressure once they’re announced to the world. And way to win that floor competition. You’re AWESOME!!

    1. vita88

      That is too funny about Mary Lou!! I was told when I was younger (and in gymnastics) that I looked like her which was a huge compliment to me because she was my IDOL! I had the same haircut too.
      It’s so fun that there’s so many of us gearing up for races. I cannot wait to read your outcome for your marathon. Let me know what you’re goals are but, no vomiting allowed!

  10. Tamara

    I think I wet my pants at a sleepover when I was ten. And I hadn’t done that in five years! Something about being ten.
    I really want to think of an embarrassing moment now. I probably have so many. And they’re so much better than just tripping and falling.

    1. vita88

      When you’re in elementary school there’s probably nothing more embarrassing then wetting your pants. I feel your pain! If you think of anything else, be sure to come back and let everyone know – ha ha!!!

  11. Hope

    OMG that pee story is funny. Were you nervous? …and you still killed it! So the fact that you placed roughly the same every year in that race meant that you’re stronger than your sickness and you probably would’ve killed the half too 🙂 I’ve been running for almost 2 years and I can only dream of being half as fast as you.
    Love your goals. love having 3. My race goal is always to finish better than the race before…doesn’t always happen.

    1. vita88

      I was SO nervous and I had to go to the bathroom (obviously) but didn’t have time before my turn on floor. Oops!
      As a runner you know it’s not about being fast. It’s just being out there and doing it because running is HARD at any speed…but also very rewarding!
      Thanks Hope!! Maybe for your next race you can set two goals? :-0

  12. Joi @ Rx Fitness Lady

    Omg to your leotard fiasco! Super cool that you were a fairly good gymnast! I have always been engrossed in that sport for the Olympics and I just loved that show on ABC Family “Make it or Break It”. Anywho, good luck with the race this weekend. I love setting goals, that should help you focus your energy!

    1. vita88

      That’s funny – I’ve never heard of that show!? You’re just so young Joi that my old lady self probably missed it!
      Thanks so much!!

  13. Melissa Burton

    Your determination is admirable. You are the epitome of what the body can do post-pregancy – with twins no less! I bet your boys are happy to have you as a role model.

    My most embarrassing moment is when I gave a presentation on prenatal nutrition to a group of midwifes at a birthing center when I was a nutrition student and they skewered me. It was awful and unbelievably scary. I still can’t believe that this is the field I plan to go into…still.

    1. vita88

      Yikes!!! Talk about a hostile audience!! You are very courageous to still be pursuing that. Go YOU!
      Thanks for the accolades but if I wasn’t lucky enough to love fitness and running so much I’m sure I wouldn’t do it. It really helped me to get through my pregnancy and once those kids were out, I felt like a new woman! The boys love coming to my races now but they don’t fully understand. Which is actually awesome b/c they couldn’t care less if I meet ANY of my goals. Love that.

  14. FitBritt@MyOwnBalance

    Oh my gosh! The gymnastics story is so funny! I like the idea of having three goals for a race. It’s such a great way of feeling like you are a success no matter what!!

    1. vita88

      Thanks Britt!! You just never know what you may get, and I’m a planner, so three goals just makes sense to me.

  15. Charlotte @ Commitness to Fitness

    Wow- ok so you know how life is all about perspective- to me, the fact that you were even at all those races is freaking amazing!! sounds like you have some awesome goals for this upcoming race- good luck on sunday!!

    1. vita88

      Thanks for that perspective Charlotte! I really could use some of that right about now!! Thank you.

  16. Leah

    That pee story is priceless!!!! So glad that you went back out there. I think goals are a great thing – they help you put things in perspective, help you quantify the success and make you more accountable. You are an amazing woman! Good luck!!

    1. vita88

      So true about goal setting! If there’s no accountability, what’s the point? Thanks Leah!

  17. Allie

    Allie, it’s amazing how quickly we bounce back when we are kids. But I do have to admit. I wonder if it’s the peeing on yourself or the Mary Lou Retton leotard that would bother you now. Not sure. LOL!

    I get the three goals thing now that you put it out there. I may have to start doing that for everything. Wake up. Check. goal complete (most days).

    Good luck to you!!!!

    1. vita88

      Ha ha ha!!! Probably both!
      Yep, somedays that’s about all I can get completed also. After this race, I’m looking forward to sleeping IN and putting my feet UP. At least for one day!
      Thanks Carla!!

  18. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    OMG you are AMAZING Allie! Those are some pretty incredible highlights. With regard to the first one? I can’t even imagine but glad your mom had a backup leotard and that you were able to get out there and do so well. You inspire me!

    1. vita88

      Thanks Christine! As a mom, I hope I’m as prepared for every situation as she was.

  19. Angela

    Talk about finding the silver lining! Congratulations on your accomplishments. I am not a runner, I don’t enjoy it even though I know many who do. I blame it on boobs…I think boobs bouncing is too distracting while I’m running 🙂

    1. vita88

      Well, lucky for me, I don’t have any boobs! I agree it can be distracting and some days, I wish I had that distraction!! Thanks Angela. *loved* your story in your book. I’m posting about it tomorrow. Tonight I’m looking forward to some wine…and hopefully nothing on the couch – ha ha!!

  20. Michelle

    I always wondered about those people that you hear about that pee during a race until it happened to me and there was nothing I could do about it. Maybe it is an age thing? All I can say is good thing for the fact that I was completely drenched from dumping water on myself (it was super hot) and I doubt anyone noticed. But I was completely mortified that it happened!

    1. vita88

      It’s probably a combo of age and nerves. And the elites just don’t want to stop so they let it fly. I don’t think I’ll ever be that desperate in a race but accidents definitely do happen, obviously. With all that water along the course, I’m sure your secret was safe!

  21. Mrs. Pancakes

    love that you were brave enough to share your gymastic story…and racing even though you weren’t feeling well…you are a trooper….i feel like the idea of having goals for your races are such a great idea. good luck and i am sure you will smoke them all!!

    1. vita88

      Thank you for the confidence boost!!! I’m ready!

  22. Mothering From Scratch

    {Melinda} I have so much respect for your discipline and tenacity! 🙂 And don’t feel bad about your gymnastics incident. I would have embarrassed myself just by trying to do any type of gymnastic move!! 🙂 Coordinated girl I am not!

    1. vita88

      Thanks so much Melinda! I’m proud of what I did all those years ago but let’s hope it remains *the* most embarrassing moment.

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