Drew got conscripted into helping his sister in law move, so he was not able to make the 11 miler this morning. Instead, we were joined by Richie’s friend, Justin. We started out at a pretty solid pace, averaging low 8’s per mile through the first 5 miles. When we stopped for water about halfway through, the execution of the day’s plan rapidly started to deteriorate.
In retrospect, I should have seen it coming when Richie retrieved a bag of “wipes” from his car and ran with those in his right hand. Certainly, the need to “go” is always a danger on a long run. I was a little worried myself. After my experience in the 2008 Walt Disney World marathon, I’ve learned to make a definite point of getting in a little morning activity to loosen the bowels before a long run. My time on the toilet was not as “productive” as I would have liked before the run this morning. So, I showed up at the park hoping the intestines would behave themselves.
As it turned out, I was fine. Richie? Not so much. Shortly after our brief water break, he ran ahead to a restroom. Justin and I continued along planning to meet up with him at the restroom. In the distance, I saw him disappear into the restroom building. I glanced at my watch and made note of the time, so we could measure his pit stop. Hey, you’ve gotta keep yourself entertained on a long run. A few seconds later, he popped back out.
“Damn, that was quick!” I thought.
He shrugged. The bathroom was closed. We were at the base of St. Petersburg’s iconic pier. We knew of another restroom at the end. It would add another mile to our route.
“Go for it,” I said, “We’ll run with you and we’ll just cut the loop around the park off the end of the run”.
“No problem,” I was thinking. “It’ll all come out okay in the end.” I giggled at my own pun. Richie ran ahead again, as Justin and I covered the distance to the end of the pier at just under 8 minute/mile pace. The men’s restroom was closed for renovation and Richie had just seen two women walk into the women’s room. So, we waited outside for them to exit. Just as the second woman exited, another woman dressed in a rather expensive print sweatsuit walked up.
“Hey, can I get in there?” Richie asked with fairly clear urgency.
“After I come out,” the lady replied rather tartly as she continued her prim arm swinging power walk right into the restroom.
Richie had a few choice words for the woman and decided not to wait. The grin on Justin’s face (and I suspect mine too) was rather priceless. Richie took off running toward the end of the pier. In frustration, he threw his bag of wipes at the seawall. Justin and I worked hard to keep up with him down the length of the pier as we endured an impromptu, adrenaline (Richie’s, not ours) induced fartlek.
We continued on our route for another mile and then made another detour into a marina. We located the restroom which was, of course, locked. Richie checked with a city employee who had no key. We continued for a few hundred meters to another restroom, marked “boat owners only”. This was also locked.
Hope, however, springs eternal. The city employee turned his truck around and got on the horn with a marina employee. The marina employee with the key walked over. Obviously relieved, Richie told Justin and I to continue along, then loop back around and meet him. We only got about 50 yards before we heard Richie shouting obscenities at us.
“I can’t f-ing believe this! 26 years of running and I have never, ever been “o” for f-ing four in finding a restroom! I’m standing there, watching the guy walk over with the key in his hand. My blood vessels are dilating. I’m getting all relaxed. I’m ready to go and he tells me he can’t open the door because the restroom is for f-ing boat owners only! F-it. I’m over it. I’ll just pull a ‘grete waitz’ on the way back”.
“I’ll just run in front of you then,” I replied, pretty sure he was only joking.
We made our way back to the park, finishing 10.88 miles in 1:41:32 – roughly 9:20 min/mile. That includes all the stops. I never stopped my watch. It was a pretty good run, restroom stops notwithstanding. Richie pulled some energy chews out of a pocket in the rear of his shorts and offered them to Justin and I. We politely declined.