Reach the Beach and Why I Hate Past Stimey

About a year ago, Past Stimey’s friend asked her if she wanted to run a 200-mile, 12-person relay race in New Hampshire in September of 2013. Past Stimey thought that sounded like a blast and after all, Past Stimey didn’t really have to worry about actually racing in said relay race (Reach the Beach) because that was Future Stimey’s problem.

Past Stimey can go fuck herself. This comes straight from Present Stimey, who has to run this motherfucking race THIS COMING FRIDAY AND SATURDAY.

Here is how the race works: It is 200(ish) miles. There are a bunch of us on our team. There are 36 legs of varying lengths and intensities. Each of us runs 3 or 4 legs. I will, over the course of 30-something hours, run three legs of almost 7 miles each.

I am freaking out.

I am in an all-day, every-day, full-body panic.

I mean, I’m going for one last run Wednesday, before I fly up to New Hampshire on Thursday, so there is still time for me to sprain an ankle or get hit by a car or something.

As George Costanza said, wishing his fiancée would get in a plane crash before he had to marry her: “It’s something. It’s hope.”

At least I have a buddy.

He's wearing a reflective vest so he can help out on the night legs.

He’s wearing a reflective vest so he can help out on the night legs.

You guys. I for reals want to cry or throw up every time I think about it. I know neither of those things are all that much out of character, but it’s still kind of a bummer.

Here’s the thing: I can run the miles. I know I can do that. As far as putting one foot in front of the other, that will happen.

However, there are a number of other things that Past Stimey didn’t consider when she so flippantly agreed to take part in this race. I could list all of these things, but it mostly just comes down to my issues with socializing, with needing downtime, with worrying about letting my teammates down because I am so goddamn slooooow, about being autistic in a little van with a slew of other people and a plethora of what are sure to be interesting smells, about body image issues in a field of fit runners, about (my) control issues, about not knowing what to expect, about…

Well. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

I would probably be less stressed if I were supposed to run a marathon this weekend (something I am nowhere near ready to do), because at least if I were doing that, I wouldn’t have eleven other people counting on me. I am not, how you say—a team player. In fact, I have spent most of my life avoiding team situations. I’m really mad that Past Stimey forgot that about us.

Here’s something else though: I know this is going to be good. It is going to be so fucking good. My teammates are good people. My team doesn’t care when we finish, we just care that we finish. I have been mentally preparing myself to put my head down and push through the lack of down time and my social issues, knowing that I can come home and decompress.

I know that this race and the people I do it with are going to be one of my favorite memories. I know that I will come home on Sunday wanting to race again next year. I know all of these things, but that doesn’t stop my anticipatory anxiety.

I have to walk through this anxiety to get to the good part.

Near Future Stimey is going to be really happy. Near Future Stimey is going to have an adventure and a ton of fun this weekend. Near Future Stimey is going to have a million stories.

Present Stimey, however, is going to panic. That’s just the way it is. I know it is going to be great. I really do. Still, if I make it to the start line without puking, it will be a minor miracle.

Humor me, tell me I’m going to be awesome, share a great running song, and make me laugh with a suggestion for a race hashtag? Wish me luck, okay?

photo-2Keep track of my teammates and me on Facebook and Twitter.

53 thoughts on “Reach the Beach and Why I Hate Past Stimey

  1. You are going to be AWESOME!!! And Algernon is totally going to help you drink beer after it is all over! And take crazy awesome photos of you! Because you ROCK!!!! I wish I were you.

    Good luck.

  2. You ARE going to be fantastic. You will NOT let anyone down! Yes, the van WILL smell. And I totally get the downtime thing. But when it’s done you will be so happy with yourself. Just, um, tell Past Stimey to check with you next time.

  3. YOU ARE AWESOME, in all your past, present and future forms.
    Teams are great for SUPPORTING each other, you will be great.
    See you next week for both of our recaps of race awesomeness.

  4. It was a toss-up between Chariots of Fire and the theme from Rocky. I think I’d go with Rocky or maybe running in slow-motion might not be so bad?!? ;P

    You ROCK!!! Good on you for doing this. Personally I would rather stick a fork in my eye than run. Good Luck and I can wait to hear all about your fantastic weekend!!!

    • I could do slow motion running. I ran a race in San Francisco a loooong time ago and there was this crazy hill (as there are in SF) and someone whose apartment was at the very top of the hill was blasting Chariots of Fire music from their window. It was the best thing ever.

  5. Same here on the fork-eyeball thing rather than running! Past Stimey has landed you in this but YOU CAN GET THROUGH IT. Basically, the worst that can happen is you start rocking and moaning in the van and everyone will think you’re crazy and halfway through your second leg you’ll go into shutdown and hide in the woods/shrubbery/bury yourself under a heap of sand. AND THAT’S OK. If your teammates hate you for it, THEY are the ones who aren’t teamplayers. Seriously. Being a team means taking care of everyone, including the ones who are “letting you down”. You are bloody awesome simply for saying yes to this run. Screw everything else.

    There. All done now. Hope it helps and I’ll be rooting for you! :)

    • This actually really helps, because I know my teammates will be cool with whatever I do. So there you go, right? It has to be okay.

  6. Another legendary post. Wow, out of the park!

    Okay, a few positive imagery/music suggestions:
    * Chariots of Fire [natch]: “Where does the courage come to finish a race? It comes from inside…” – Eric Liddle, pointing to his heart
    * Chariots of Fire: Eric Liddle gets pushed to the ground during a race, gets up and with gut-wrenching effort, comes from behind to win, at which point Harold Abrahams’ coach, Sam Mussobini says, “Not the prettiest bend I’ve seen run, but certainly the bravest.”
    * Last of the Mohicans: “Stay alive! Survive! I WILL find you!” – Hawkeye [Daniel Day-Lewis], before loping off at speed, to that haunting music [Day-Lewis ran many marathons in those days]
    * Keep On Runnin’ – awesome song by Steve Winwood & The Spencer Davis Group
    * Long Train Runnin’ – The Doobie Brothers
    * ‘It Keeps You Runnin’ – ditto
    * ‘Runnin’ With The Pack’ – Bad Company
    * ‘Running on Empty’ – Jackson Browne

    As for the team/ crowd/ downtime thing:
    * I get you – that’s what we runners are like.
    * Yet even runners can bond a bit – for a short while. Quietly.
    * And what if YOU smell/ fart etc in the van, hmmm?

    Now go open a can of whoop-ass and DO THIS THING. [And if it helps to visualise unleashing that on Past Stimey…]


    • Me? Fart? Oh no, sir. Absolutely not.

      Oh, who am I kidding? I will be the smelliest of everyone.

      Also, you win comments.

  7. P.S.

    “Death is not the biggest fear we have;
    our biggest fear is taking the risk to be
    alive – the risk to be alive and express
    what we really are.”

    ― Don Miguel Ruiz [author of The Four Agreements]

    You go, Girl… you can do this, and being fully present, you might just enjoy it, too :-)

  8. These relays are LOTS of fun, everyone is so supportive and if you have a great team, you cannot let them down (by which I mean it is impossible, not that you must not). Everyone puts in what they have and supports the others and that’s that.

    There should also be periods of time when your van is “off” and you can go lie down in a field and daydream or generally relax. Plus, by the second day everyone is probably going to be too sleepy to speak to you anyway :)

    Go Stimey! you will be awesome!

    • Thank you! This helps, especially knowing you’ve done relays. I am going to be on the lookout for that field.

  9. You are and will be awesome. Buy some earplugs for the van rides, it’ll cut the noise level. Is there a book you’ve been wanting to read, get it, put it on your bed side table or wherever you put books you’re meaning to read, and it will be waiting for you as a reward when you get back.

    When I need to get something done that maybe I’m not exactly feeling like doing I put on up tempo musical music. Such as ‘You can’t stop the beat’ from Hairspray, ‘When You’re an Addams’ from The Addams Family, ‘Dinner Time’ from You’re a Goodman Charlie Brown, ‘Razzle Dazzle’ from Chicago.

    • I will get to come home to a new episode of Breaking Bad, so that will be a good reward. And I’m so with you on the music.

  10. You will not be the first person to puke before a race or during a race or after a race. Go get it!

    • You’re totally right. I can do pretty much any disgusting thing between now and Sunday and blame it on the race, can’t I? Mayhap I can call it #racemadness

  11. Shhhh… Don’t tell. Having blogged during a three year “roadschooling” trip (in RV with two teenagers – one with AS – and a dog) the best memories AND blog entries come from pushing yourself to do things that the rest of us aren’t brave enough to do. Like this. WOW! I’m so proud of you!

    I so understand angry you can be at Past Stimey… She just wants to have great stories to tell when she is old. I can hear the new theme music playing now.

    p.s. the really, really best five-star blogs are when things go terribly horribly wrong and it works out to be better than anyone ever imagined. So I hope this experience is only a four-and-a-half star blog!

    • I second your hope for 4 1/2 stars! :)

      Also, Reach the Beach is nothing compared to three years of roadschooling. Damn, that is awesome.

      • OH – wait – you know I said that b/c you mentioned spraining an ankle, right? And b/c, well, you know. Broken ankles aren’t fun. As I can prove. :( Though I know some excellent ortho surgeons and physical therapists, should you need them, AND I hope you don’t!

        #racemadness sounds great. I was just going with the – you know – lakemadness theme there.

        Have a great race!

  12. You can do this! I know you can!! I am thinking “What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger)” by Kelly Clarkson. And I like the #stayinalivehahahahastayinaliiiiiive hashtag…awesome!!

    • That one is already on my playlist. :) It is actually kind of ridiculous how many songs there are on my playlist in that theme (Survivor, Fighter, etc.)

      • Staying Alive is actually the song they used to teach us the right rhythm for chest compressions during CPR. Seriously. Some people have a sick, wonderful sense of humour. :P

  13. You can do this! I did one of those 50 mile walks a lot of years ago. I know it’s not the same, but go with me here. I spent the vast majority of day two begging one of my teammates to push my into traffic so I could ride to the finish line in an air conditioned van instead of walking in the stupid humidity. Alas, no one took me up on it, and I had to finish myself. And? IT FELT AWESOME. You’ve got this, Stimey.

  14. You are going to be AWESOME! I know you can do it. Bring extra earbuds because if something happens to your first pair you’ll be bumming without a backup. Bring extra extra underwear in case you poop yourself (kiddingnotkidding!) I recommend Florence and the Machine’s Dog Days are Over and Kelly Clarkson’s Stronger for your playlist. Oh, and Eye of the Tiger, of course! You got this!!

  15. We will be happy to have you here in Canada.
    I recommend Bruce Springsteen, “Born to Run”.
    Noise cancelling headphones, and a kleenex spritzed with a scent you like. Create your own sensory bubble in the van. Pretend to be asleep.

    • I am the motherfucking master of pretending to be asleep. Sometimes I actually fall asleep.

      You are very smart.

  16. OMG. I am so proud of you! You are GOING TO BE FRICKING AWESOME. You are going to be so happy with yourself when you are done. Congratulations in advance. I’m inspired. Maybe I’ll go on a walk.

  17. No matter which Stimey was running, or planning to run, or worrying about running, or had just finished puking in the parking lot before, during or after said running… you are so goddamned perfect, Jean, that I hope you just take all of this as part of the journey. Embrace the suckage, pukage, anxiety, hope, wishes, excitement, smells, expectations and everything else. Embrace them and know that no matter what you need to do at any moment in time, in any space, to be true to those feelings and experiences, you are allowed to do so – you are allowed to veer off course – to alter the plan. And at the end of any race, your friends won’t need you to have done anything other than be the best of what you had to offer in those moments of teamwork.

    Sometimes we lead the team, sometimes we keep pace with the team, some times we are covering the team’s rear end ;0)

    Love you, Girl. You continue to inspire me and give me hope that being me is just fine. ;0)

  18. I know you can do this! You are one of the strongest women I know. Get out there and kick some butt. When you need to, you can think of a miniature me sitting on your shoulder saying “take three deep breaths, tuck in like a turtle (see tucker the turtle) and then relax, picture your happy safe place, etc.etc” or you could just picture me cutting onions the other night with your onion goggles on and have a good laugh! Hugs to you.

    • OMG, the onion goggles. I can’t tell you how much I love that you use those. That is the image I will use. For sure. Ha!

  19. Why are you so down on Past Stimey? She seems to be a very cool, interesting, adventurous person. I’m betting that Past Stimey’s kids look up to her; I know I do. I’m also betting that Future Stimey would want to hang with her, maybe grab a coffee or rescue orphans from a burning building or something. Present, Past, and Future Stimey probably have a lot more in common than we realize.

    The stress and anxiety are real. Don’t beat yourself up for feeling them, and do whatever you need to nurture yourself. But, you know, I think I’ve finally come to understand that anxiety and nausea are the price for doing the things in life that *matter*–that are meaningful, important, and will change me (or someone I love) in the way I ultimately want to grow. If I’m anticipating an activity that makes me want to puke, I try to make a moment from flop-sweating to pat myself on the back and tell myself, “That desire to hurl is a sign that I’m doing exactly what I need to be doing.” Sometimes, when everything else fails, this realization helps me put those anxieties in perspective and carry on.

    And Past Stimey was right. This is something you should be doing, and you will be awesome at it. We are all prouder of you than you know.

    And if you need something in the short term to deal with the stress, well, there’s an app for that. Search for “Relax With Andrew Johnson Lite” in the App Store. Free, and works every time.

    Good luck! You will accomplish something amazing this weekend; listen to your gut. :)

  20. Pingback: #racemadness | Stimeyland

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