Thursday, July 23, 2009

You may think it's funny but it's snot.

It was only a matter of time before I moved into the next phase of my training, which I would like to call the "Embarrassing Body Things Will Now Happen and You Need to Know Where to Spit Them" phase.

I'm not unearthing anything new here. One of our TNT coaches recently sent out a group email entitled "Too embarrassed to ask?" (um, yes please!) which covered such indelicate topics as toenails that turn black and fall off (advance apologies to the pedi ladies at Blooming Nails on Lex), leaky bladders (let's hope it's raining on the day this happens to me), and that age-old question of how to deal with the, ahem, trots. (Ugh, as if! Banana a day, man. I'm sealing up before I run.)

Being that my blog is read by hundreds of thousands as they eat breakfast (or just my mom ... hi Tina!), I will spare you the professional advice given for "Where 2 Go #2?" and say I am combating a cold this week and have my own bodily fluid question:

To snot rocket or not to snot rocket?

I started feeling cold-y after my race on Saturday and I steadily progressed into Balloon Head as I travelled this week for work. I plowed through, however, and even a stuffy head didn't stop me from banging out six miles around Nashville and doing some hill work on the hotel treadmill the next day.

But as we all know with colds, eventually that mucus has to build up and go somewhere. And this morning it was all in my nose. Like nineteen pounds of it. So I dutifully stuck a Kleenex in my shorts and headed for CP to run the loop. Note: one Kleenex.

About a mile in, sniffling wildly was simply not helping. My lungs were already clogged and I was at a much slower pace than I'm used to, so it was either me or the mucus that had to go. But with one lousy tissue, things were gonna get messy.

I took assessment of where I was. Remote location (East 100's, almost at Harlem Hill): check. Scant population behind me (other than a few cyclists and a family of raccoons crossing my path, no one): check. Easy access to shrubbery so as not to leave anything on Central Park's pristine pavement: check.

So here is where I leave you to your own imagery, since I would prefer to keep my ladylike facade on certain things.

Yes, I shot a snot rocket.

I cannot say I am proud, but it had to be done.

My very first race, I was pacing behind a dude who was sniffling like it was the only thing keeping his nose propped on his face. I knew it was coming. I could hear it. I could either try to blast past him quickly so I wasn't downwind from him or I could hang back. But it was a race, there were lots of people around me and ... I thought about it too long and there it came, right in front of me. In fact, had I not been anticipating its arrival and performed a ninja-like hop to my left as I saw him bring his finger up to his right nostril, it would have landed smack on my shin.

Probably wasn't the time to do it, but I gave an intentional, audible sigh-combo-"ughhhhh!" and as I zipped past him I like to think he saw me rolling my eyes from the east to the west sides of the park. I showed him!

Which leads me back to today and why I was a bit shocked at myself for being okay with what I did. Look, it's not that I have any issues with my usual dude-like behavior. Heck, most people think I ended up in New York after going AWOL during Fleet Week. But public spitting really icks me out. I mean, they execute people for that in some countries and I think they're getting off easy. Yeah, yeah, I live in New York City and routinely see people do much worse on the street (try living on Second Avenue on St. Patrick's Day). But I honestly do not want to be one of them ... and if I was one of them, I'd at least have the decency to do it away from my fellow runners.

For the rest of my jaunt around the loop, I used my tissue. Too many people at that point, too many opportunities to nail some unsuspecting runner right on his Asics. By the time I hit my lobby, my lone Kleenex was a damp, Swiss-cheesy tattering.

And the snot? Had not subsided in my nose one bit.

So look, fellow Snot Monsters: now that I've been there, I can understand why you do what you do. From here on in, if you're running anywhere around me and feel the need to shoot a rocket, as long as you do it politely I'm gonna give you a pass.

If you think you have the trots, however, all bets are off.

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