If yesterday’s blog post piqued your curiosity, welcome back! Here is the real story of my Mercedes (Ultra) Marathon. The race I will never forget, even when the 30 miles fade from memory and my medal loses its luster.
Men and squeamish women who like to pretend that periods don’t exist, this is your one-minute warning to vacate the premises. X-out now. Now. …Now.
Are you still here? I’m telling you, I’m not holding back with my descriptions. Get out. The remainder of the post contains a whole lot of this:
Ok, you’ve been fairly warned. I am no longer responsible for any projectile vomiting that occurs.
Since I have previously sung the praises of the Diva Cup, I feel that it is my duty to also show what happens when she fails you.
I started my race in yellow shorts.
I finished my race in black shorts.
Somewhere between the starting line and mile 17, my uterus gave me a big “fuck you” and cranked my period faucet to “high.” Yes, period faucets are real.
In all fairness to the Diva Cup, my visit from Aunt Flo did not catch me off guard. I was aware of her presence and planned accordingly. I glibly commented to friends about my bold decision to wear neon yellow shorts in a vain effort to look cute. I begged friends at the start to shoot the occasional glance at my ass to check for accidents. I didn’t realize that Flo was out to be a vindictive bitch this month.
To this moment, I don’t know if it was user error or if my cup had just runneth over, but let me tell you, it wasn’t pretty. In the middle of Darnell’s painful decision to stop running, she paused dead in her tracks and went, “Oh my God, it’s everywhere!”
And it was. My body was bleeding out. I ran through a gamut of emotions as I realized in horror that I had run 17 miles as a Tampax model and I still had 9 miles to go. Suddenly, it all made sense to me – that’s why I felt so tired, why my legs felt “sweaty,” why I was seeing stars.
A braver woman like that free-bleeder at the London Marathon would have owned the accident and kept running as-is. I am not that brave woman. I do not free-bleed voluntarily. I feared that people would think I was fleeing from a First 48 murder scene or had a deadly case of Ebola. I didn’t want to subject anyone else to my unplanned wardrobe malfunction.
Luckily, we were near a row of porta potties when Darnell realized my misfortune. Or so I thought. I frantically burst through the door of the first available toilet, and what ensued was nothing short of the bucket scene from Carrie. Ladies – never remove your cup in a hurry while standing up. It’s no bueno. It looked like Satan’s sprinkler had gone off in there. Like a butcher store for the blind. And, fittingly, there was no toilet paper to clean said mess. None.
I loudly let out a stream of expletives, fixed myself the best I could, and emerged from the box looking as if I had just helped deliver a baby. So what did I do instead of going back to the water stop for paper towels or an entire cleaning crew? Took off at a dead sprint in the opposite direction, silently apologizing to the next unfortunate runner who would happen upon that scene.
Using the sweater-around-the-waist technique that school nurses taught us all, I made it another mile to the water stop at the Alabama Theatre, where I confused the hell out of the high school students by graciously accepting their water and then dumping it onto my hands. Because bloody legs are slightly more explainable than bloody hands. Right? Right.
You know who your true friends are by the way they handle emergencies. And I owe a huge thank you to Sally and an even bigger apology to her boyfriend, Brian. I had sent an “OMG HELP ME” text to Sally, who lives on the course, then ran like a menstrual blood-preferring bat-out-of-hell to her house, where she had a trash bag and selection of new shorts waiting for me.
They’re the best. They let this dirty, crazed runner into their home without a second thought. Well actually, on second thought, Brian did avert his eyes as to not have my image forever burned into his corneas. I pulled a Clark Kent, if Clark Kent bled profusely from his crotch, changed, and slipped back into the race as if nothing had ever happened.
If you read yesterday’s race recap, then the remainder of my race will now make more sense to you. I felt awful. Terrible. Like a hunted deer whose blood had been drained out into a bucket. I was cramping like crazy. I had the sads. I wanted to be held while lying on a couch with a heating pad, eating chocolate.
The problem was, I was still 7 miles from the finish line. And I’ll be damned if any of my lady parts interfere with a race. So because Fergie says “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” I sucked it up and ran as fast as I could to make up for lost time. I crossed the finish line, grabbed my medal and sandwich, then proceeded to recount my nightmare to all my horrified friends.
At first, I was going to issue a public apology to anyone who witnessed my…accident. But on second thought, fuck that! People should apologize to me! Fellow female runners, we need to watch out for one another! We need to have each other’s backs and butts! If you see something, say something! God knows how long I ran as Birmingham’s bloody Valentine. Why didn’t anyone tell me?! Gah.
Just kidding, y’all. My sincerest apologies if I sprayed you like that obnoxious car in front of you washing its windshield on the interstate. Hope your clothes aren’t ruined.
So if any lady readers have made it this far, use my race as a learning moment. Check your cup. Bring backup supplies. Wear black. Get an IUD. Become pregnant. Avoid a period catastrophe at all costs. Don’t be like me.