What really happened (Twilight 10K recap)

by Kim on May 29, 2013

So, as you know, I ran a 10K over the weekend.

Yesterday, I reported that I didn’t quite hit my goal time but still had a blast. I got to wear some cool blinking bracelets, and it was all sunshine and roses.


Well, obviously that’s not the whole story. In fact, the truth is that I was much more traumatized/disappointed/frustrated than I let on.

So today, I’m here to tell you what REALLY happened. Get ready for a wordy post (sorry!) and a little TMI. (You’ve been warned. If you are, say, a male relative of mine, you might want to stop reading now.)

Saturday morning, I worked the race expo for 5 hours. My shift was originally supposed to be longer, but I was worried about being on my feet all day right before the 10K, so I split the shift with another girl. At 2 PM, I headed home with two priorities for the afternoon: putting my feet up and hydrating.

Mason was going down for a nap right as I got home, so it was the perfect time to hit the couch for a guilt-free veg session. These legs weren’t gonna rest themselves.

As the hours went by, I started getting more and more nervous. I’d never done a night race before, and it felt weird that it was the middle of the afternoon and I still had a race to run that day.

By dinner time, my stomach was full of knots, and I had zero appetite. I hadn’t eaten lunch until I’d gotten home after 2, so I decided to pass on dinner rather than risking possible stomach cramping or fullness. (I’m always struggling with timing meals around runs, and I know I’m much better off on a mostly empty stomach.)

Instead, I focused on gearing up.


Bracelets from Kelly and the weird light saber necklace that came in my race packet.

It was around 50 degrees, so I opted for the long sleeve/legging combo. Too bad I didn’t know I’d later regret both choices.

The other thing that was giving me anxiety all day was trying to track down a last-minute babysitter so Brent could meet me at the finish line. Originally, we were thinking Brent’s sister and family would be visiting, and that one of them would be able to stay with little M, but they ended up having to cancel the visit last minute when their son got sick.

Obviously, I didn’t need anyone to meet me at the finish line, but I’ve done my share of races alone and it’s just not the same. When everyone else is hugging and taking pictures with their giant signs, gearing up for the after-party, and you’re just heading off to your car alone—it’s pretty depressing.

Luckily, a friend agreed to be our last-minute babysitting savior, so I didn’t have to feel like a complete loser.

Anyway, Brent dropped me off at the race around 7 PM. I was paranoid about the parking situation after what happened last year, but it turns out I didn’t need to be. The night race atmosphere was totally different than what I was used to: everything felt much more laid back, there was plenty of open parking and—weirdest of all—ZERO LINES for the porta-potties. Tons of people were just hanging out on the lawn, casually stretching and chatting.

lawnThis pic isn’t from the actual day—in reality, it was freezing and a little darker—but I wanted to give you a visual.

There were also lots of people just out strolling around, completely oblivious that a race was about to happen, which felt totally strange. Usually, at morning races, the streets are quiet, and no one’s hanging out by the starting line at the break of dawn unless they’re involved in the race.

Since I was freezing and had an hour to kill, I started circling the capitol square, power walking and listening to Chariots of Fire on my iPod (haha). About 15 minutes before 8, I hit the porta-potty and then joined the stretchers on the lawn next to the starting line.

Shortly after, we were asked to start lining up. True to the laid-back vibe of the race, we self-seeded, which I’d never done before. I shuffled back maybe 25 meters from the starting line and sized up the people around me, trying to guess how fast they were. (As you can imagine, that didn’t go very well.) When I looked behind me and saw hundreds of people, going back as far as I could see, I got a little nervous about my spot. But then, I asked a woman next to me what time she had in mind, and she laughed and said, “A slow one!”

The last thought I had before we started was: “Shoot. I need to go to the bathroom again.” Too late.

I expected a rocky start, given the crazy seeding situation, but we actually got going pretty smoothly. I hung around the outside of the pack so I’d be in a good position to pass people if needed, but I was also trying not to go out too fast. Every few seconds, an obviously very-poorly-seeded sprinter would burst out of the crowd and go tearing past me.

About 1/4 mile into the race, we started approaching the finish line for the next day’s half marathon, and people’s reactions were pretty hilarious. I realized I’d forgotten to start my music, because I could plainly hear things like “Shortest 10K EVER!” and “Thank God—I’m exhausted!” Steps before the finish line, we split off to the right, and everyone let loose.

I couldn’t help getting swept up in the thrill of the first mile. There were plenty of spectators (since the starting line was in the same place as the finish) and the runners were still pretty amped up themselves. Right away, there was a nice little uphill, followed by a nice little downhill.

race shotHeel strike much?? Geez.

And that’s when everything changed.

I think I’ve talked a little bit on here about the stress incontinence problems I’ve had since giving birth over a year ago. I haven’t gone into too much detail, since it always felt like TMI, but there’s no way I could recap this race without talking about it.

As I was flying down that hill, I felt a little leak. Then a little more. Then a lot more.

I panicked, realizing that I had absolutely no control over what was happening and—even more worrisome—no chance of passing a porta-potty this early in the race. I slowed down a little, hoping to get my control back, and luckily, the road evened out.

Despite that setback, I was feeling great. My legs, lungs, and stomach (the big 3) felt perfect, and I was running a solid 8 minute mile. So, of course, when I did pass a porta-potty (surprisingly—it was still around the 1 mile marker), I wanted nothing to do with it. I figured the deed was already done anyway, and I could handle the discomfort, so stopping now would do nothing but sabotage my time.

And then, we hit another hill. The Big Poppa hill, which you’ll remember I specifically mentioned last week. Of course, I’d been worried about the going-up part then, not the coming-down part.

The trip down that hill is what made things get real. It wasn’t just a little leak or two anymore. (TMI ALERT…Let’s just say I could feel wetness down to my KNEES.) I knew my pants were soaked (WHY didn’t I wear shorts??) and was sure it was completely visible to the runners behind me (even though it was a night race, it was still pretty bright out then), but I was so panicked I could barely process any of that.

By some miracle, we hit a water station shortly after, and I dove into a porta-potty. I was so mortified and frustrated that I didn’t even bother to rush myself. I took my time, cleaned up as best I could, grabbed some water, and headed back to the race.

By then, I was in a completely different pace group and had to do a lot of passing to get to a place where I could run my race pace. I was also suddenly extremely hot, and started trying to push my sleeves up (WHY did I wear that shirt??). Unfortunately, that caused half of my bracelets to fly off (they weren’t very tight in the first place), and since I was unable to reattach them while running, I frantically stuffed them into my bra. Then, as I tried to push the rest of the bracelets higher on my arms so they wouldn’t bounce around, they fell off too. I ended up taking a short detour past a trash can to ditch them.

I was still kind of embarrassed about my pants, knowing there was no way people couldn’t tell what had happened (I just wanted to scream, “I had a BABY, ok??”…because that would help). But somehow, luckily, I didn’t care that much. I remember telling myself that I’d just have to keep running faster so people wouldn’t have enough time to notice—or if they did, so I’d never see them again. (And the extra wind didn’t hurt, either…)

race shot 2

By mile 3, I’d more or less recovered from everything that had happened up to that point, and my new problem became thirst. My mouth was so dry that I could barely think about anything else. Plus, I started doing mental calculations with my Garmin and realized that there was almost no way I could make my goal time anymore (short of running sub-7 minute miles).

Then, three beautiful things happened:

1. We hit a water station, where I drank some of the best tasting water of my life.

2. Out of nowhere, it seemed, darkness fell, which meant I could officially stop worrying about people seeing the giant sign on my back that said “I PEED MYSELF.” It was my secret. (Until now, as I’m sharing it with the entire world on the internet…)

3. We rounded a corner onto a bike path that offered a perfect, clear view of the capitol building. Aka: the finish line. We were still almost two miles out, but it could have been 20 feet. I felt the spirits of the runners around me all jump at the same time, and we all kicked it up a notch.

pathFound this online—this is the exact view!
Although, picture it dark, with the capitol lit up.

The rest of the race was an absolute dream. I was feeling great, my legs were strong, and my Garmin was constantly letting me know that I was staying at or above pace. The route started snaking through downtown, we started passing more and more spectators, and the end felt SO CLOSE.

This is the part I want to remember, when I think back on this race.

When we hit the final stretch of road leading up to the finish line, I could feel everyone falling back a little. The sidewalks were packed with people, signs, and photographers, and it would have been fun to coast in, enjoying those last steps and reveling in all the action.

But I decided to sprint.

finish line

I crossed the finish line huffing and puffing, barely able to breath, knowing that I’d given it my best. I didn’t see a clock, but later found out my official time of 53:34. Average pace 8:38, 27th in my age group (out of 130), 115th for women (out of 674). Not the sub-50 dream time I’d hoped for, but still a pretty decent showing… considering.


I went home disappointed about my time, but satisfied with my effort.

…And went straight to the computer to research upcoming 10Ks.


I’m thinking I might take some time off to work on the incontinence situation—maybe look into physical therapy. But I’ll be back. If nothing else, this race taught me that a 50-minute 10K is definitely within my reach. I had it.

I will have it. Next time.

IMG_3410Obligatory “let’s put this on the kid and take a picture!” picture.

Can any other moms out there relate to my…situation?

Have you ever done a night race before? Did it feel different to you?


{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Jade March 28, 2014 at 3:58 pm

I know I’m reading this way after the fact but I think this is way common than any woman believes. I had absolutely no issues with my first, nothing from pregnancy until he was about 21 months old and I am preggers with #2 and well sneezing is just ruined for me, I have to really mentally think and squeeze if you will otherwise watch out!


Presley @ Run Pretty May 30, 2013 at 7:01 pm

Let’s just say I’m not a fan of sneezing anymore. I FEEL YOU.

You did such a great job! I’m not joking when I say I might not have been able to finish strong like you did. I would hope that I’d be mentally tough enough to push it even with my goal out of my reach, but I’ve had trouble with giving up in the past. You rock for that.
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Carrie May 29, 2013 at 8:05 pm

I feel your pain. After two babies the same thing happens to me. Never thought about doing pt for it! Would love to hear if you go that route. Btw, it is so much better when it happens when you are wearing running shorts. Leggings not so fun. ) :


Kim May 29, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Yeah, my doctor prescribed the PT (along with a pessary, which was no help at all). I’ll let you know if I decide to pursue it. Ugh I sooooo wish I would have gone with shorts! :)


emma May 29, 2013 at 7:18 pm

Great time on the race!!
I didn’t think I had *issues* like you wrote about until about a week ago, I’ve been doing workout videos at home with lots of jumping jacks, jump squats, burpees and mid jumping jack I felt…the wetness.
I didn’t stop cause once it’s done it’s done but I couldn’t believe it!
I know kegels help but other than that, I’m not sure what else tightens the pelvic bowl muscles up. Maybe squats with kegels added?
If you find out anything that works for you, please share!!
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Kim May 29, 2013 at 10:02 pm

I sure will! Yeah, this kind of surprised me because I’m 14 months postpartum…why now?? What’s especially weird is that I did a half marathon at 7 months pp and only had a little leakage,NOTHING like this time. So somehow I’ve gotten worse??

I’ll definitely share any secrets I find. :)


Rachel @ Undercover Diva: A Sitcom May 29, 2013 at 6:59 pm

I’m doing a night race in October and it’s a 10-miler. I have NO idea how to prep for the race during the day!! I’m scared I’m gonna poop my pants ;) Sorry if THAT’S too much TMI. You still did an awesome time, though! Congrats!!
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Kim May 29, 2013 at 10:00 pm

In retrospect, I guess I should have started hydrating heavily a day earlier, so I could ease up on water right before the race. And I should have scheduled my final porta-potty trip to the last possible minute. :) Good luck!!


Angie May 29, 2013 at 2:48 pm

I’ve had 3 children and surprisingly have not had that problem. It sounds like you handled it well though!
I’ve done a few evening races (including my last race on Sunday) and it is a lot harder to stay motivated to run when you have to wait all day. Running and racing in the morning is much more natural for me.
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Kim May 29, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Lucky girl! :) That’s awesome.

I’m scared–if I’m already having this problem now, what’ll it look like a kid or two down the road??

So true about the waiting game. And it is nice to have the whole day after a race to relax and celebrate your accomplishment, rather than basically going straight to bed.


Jessica @ Prayers and Apples May 29, 2013 at 12:16 pm

..good for you for pushing through! i’m sure things like that happen all the time! i’m sure no one noticed!
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Kim May 29, 2013 at 9:55 pm

I hope you’re right about no one noticing. :)


Rachel B @ Busy Mama Fitness May 29, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Oh you poor sweet thing. Yes, that has happened to me! In fact, it happened on yesterday morning’s training run and on Sunday’s long run. It usually gets triggered if I’m running down hill or if I pick up speed. I *try* to remember to kegel while I’m running, especially if i’m running fast as that does help a little bit, but… it doesn’t always work. So, I just make sure to wear black wicking pants and hope that if anyone notices, it looks like I sweat profusely!

53:34 is still a really good 10k time, especially for your first and ESPECIALLY at night! My night races are always slower than my first thing in the morning races – not sure why? Maybe because you use up some of your glycogen during the day with normal daily/parenting activities? Now when you hit your 50 min 10k, you’ll be setting a NEW PR and have something to compare it to!
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Kim May 29, 2013 at 9:54 pm

Haha oh man, I was trying so hard to kegel during the race and was having ZERO success. But then, I guess I’d never really practiced it during training. The things we ladies have to do, ugh!

Interesting about your night races being slower. I really thought it’d be a benefit, since I’m not a morning person and usually love running at night. But yeah, it was a long day waiting for that thing to start.

Thanks for the encouragement Rachel!


Kim May 29, 2013 at 11:27 am

I have less problems when running and many more when doing any type of plyo! One day I did an excessive # of jumping jacks and even with about 4 bathroom breaks, I basically peed myself by the time I finished.
I know there are meds but I just consider it part of having babies!!
Great job on the race!!
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Kim May 29, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Yes! I’ve basically stopped doing plyo of any kind due to this problem. I used to do TurboFire a lot, but haven’t been able to handle all the jumping since giving birth. I guess it IS just part of having babies, but I’ve heard that there are ways to retrain your muscles. But then I’ll have another baby and ruin them all over again. :) :)


Kristin @ A Mom on the Run May 29, 2013 at 10:10 am

You are definitely not alone! I ha a similar situation at the finish line of the Princess Half. Not very princess like, but it happens!

I have some mom-runner friends that have to run with a pad/liner every single time they run due to leakage issues.


Kim May 29, 2013 at 9:47 pm

I thought about that and was actually *this close* to doing it, but I try not to do anything new on race day. Plus, I think in this case it wouldn’t have saved me anyway. Seriously considering Depends for next time. :)


Amy @ Writing While Running May 29, 2013 at 9:59 am

Yikes! Sorry to hear that. At least your pants were black so maybe you cannot see as much as if they were a lighter, brighter color? I have friends with this problem and they just kind of go for it and do not think about.
I, too, have dreams of a sub-50 min 10K one of these days. I tend to focus most of my training on longer races but one day I am going to make that happen and I am sure you will, too!
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Kim May 29, 2013 at 9:46 pm

Yes, the black was good, but I so regretted not wearing shorts. I only EVER run in shorts, normally, so I was really kicking myself!

Here’s to two future sub-50’s between us. :)


Sarah @ PickyRunner May 29, 2013 at 8:02 am

I like that you were honest about these things happening. During cross country, I peed myself every. single. race. My team thought I was hilarious. I’ve had much worse happen to me in a race, trust me. I don’t need to go into details. Sometimes things happen and you get sick or you just have no control and that’s life. I’d say it was definitely an awesome race considering. I made the same mistake this weekend with my outfit. I wore long sleeves when it was 40 out and I wish I had worn a tank top. They say dress for 20 degrees warmer than it is and until the half, I never believed it. Now I will never wear long sleeves if it’s above freezing again.
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Kim May 29, 2013 at 9:10 am

Wow, I would have never guessed that this happens to you, too! Thanks for sharing! When I’ve shared this with my running friends, I’ve just gotten blank looks. Do you do anything specific to combat it, or just go with the flow? (ha–lame)


Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama May 29, 2013 at 7:43 am

Thank you for sharing your race recap with us! I have two little girls, and let’s just say that they’ve done a number on me. When I was pregnant with #2, my OB even commented that being pregnant and being a runner had been tough on my bladder. Yikes! There are definitely times that I sneeze and think, oh dear, I just peed a little. And there are even more times that I’m finishing a tough run/race and think, oh dear, I just peed a lot! Thankfully it does get better. I’ve also heard that squats do wonders for your pelvic floor muscles.


Kim May 29, 2013 at 9:07 am

It’s so, so nice to hear others’ stories about this. I feel like no one talks about it! I’m glad to hear that it gets better, and I could totally see squats helping–good tip, thanks!

Have you done any physical therapy? I’m trying to decide whether I should pursue that, or just do more research online and figure out what exercises I should be doing…


Nicole @ Work in Sweats Mama May 30, 2013 at 9:14 am

I have my annual OB appointment in a few weeks, and I’m going to talk to my OB about this. I’ll let you know if she shares anything earth shattering!


Kim May 30, 2013 at 10:07 am

Thanks Nicole! I’m open to any and all advice. :)


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