If you missed the start of the story, read this post first. Then enjoy the pictures and read the two emails that Charla wrote to me about her jean-wearing adventure:
What you will find out in my write up is this is at the tail end of my run. Just ahead is the next exchange and my teammate, which is why my arms are odd – I was taking off the bracelet and getting ready to slap it on the next person’s wrist.
A few things you need to know or remember to appreciate this moment: 1) I did not start the day thinking I’d be running in jeans. 2) Even though I had been running all year, Insanity and other workouts have made me a bit more fit, i.e. my jeans are now a size too big.
Because I had only planned on driving in my jeans and I had to get up before the sun that day, I didn’t bother digging around my room for a belt that morning because a belt would have been one more thing to fit in my bag later. So, once I accepted the jogging jeans challenge, I used the only thing on hand – a blue rope – and tied it tight.
Not tight enough, apparently. So close, but it didn’t hold to the end. No, I didn’t slow down when my jeans started falling down but, yes, if you look closely, that’s the blue rope coming untied on the side and my white underwear showing for the world to see. Well, not the world, but all of the other teams. And, seeing as how word had already gotten out that a runner was coming in wearing jeans, they were all watching. It’s just a shame you can’t tell in the photo that there are also cute little polka dots on my underwear and a tiny pink bow in front. I have taste (if you don’t count the handerpants on my hands and the rubber snake around my neck).
Running in jeans was interesting. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. There was no chafing at all and I didn’t even cheat by wearing running shorts underneath (proof is in the photo) or Glide. The distance was a flat 5K and it was about 7pm. It had been raining all day, which is part of why I considered running in jeans that day. When I pack for Ragnar (this was my third Ragnar) I pack my running outfit for each leg in a one gallon bag. For that leg I packed a tank top and running skirt because it’s always warm then. Well, the weather had been terrible that day with major storms and cold rain. I thought I’d be freezing and started wondering how I could find something else to wear for running. That’s when I looked down, stared at the jeans I was already wearing, thought of you and that’s when the tweets started. Then I realized that the timing might never be more perfect to run in jeans. It’s already an unconventional and fun race. I have great teammates who were more interested in having fun than how fast I ran and it was an easy course. Once it was confirmed the rain would stop by then, (I’m not sure I would have been as willing if the jeans were going to be soaking wet – too heavy) the decision was made. All I needed was a rope for a belt and two beers to do it with gusto.
One thing I underestimated was the trick the jeans would play on my mind and body in that it refused to believe it was about to run. I had to stretch a little longer and turn on music ahead of time to try and convince my body that a race was indeed about to start.
No one else believed I was about to run either. At this particular hand off, teammates and vans are on the opposite side of the road from where the runners take off. A safety volunteer walks the runners across the street. Everyone else got crossed automatically but I had to make a request to be walked over because it was assumed I wasn’t one of the runners. Even when my teammate slapped the bracelet on my wrist and I took off, I think it was still assumed there was a mistake.
The first mile was surprisingly not bad at all and flew by. It was actually fun. The second mile wasn’t too bad either but I was thankful it was evening and knew it would have been uncomfortable had it been hot that day. The third mile is when I really start to feel the weight of the jeans. So much material! And it just stuck and clung like it was growing out of the ground and grabbing me. At least that’s what it felt like. That part was very frustrating. Reality is I ended up setting a pace PR by about a couple of seconds a mile.
This next part is what I think Dan tried to tell me would happen. While I was running, what I didn’t realize was happening was that word was getting out that there was a runner in jeans. When I was a few hundred feet out, a volunteer tracking the runners said, “they’re waiting for you.” It wasn’t until I slapped the bracelet on my teammate’s wrist that I saw the other spectators across the street with their phones and cameras up still taping me. The hero/celebrity status of running in jeans was almost humorous and I certainly underestimated it. A woman passed me at the very end but you would have thought it had been the other way around when she talked to me when it was over. It was like I had climbed Mt Everest and everyone else walked a 1K or somehow I was the only runner who had climbed hills while their course was flat. It continued into the next legs long after I was done running. Volunteers and runners were yelling to me in parking lots, “I heard about you. That was awesome!”
And, it was kind of awesome. At the very least, it was entertaining.
Would I do it again? I don’t know. It would depend on a few things. I am convinced everyone should try it at least once. Why? Because it is impossible to take a race (or yourself) too seriously when you run in jeans and everyone could use more light moments in life.