Friday, June 28, 2019

When Lace Thongs Are Inappropriate

I took a little trip down memory lane the other day, and was amused. I thought it might amuse you, too.

I was Face Time chatting with my sister, Rachel. She was cleaning out her office, and had found a cache of photos from 2008, when she ran the Houston Marathon. I'd actually ended up finishing the race with her, and we were reminiscing about it when I said, "Hey, do you remember....?" and she said, "OH I REMEMBER. WE ALL DO".

A story about running and my panties. Or, a cautionary tale about lace thongs.

Rachel had been training for this marathon with a group of friends for months. She was excited about it, and I wanted to support her, so I came out to hang with her husband Andy and the support crew for the group, and watch her run. I got there a little late, so I didn't see the start of the race, but I caught up with Andy and the crew at one of the check points. It was pretty far into the race, if I recall, and the pack of running pals was starting to break up at this point. Some of them running faster than others, some struggling. Rachel was struggling a bit, and getting left behind by her group. One of the reasons runners train and run in a group is because the encouragement and feel of a group task can make it feel easier, so there was concern about her essentially running alone, which by the time mile 18 or so came around, she was.

Now, it was a warm day, but not a hot one - February in Houston - and I had come out to watch the race in jeans and a t-shirt. Maybe I had a hoodie, I don't remember. But somewhere before Mile 21 I decided I would run the rest of the race with her, to keep her company. I'm not a runner, but I did a lot of cardio and had good muscle strength, so I figured I could do it. Someone had a pair of loose cotton shorts they loaned to me, I quick changed in the back of a car, and when she hit the next check point shortly after Mile 21, I joined her.

I'll add at this point that doing ten miles on an elliptical machine in an air-conditioned gym (which I did 3 to 5 times a week and felt quite smug about, thank you very much) is NOTHING like running five miles on a road. Roads suck.

Aside from the Roads Suck Factor, one other thing became glaringly obvious less than a mile into the five: I had worn the Wrong Underwear for this endeavor. Remember, I wasn't supposed to be in this race, so I had dressed as I always did, which included thong panties. Running and thongs Do Not Mix.

By the time we hit the next check point, which was at mile 23 or 24, the gusset had ridden up and wedged itself between my outer labia, and the lace - did I mention it was lace? - felt like saw blades up in there. SAW. BLADES. Rusty ones. There was no way I was going to be able to finish this race if I had to keep those panties on.

We run up to Andy and his pals, who incidentally were all husbands or boyfriends of the other runners in her group, and they've got water and PB&J sandwiches and orange slices, and Andy says to me, "What do you need?" And I replied, "I need to get rid of this damn thong."

Andy went, "Uhhhhh" and all the other guys went, "Uhhhhh." and I said "No, I'm fucking serious. I HAVE TO GET RID OF THIS DAMN THONG."

I ignored the wide eyes and dropped jaws and reached up under the leg of those borrowed loose cotton shorts to break the lace band at my hip, but it wouldn’t snap. Too strong. But it was stretchy, so I changed my approach. I grabbed onto Andy's arm so I could balance on one leg, grabbed that strip of lace, and pulled it down my leg. I raised my foot as I as far I could as I pulled it down, managed to get it off my foot over my shoe, then reached under the other side and yanked it through the shorts and down my leg. I tossed it on the ground in front of Andy and all the other guys with the biggest sigh of relief I've ever let out in my life and said "That’s better. I'll take some orange slices now."

And they just stood there, staring at my black lace thong on the pavement, likely reliving the flash of bare crotch I'd probably just given them with my hiked-up leg and loose shorts because I didn't CARE I just wanted the damn thing OFF, and Andy said, his voice low and a little bit awed, staring at the thong, "That. Was. Awesome."

We ate our orange slices and drank our water and took off again, and I ran the last few miles commando, keeping my sister company, greatly relieved to not have black lace saw blades in my crotch. After the race Andy gave me my panties back in a plastic sandwich bag with a big grin, and none of the other guys could look at me without grinning and a few blushes, and according to my sister they still talk about it.

Which really, is all I can ask for.

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