Today call me rinsed.

Today call me rinsed. In fact, I’m pleased to report that as of this moment, my laundry regularly makes it through all six of our wash cycles. (Yes, Mom. I’m proud of me, too.) I realize this feat may be difficult for people to appreciate, but thorough rinsing is not a foregone conclusion when I’m the laundress in question. Even more noteworthy is the fact that my current well-washed status coincides with the approach of Super Bowl XLV. (I think XLV means forty-five. But Roman numerals are a bit baffling.)

True, I don’t much care about football. But I do care about the Surf City Half Marathon that’s scheduled, as always, for Super Bowl Sunday. So this February 6th, along with the Packers and the Steelers, I too will be seeking renewed glory (or maybe first-time glory) during my second-ever Surf City Half.

You see, three years ago, in a fit of insanity, I signed up for my first Surf City half marathon with my friend Diane and her friend June, both of whom had already run something like 45 halfs. XLV halves? (I told you. Roman numerals? Baffling.)

At the time, my longest run had been six (VI) miles, and I had three (III) weeks to double it. As I imagined dragging my couch-loving butt across 13.1 miles to half-marathon victory, I was at first truly excited. Then truly scared. (Especially about depicting 13.1 in Roman numerals.)

Still. The course began three miles from my sister’s house which meant I could stay with her that weekend. (FREE!) Surely this was a sign that, like the messenger Hermes, I was supposed to spread my winged feet and fly. So the day before the race, I packed up our family, snatched my one pair of running pants from the washing machine in mid-rinse cycle, and headed to my sister’s house.

“She has a dryer,” I thought. “That’ll work.”

Why the rush? 

I’m glad you asked. You see, I’d told my sister we’d arrive in time for lunch, and lunch is very important.

On the drive I was equal-parts hopeful and hungry. (Lunch!) And that’s when the storm set in.

I dried my running pants at my sister’s house on Saturday, but I needn’t have bothered. Sunday was a wet wet (wet) day.

On February 3rd, 2008, Di and June and I were literally racing in the rain. I was prepared, though, having borrowed a (FREE!) jacket from my wiser/drier friend. I had not, however, considered that the relentless downpour might agitate the laundry detergent in my half-rinsed running pants. Perhaps you can picture me now, the incessant rain feeding the friction between my skin and those slightly-soapy pants like a sinister backdraft nourishing a warehouse fire.

I began to foam at the knees.

Diane said, “It’s probably just the salt in your body. From the sweat.”

“But it tastes like Tide!” I gasped. And then I knew. “My knees look like this because I couldn’t be late for lunch yesterday!”

“If you think your knees are bad,” she told me, “you should see the view from behind.” Apparently, the place of greatest friction had announced itself the victor: I was bubbling from my lunch-seeking, couch-loving butt.

And oh, how I wish I were kidding.

Unbelievably, this was not the worst part of my experience that day. By mile ten, the excruciating pain in my I’ve-never-run-this-far-before knees grew more debilitating than the suds.

“Crap,” I moaned loudly, alerting Diane to impending disaster.

“What is it?”

“My knee. Knees. Both of them.”

“Is it the Tide?”

“No.” I winced, sliding a bit on my own soap slick. “I think my patellas hate me. Both of them.”

“Do you want some Advil?”

By way of answer, I began to cry. Or maybe that was the detergent in my eye. In any case, Diane dug from her pocket a packet of (FREE!) ibuprofen that looked to have been packaged sometime during the Nixon administration. Or 45 (XLV) halfs/halves ago.

She then said, “You’ll have to swallow these dry.”

I would’ve laughed at the irony, but I was in too much pain. As I tore the edge of the packet with my teeth, the long-ago crushed capsules spilled over my hands. Undaunted, I sucked the white powder from my fingers like a foam-covered junky. Half my body was already bubbling. What did I care? I’d have offered to fold fitted sheets for every one of the race’s spectators if their gratitude could’ve alleviated my hurt.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) we were less than a half hour from the finish line, so the meds didn’t kick in until Di and I were already shivering at our car. We covered the back seat with towels to soak up the rainwater and detergent streaming from my body. At last, my legs grew numb. From the Advil. From the cold.  From the thrill of wearing my surfboard-shaped “finisher” medallion.

I’d earned my lunch.

As we popped open the (NOT FREE!) bottle of champagne my husband had brought, I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. I felt sudsy. And stupid. But mostly, I felt happy.

“How are you?”asked Diane.

“Pretty much ready for a marathon,” I said. But the marathon story must wait for another day.

Because on this day, I’m making sure my laundry completes its rinse cycle. And also that I have my own Advil packet sealed in a decade reasonably close to 2011. Or MMXI.

Just to be baffling.

Last Modified on January 25, 2018
This entry was posted in Life
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61 thoughts on “Today call me rinsed.

  1. Di

    Today’s blog scores a X! Love it and love being a part of your story. You were great that day in the rain and you’ll be great this year whatever the weather gods have in store for you! I’ll be with you in spirit this year.

  2. Good luck on your half (I can’t figure out how to write half in Roman numerals). The only marathon I’ve ever done is a daily one: trying to outwit and outlast my twins each day. Not sure I’ve ever really made it.

    Like Di, I’d give your post an X!

  3. Thanks, Di ~

    My witness and co-conspirator. Don’t worry. I’ll be with you in spirit when you complete your first St. George Ironman. Overachiever.

    Love you anyway xoxo

  4. Ironic Mom (I know your name, but…I like the irony thing)

    Thanks for the X. I, too can’t figure out how to do halves (or .1 for that matter) in Roman numerals.

    Much like the metric system, this is an aspect of math and measurement that eludes me.

    But I must admit the following: If I’d had twins, I would’ve considered that feat enough of a challenge to NEVER attempt a marathon. Or a half. Or .1, either.

    You’re already a champion.

    Carry on.

  5. I can not believe you ran a marathon, or a half a marathon, or a Roman marathon. Wow. I’m impressed with myself when I run/walk my twenty daily minutes on the treadmill while watching the View.
    Kudos to you, super-woman.
    You should send that story in to Tide and see if they’ll sponsor you with something “free”.

  6. Ha! Yes– been there. I won’t tell you I’ve suds at the behind region — that may or may not have happened. I just signed up for a 5k and “hope” to do my first full marathon this summer. We could totally be running buddies… except for the whole geography thing!
    Good luck on Super Bowl Sunday!!!

  7. Oh Julie Julie Julie: I was so prepared to completely ooze with awe and admiration. The very idea of linking the word marathon, or half marathon, or even a skosh of marathon really, to my name is simply inconceivable. But then you went and foamed all over the story and now I no longer feel alienated from your impressively athletic hijinks. This is probably the XII time I’ve said this, but you have the comic timing of a goddess. Oh, and the running thing is pretty impressive too. 🙂

  8. Wow! A HALF marathon still sounds like a WHOLE torture session to me! I’m so impressed that you’d actually go for a REPEAT after the weather and laundry gods so clearly tried to communicate your bad choice the last time! Good for you!

    My favorite line was “Diane dug from her pocket a packet of (FREE!) ibuprofen she’d been hoarding since the Nixon administration.” This gal sounds like my kind of people! Come to my place for some Clinton era salad dressing any time! (he he)

    Great post, though my mind is going to be scarred for a while with the image of a Julie Gardner case of “mad butt disease” 😛

  9. Sheldon ran in the PF Chang marathon last week. She did pretty well until like mile 22 and then struggled and limped to the end. Not me, all that excersise gives me the willies.

  10. Hollye ~

    Thanks! You see now why I can’t say I’m aging “gracefully”…

    Loved your post. Thanks for coming here. Your support means so much to me ~

  11. Becky ~

    NO ONE else gets suds. I can promise you that. And you will be spectacular when you run your first marathon.

    Truly, that was one of the best experiences of my life.

    Can’t wait to follow along with you (on your blog and in my mind…because of the geography thing.)


  12. Heidi ~

    Believe me. Just when someone thinks I may have accomplished something impressive, she learns there’s ALWAYS a p.s.

    Like I was covered in soap. Or my shorts were on backward. Or or or…the list is endless.

    Luckily, I have an outlet here to share.

    As always, your support is greatly appreciated, my friend.
    So glad to be on this journey with you.

  13. Ann ~

    Thanks so much for your consistent support and encouragement.

    You are so fabulous. And I love that you coined the term “Mad Butt Disease.” I’m contacting the CDC immediately.

    And then Tide.


  14. Mrs. Tuna,

    How did I NOT know PF Chang had a marathon? Good lord, I’ve been missing out.

    Can’t imagine anything better than orange chicken and beef broccoli after 26.2 miles (except now I’m a little sick to my stomach).

    But boy, can I relate to Sheldon. NO ONE feels good at mile 22.
    Not even with Advil and Tide on her side.

    LOVE you blog ~ thanks so much for coming to mine…

  15. Suzie

    Always love this story. In fact, I love to retell it to as many people who will listen. It makes me laugh and it makes me love you even more. Thanks for poking fun of yourself – life is too stressful not to laugh when crazy crap like this happens or to relish in the moments like completing your first half marathon! Can’t wait to be there with you for another go at the Surf City Half. Hopefully, I can survive it and have memories like your to walk away with. And, should I need an Advil I now know who to ask!! Thanks for the run today!

  16. I’m giggling so much I can’t even pick out my favorite parts. How did I exist before I found your blog? 🙂

  17. Oh, Donna ~

    You are soooo sweet. Thanks very very (very) much! xoxo

  18. This is crazy insanity at its best and I can’t wait to tell my sister, the marathon runner, this story. Awesome.

    I was worried that you were going to say you got brutally chafed from the Tide suds. Thank heavens for the little things, right?

    And big applause to you and your half marathon conquests! I am not even going to try the Roman numeral thing. My brain might explode. But you go, runner girl, go!

  19. Joann ~

    When I was training for my first marathon, I worried about chafing. A lot. In fact, after I read an article that said, “Don’t wear cotton no matter what or you’ll be sorry,” I was tempted to put on cotton just to see what they meant.

    How bad could it be?

    Fortunately, my rational mind kicked in. I bought “Body Glide” instead and smeared it all over me.

    I can only assume it was preferable to cotton. Or Tide.

    Next time, though? Guacamole.

  20. What a hilarious story, Julie. I’m all giggly now.
    Good luck on your half! I hope you have a suds-free, fabulous time. 🙂

  21. Thanks so much, Nichole.

    I’m still all teary here from your beautiful post about your children. So glad I could make you giggly.

    But you win. Hands down…

  22. I’m in Pittsburgh, so I’ll just be watching the Superbowl. This time it’s a good enough excuse that I won’t feel bad about my totally not marathon ready body!

    Good luck with the run and the Roman numerals!

  23. Wow, Joey!

    Guess we know which team you’ll be rooting for. Believe me – my body is NOT marathon-ready right now.

    These days I’m much more prepared for chicken wings and a post-race bloody mary. Oh yeah. And a nap.

    Hopefully, they won’t be rioting in Huntington Beach…
    Go Steelers!

    (unless you’re really a closet Packers fan.)

    I myself am cheering for Tide 😉

  24. OMG…this is classic! I can just picture the foamy butt!!!! LOL!

    BTW…easy way to remember roman numerals, which I haven’t forgotten from whatever grade I learned it:

    Lucy = 50
    Can = 100
    Do = 500
    Math = 1000

    Are you in southern cal?

  25. Gigi

    I LOVE that Roman numeral acronym. And I can’t even do math. But if Lucy can, I’m all good.

    And since you can’t delete me here, please allow me to tell you yours is one of my absolute favorite blogs. Don’t change a thing. Not every day brings life-changing epiphany.

    Sometimes, you just want to laugh about wine labels.

    Or at least I do. So thank you. You make me smile.

    p.s. Yes, I’m in southern Cal. Which is why I’m never really prepared for rain…

  26. randy

    BTW, Tide has been notified. Any detergent company would be willing to pay you to use their name in this incredibly hilarious recounting of another embarrassing (I mean honest) story from JCG. Tide officially has 46 more hours to respond, or I’ll take the highest bidder. I’m having a difficult time visualizing anything but the foam pouring out of your back side as you cruised down the boardwalk in Huntington Beach. I would love to hear what kind of “spin” your readers could put on this advertising opportunity. I won’t be able to stop laughing while I think of JCG (I mean Tide) commercials of the future.

  27. I’ve seen people do marathons and, sometimes, it’s not very pretty. I like walking with them and eating a sandwich, drinking tea and smoking a cigarette.

    Stay strong and stay beautiful.

  28. hahhahaha..kick me!

  29. Oh my word, that’s such a great image. I can just see you now, foaming from the rear. Oh you poor thing. How mortifying! Who knew that could even happen? But what a trooper you are to just keep going! And to lick white advil powder? Good grief, you’re Wonder Woman. Still, so glad you’ve finally learned to rinse your clothes thoroughly! Though if it’s any consolation, I did not rinse all the conditioner from my hair today. #HatDay

  30. Okay Matt Posky,

    I just quickly popped over to your blog and cannot WAIT to explore some more.

    You’re funny AND you do illustrations?

    Double threat. At least. Plus you called me beautiful, so…
    I’m going triple on you.

    Please walk beside me eating a sandwich during my next marathon. That would actually really cheer me up.

  31. First time visiting and I am not sure what is more amazing, your writing or the fact that you were actually sudsing at the butt. Will be back to visit again, you are a great story teller and roman numeral decoder.

  32. Carol ~

    Somehow, that does make me feel better. The thing about the conditioner and your hair and the hat.

    I, myself, would prefer we all agreed to shave our heads. Even playing field and no more maintenance.

    It would be beautiful. In a bald kind of way. Somehow, I don’t think all the ladies would be down for my plan, though.

    Obviously, they haven’t foamed from their butt. I have no more delusions of femininity.

    Thanks for stoppig by here – LOVED LOVED LOVED your post on young writers. Wish I’d read it when I was young.

  33. Julie-words cannot express how much I laughed and delighted in your post. You are a comedic genius and an awfully impressive person for running a half marathon.

    I run to the door. That’s it. Although sometimes I run errands, but I’m not sure that actually counts because it usually involves a Starbucks and a donut.

  34. Deb

    Is this the race you’ll be running with Karen? She doesn’t seem much like a foamer or a chafer … but she’s hearty enough not to mind when I take out my teeth at her house. So I think you’re fine.

  35. Jessica ~

    So glad you came here – love your blog.

    And yes, sadly, I foamed from the butt.

    Thanks so much for the kind words (especially about the Roman numeral decoding…I’ve been working hard!) 😉

    Will be back visiting you shortly!

  36. Kari Marie ~

    I am not averse to any activity that ends in Starbucks and a donut, so we really need to meet in real life. And not run.

    Love your posts on writing.
    Thanks so so much for all of your support with mine…

  37. Randy:

    Tide? Seriously?
    I love you. And laundry detergent.
    And wine.
    Not necessarily in that order.

    • randy

      Wine comes first most definitely (unless Tide or some other detergent company offers you the big bucks!). Thanks for always keeping a smile on my face.

  38. Deb –

    Yep. This is my race with Karen. I’ve given her instructions to run behind me and alert me to any impending butt disasters.

    She isn’t so enthusiastic about that job.

    But I plan to bribe her with a coffee date with a certain mutual friend. Hmmm….I wonder…

    Thanks, by the way. For always coming. Always commenting. Always making me smile.

    I am one lucky mutual friend. xoxo

  39. Suz ~

    Somehow yesterday, I missed your comment…how is that possible when YOU’RE the one I’m running this race with?

    I know for a fact your clothes will be clean. And I can’t wait to be there when you finish your first half marathon! (Roman numeral for first? don’t know if there is one.)

    You and Karen and I are going to be the III Blond Musketeers. Or Marathoneers?


    We’re going to have a Bloody Mary at Randy’s after. That’s all that matters 😉

  40. Speaking of Randy,

    Thanks big brother…
    For everything.
    (And big is not a comment on your fitness level, Stu. You know what I mean. That you’re OLD.)

  41. OK, so the sudsy run was terrific, but even better is that you kept going. Kuddos to you! And here’s to a wonderful run this time. Hopefully without the rain and pain. (Did I really just rhyme?!)

  42. Lois ~

    Unexpected rhyming is the best. You must’ve been inspired by the food at Chuck E. Cheese…

    Glad you survived to visit here.

    And nothing stops me in a race. Because the whole time? I’m picturing a big sandwich and champagne at the finish line.

    It works. Try it.

    Or not. Either way.

    And thanks for the support. I’ll be needing it…

  43. Oh geez…I’m sorry, I shouldn’t laugh but the sudsing up part was really funny.

    I do sprint triathlons. So if I end up with badly rinsed clothes, it should all wash off in the lake. 😉

  44. KLZ

    Oh, I wish so badly that I had a good joke to go here but I’m laughing so hard I’m crying. Or perhaps that’s the tide in my eye.

  45. Lori ~

    Sprint triathalons? So cool. I’m intimidated by the swim…ocean? lake? Wet.

    Then again, so is rain.

    I’m in!

    Thanks so much for stopping by my blog – I LOVE yours. One of my favorites for sure

  46. KLZ ~

    You said you couldn’t be funny and then you were FUNNY!

    But I’m not surprised…Taming Insanity is one of the most hilarious, entertaining blogs I’ve come across – I’m a late arriver to the party, but having a blast.

    Don’t know what I was doing with myself before blogging.

    Not laundry. That’s for sure.

    Thanks for the support and for the laughs ~

  47. Clearly you’re a trooper! I ran two half-marathons, and decided while I was still running the second one, that no human being was meant to run these kinds of distances. I chanted that all the way to the finish line, where NOBODY was waiting for me with a bottle of champagne! GOod for you, such an accomplishment!

  48. Sandra ~

    Not gonna lie – the champagne at the end was a major incentive. And this year, I get brunch and a bloody mary at my sister and brother-in-law’s house.

    So no troopers here…just a lady who likes to earn her food and booze 😉

    Heading out to check your blog now – thanks for coming here!

  49. I was so hoping for photographic proof of the foaming butt.
    I’ve ran 1 or I half marathon (San Francisco) and have every intention of running another. LOVED the running, the camaraderie, the scenery (come on, all those beautiful bodies?)
    Maybe I can do a SoCal one next…with the hopes of finding a flat course…and maybe one that serves beer along the route. Want to join me? Say in about XVIII months? Oh yeah, don’t get this Catholic girl going with the roman numerals. Me no need so stinking acronyms.

  50. Surf City is PERFECT for you MWBTB ~ it’s flat and you run through Huntington Beach so there are plenty of places to stop for beer. And watch the waves crash.

    Then of course you have to start running again. Or not.

    But you’d love it. And now that I know you’re an athlete, I may have to bug you about it.

    I know. I know. You’ve got the whole “I’m pregnant” excuse right now. But when you pop that baby boy out (right? that’s how it happens?) you will want to get back out there with a jogger stroller. For sure!

    I’m in. You just let me know. I’ll even push the stroller for you while you sip your beer…

  51. My first running event the Susan G. Komen “Race for a Cure” in Newark NJ was in an absolute downpour. Over Thanksgiving, I ran a 10k in sleet. I finished a metric century (cycling) in what I can only describe as a monsoon (I seriously considered grabbing a SAG vehicle to head back from the half-way point, as I had visibility issues (nevermind braking issues), but this was my second time racing the event and the first time I didn’t take training seriously and the course absolutely kicked my ass). Fortunately, my only “long” run was a marathon on a 60-something, sunny day. I’m a complete wimp when it comes to training – never, ever go out if it’s too rainy / snowy / windy.

    I’ve never had the pleasure of sudsing as I ran, though, but that certainly sounds like something that I’d do…”damnit, it’s time to run now, I can’t wait for the damn rinse cycle!”

    This story had me chuckling . . . and, as always, take the painkillers before you start running (I should have done this before the marathon . . . I actually thought about it at the start line – but that would have meant going all of the way back to the runner area, getting my keys, walking all of the way to my truck, taking the Aleve, walking back to the runner area to drop off the kids, and then back to the start line. Somehow, I felt the need to actually start the race when things started . . . if I had started 15 minutes late (and it would have taken at least 15 minutes to do all of this walking), I might have actually run at my own pace. Oh, well, live & learn 🙂

  52. Jules

    John ~

    Thanks for coming to check out my post, and for sharing your own stories (I, too, am a weather wimp, but ran my first 10K, Half, and full marathon in rain…)

    I made the mistake of promising myself I wouldn’t train for another full marathon until after signing a book contract. Oops. Didn’t realize how long THAT process would take.

    Live and learn, I guess. Take the painkillers first and don’t hold your breath for a publishing deal.

    Got it!

  53. What a story! I alternate between laughing and feeling horrible for you. Thanks for sharing your soap opera with us!

  54. Kelley ~

    Always happy to oblige…it’s those moments (like the THIRD spilled hot drink at Barnes & Noble) that remind us to never take life too seriously.

    Or we’d cry all the time 😉

  55. I was laughing and cringing as I read this. I am running a 5K on Superbowl Sunday and am taking your wisdom to heart. I will avoid bubble butt (at least hte Tide variety).

    A Half Marathon – that would take someone chasing me, and threatening to take away my wine!

    You’re a wonderful storyteller! Love your posts!

  56. Paige ~

    Thanks for your kind words and good LUCK at your Superbowl race –

    No worries about bubble butt – I’m reasonably certain I’m the ONLY person to whom this has happened.

    Still. Who knows what I’ll come up with this year?

    Cheers to you and happy running!

  57. Kelly

    Your stories never cease to amaze me. Thank you for the laughter and the visual of your bubbling “couch butt”!

    Enjoy your run

  58. Thanks, Kell!

    From me and my bubble butt…

  59. Courtney

    I am so happy that you have sweet friends who will (and can) run with you. Foamy butt and all – you really impress me! (And the ones with Advil are so the best kind!)

  60. Court ~

    We have many other activities to share that do NOT include foam.
    A spa day, perhaps?

    I can dream. I can dream…

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