(or 13.1 for my U.S. Readers)
Race nerves were an all-time high this time around. Earlier in the week I was plagued with migraine headaches and tummy issues and generally I felt like crap. By the weekend I was starting to feel better but couldn’t shake this feeling of a large pit in my stomach. Saturday night I ate turkey with all the fixings – mashed potatoes, Brussels sprouts and stuffing. My husband surprised me with a present. He was going to give it to me after the race but thought it would be better if I wore it while running, which I did and I absolutely adore it.
Coffee. Bathroom break. Toast with peanut butter and honey. Glass of water. Yogurt. Dressed. My neighbor offered me a ride as he was racing too, and we headed out at 7:45am.
By the time I made it through the lineup to use the port-a-potties it was time to head to the start line. I found two friends who were running together and we started together but they quickly pulled away from me which was totally fine. They were doing 10:1s and I had my own plan.
0-5 km – this flew by. I was doing a lot of people watching and enjoying the crisp morning air. I was dressed perfectly. The leg warmers on my calves were a godsend. Nothing hurt. No shin splints, no groin pain, nothing. I stuck to my 1km run, 100m walk intervals and my legs felt good. I forgot to take sips of water but took some Gatorade at the 3km water station. I was wearing gloves and had to take them off by this point. The gravity of what I was doing kinda suddenly hit me. Jesus Christ I was trying to run a half f&#*ing marathon. What is wrong with me?
5-10 km. This part of the course was fun. I was in a good groove and kept to my intervals. I took a photo of the downtown skyline as it appeared on my left, just before making the turn to run along the waterfront. I started feeling a bit sluggish as I approached the 9 km mark, so so I ate a few of my GU electrolyte Chews. As I made my way along the waterfront and saw all the other runners running back towards downtown I started to feel like a fish out of water. Like a poser, if you will. I was trying to push that thought away when something else caught my attention.
10-15 km. Chest pain. What? It wasn’t time to walk but the sharp pain in my left upper chest wasn’t going away. I slowed down and started walking and evaluated. “I’m not going to be that runner who has a f&#*ing heart attack.” “It’s just a muscle spasm, a stitch; I drank that water at the last station too fast.” I focused on my breathing and as it settled down I started running again. I had to laugh at myself a bit. Stupid doctor. That’s when I had to start taking more frequent walk breaks. I was losing steam. I ate some more chews and sipped water. Suddenly it was 14 km. Only 7 km more to go. I can do this.
I felt a little burst of energy around 16 km. My legs suddenly felt light. I kinda felt like I was floating above the ground as I ran. I briefly thought, “this is the moment you pass out.”
17 km. Only 4 more to go.
1 km. WHat the actual f—?! Oh, that was the for the 5 km run. lol! I literally laughed out loud.
I was taking more walk breaks. Probably every 400 m now but only for about 15-30 seconds.
18km. I grabbed my phone and texted my friend who was volunteering for the marathon and who asked me to let her know when I was close.
19 km. “What street am I on? Why can’t I see the finish line? Is that my name on that sign?” It was! It was my friend and I ran over to her and gave her a high-five. I wanted to stop right there. I didn’t want to go on. I ran some more, I walked some more. The cheers got louder. I saw a sign that said 500 m to go. Seriously? Then 400 m. I walked for about 15 seconds but then felt embarrassed. 300 m. “Just start running. Don’t stop“. And I didn’t. 200 m. I want to die. 100 m. Is that the finish? Don’t trip. Watch the ground. Don’t look up. I think I just crossed the finish line. Thank f#&$ing Christ.
I walked. I felt dizzy. I grabbed a solar blanket thing. I got my medal. I was surprised now heavy it felt. I just kept walking. In a daze. I forgot to drink water. I texted my husband. Took a really bad selfie and sent it to him. I went to go find my other friend who was waiting for me with a coffee. (Bad idea, by the way, the coffee).
We found each other. I could barely talk. She hugged me. She looked like she’d been crying. She took a few pictures. I found the food line. I ate my banana. I ate the yogurt. I forgot to drink water.
Home. Nauseated. Stomach hurt. Wanted to puke. Never, ever want to feel that way again. What have I done to my body?
I wrote on my FB running group. They were really supportive throughout my training. I wrote how I was feeling. Several women responded suggesting I was dehydrated and needed to start drinking fluids, electrolytes. I was in such a daze it never occurred to me that I was dehydrated. It was a scary experience. After I drank an electrolyte mix I felt a lot better. I am starting to feel better today and my body hurts in places I didn’t expect. I am exhausted beyond anything I have experience before. I’m not sure I ever want to run again.
Oh, but at the very beginning of the race I realized I turn 42 next August.