21.1

(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.

IMG_0429I went to bed around 10pm but had a hard time falling asleep. Eventually I must have because when I opened my eyes is was 6:10am. I kissed hubby and crawled out of bed.

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?

IMG_04595-10 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.

IMG_0460IMG_046110-15 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.

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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.

IMG_046319 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.

IMG_0464I 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.

42.

Hmm ….

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Ready. 

I think I’m ready for the half marathon in a couple of weeks. 

This was my last long training run. My friend joined me for the first 7 km and I continued on as she turned back. 

I tried a gel for the first time. It was gross. I then tried a gummy energy chew and it was much more palatable.  I’m glad I used this run to figure that out. 

  
I feel like I’m capable of anything. I can’t wait for the race! 

A Race Virgin No More.

Well for someone who swore they would never run a race, I popped that cherry today and then some!

It was a beautiful winter day, one of the warmest I’ve run in fact, a balmy -6°C (-10°C with wind chill).  I met up with L and her friends at the designated area inside the performing arts center. Honestly I felt a bit weird being among all those runners. They looked all way more qualified than me to be running a race.

After a few quick bathroom visits (only one for me!),  it was time to walk to the start line. There were several of the half-ers doing some warming up and I saw one with something like a tube coming out of their shirt and asked L what the heck that was – apparently it was a camelback! Brilliant!

We got to the start line and there were a few hundred ahead of us. Next to where we were standing was a mom and her son. I asked the boy how old he was as he looked like my daughter’s age.  He said he was six and this wasn’t his first race.  Um … okay.  Mom said he would finish under 45 minutes, maybe 40 minutes.  Finally, we heard the countdown and started walking up towards the start and off we went. Before the race, L and her friend said I was going to set the pace and by the end of the first kilometer we were under well under 7:00/km which was just fine with me though it was a bit faster than I wanted so I deliberately slowed my pace a bit and ran most of the time just a few strides behind them. There was a bit of chatting but by 2 km I stopped talking and just focused on the road and my breathing. L asked if I wanted to walk and I said no. And then we saw the leader of the 5 km race running towards us on the other side of the road.  I looked up his time – he finished the run in 15 minutes.

Suddenly we reached that the halfway point, made our turn and headed back.  Already I was sensing this was going to feel like the fastest 5 km I’d ever run even if my time didn’t reflect it.  At 3 km I was asked again if I was walking and I said no. I did slow down a bit as the girls got ahead of me a little but they slowed for me so we were still running together. Then we saw the 6-year-old running just ahead of us as the 4 km marker approached and he stopped to walk with his mom. As we made our turn, about 200 meters from the finish L said “We are gonna beat that 6-year-old. Let’s go!!!!” And we hauled ass to the finish.  I tried to look for my husband and kids but realized I needed to focus on not falling over my feet.  I crossed the finish line just a second or two after my friend.  A minute later, I heard my daughter calling for me and turned towards the sidewalk and found her.  I ran over to her and hugged her across the barriers and then she gave me the medal she made for me.  It was a special moment I will never forget.  A few minutes later we picked up our real medals.

The official time of 33:33.9. A personal best for sure (especially since there weren’t any walk breaks!)

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Seeing my daughter at the end.

 

The two medals.

The two medals.

My yummy post-run dinner. Baked chicken with pesto and grilled veggies.

My yummy post-run dinner. Baked chicken with pesto and grilled veggies.