"Whenever you think you are giving it all you have, give just a little bit more"

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

When did I become that runner?

A little over a year ago when I first started to feel like I was getting really competitive I went to race the Garden of the Gods 10 mile in Colorado Springs. The race itself was pretty awful and hard but it was after the race that I saw an older women in her 50's walking through the crowd who had pooped herself. At that point I looked at my family and made a promise that I would NEVER be that person. If I ever felt like I had to use the bathroom or throw up I would just stop and drop out of the race. This last weekend that all changed............

Before the half on Sunday I had been very worried about racing at night. I have a touchy stomach so I knew I had to be careful. My game plan was wake up a little late, get my morning run in, eat a late breakfast around 11-11:30 and than my normal coffee and bagel two hours pre race. After a lot of walking I ended up eating at Max Brenner in Caesars Palace (PS finding a healthy place to eat in Vegas is a chore). I decided on an omellette with cheese, veggies and some potatoes. Half way through the meal I didn't feel great and had to force myself to finish my food: which is odd for me lately. During the last 6 weeks of marathon training I have been a human garbage disposal., but I chalked it up to nerves and finished the meal. I spent the rest of the day walking around a little and although I should have gotten off my feet I was a bit sick to my stomach and figured walking would keep my legs loose and calm my nerves. At least I thought that's what it was.

I made it through the day and proceeded to the start early to get my coffee, bagel and bib. This should have been my next clue of what was to come. I couldn't force myself to finish my coffee and all of you who know me know I could normally drink pots and pots of it. But again I chalked it up to nerves. I knew I wasn't nervous for the race as it was only the first half of my workout for the weekend and a good text of fitness for the trials. I was however nervous about getting my bib. The Rock n Roll races are always just so big and I usually have my stuff well before race start, but I got in to late saturday night to get to the expo. Sunday at the start was my only option. When I first talked to Matt (the awesome elite coordinator) he assured me it wouldn't be an issue, but again those of you who know me know I am a worrier. Once I found the solutions tent I started to calm down. The staff was so helpful I got my bib and was walked over to the VIP tent to wait the next 1 1/2 hours to race start. This is where Rock n Roll does an amazing job! Like I said it was a cold night and we were set up with heaters, restrooms, coffee, tea, and food.

Before I knew it it was time to warm up and here was my final sign of what was to come. I even said out loud "Man I still don't feel great I feel like I might throw up" Again I thought even though this is a no pressure race its normal to get jittery. Luckily we had Matt to walk us over to the start because I can't describe to you the mess that was the crowd of runners and spectators. As we got ready to roll I caught up with Mattie Suver an awesome runner I met in Philly. Both of us were just using Vegas as a "workout" and hadn't cut back during the week as we were in the bulk of our marathon build up. We talked about going out in a conservative 5:45ish which made me feel good. Running a half is so much easier together and having someone with the same goal calmed me.
Somehow we all made it to the start although not all together it was crazy. Shortly after the coolest national anthem I have ever heard at a race we were off and running. I went out in a pace I felt comfortable in jostling for position in the first mile for an open spot. I noticed a lot of girls in front and around me who are close to my ability so I felt good. We got to the first mile a little faster than I had planned (5:26)but it felt east so I didn't worry. The next few miles clipped off great. You know the races you have when you don't even look at your watch for splits you just hit the split button and keep on going? My legs felt amazing given the high mileage I had for the week and I was confident. That was soon going to come to an end. I got into this nice pack of five women shortly after the 5k and we were just steadily picking people off. Around 5-6 mile my stomach started to feel really quesy so I slowed just a tad tried to burp it out and kept plugging along. I could still see the pack I was good and well ahead of WO pace. I just couldn't get the feeling to go away so I thought one of two things you are either pushing too hard, these girls are awesome or you just ate too much today, don't worry the feeling will go away soon.Between mile 8-9 I knew I was gonna throw up. I desperately didn't want to slow and lose my position so I tried throwing up on the run. This my friends is when I realized I had become THAT runner. The one who would keep going at all costs, pooping, vomit non of it mattered. I wanted to stay on pace. Plus I figured once I threw up I would be fine. Unfortunately throwing up on the run must be a skill I don't have it ended up bending me over. It was pretty quick and painless so I kept on running. I caught back up to the girl I had been running with and thought I was going to be fine.

Soon I left the girl and was picking a lot of guys off but I still wasn't feel very good. I just couldn't get my stomach to cooperate. For a moment around 12 I though I am gonna have to drop out of this race I can't stop and throw up again I have already wasted enough time. Than I remembered back to my DNF at Mt Sac. That was the worst feeling I have ever had. I was going to finish this race no matter what. I don't care if I end up running a 90 minute half. Needless to say I was within a quarter mile of the finish and I couldn't control it this time I REALLY had to throw up. I stopped and was there for a good amount of time, it seemed like I was throwing up for an eternity! A medical guy came over to see if I was ok and being stubborn I just shrugged him off. In the process of throwing up 4 girls ran past me. I noticed every single one and as soon as I could stand back up I took off in as much of a sprint as I could muster. I managed to pass a couple but just couldn't get back to the other two. I crossed the finish line and must have looked like hell (or I was called in from the medical people on the course. Someone needs to make sure the crazy girl f14 is ok :) ) because the medical people were all over me trying to hold me. I told them I was fine. Honestly I was just more upset that I gad just had a great opening race and than all the throw up ruined the race as well as my pretty new racing flats! I still just assumed it must have been something I ate. Sadly I felt horrible on the cool down so had to cut it short, went back to grab my stuff and decided I needed the air so I was going to walk back to my hotel 3 miles away. I am very lucky I didn't get arrested because I had to stop and throw up in trash cans on my way to the hotel. People probably thought I was just really drunk. Sadly I spent the rest of my time in Vegas sick. Not exactly what I had planned and I was more upset that being sick was causing me to miss the second half of my workout Monday morning as I couldn't even get out of bed to walk, eat or drink without getting sick. Than my trip only got worse when I got to the airport and my flight was cancelled. I t meant I had to stay at the airport until almost 10 pm take a flight to LA, sleep there and hope to get on a flight Tuesday morning so I could make it to my son's play. This was turning out to be the worst trip I had ever taken!!!

Now that I am home and have had time to reflect on the race and weekend I have a lot of thoughts. First and foremost I am freaked out that 34 days from the trials I missed a couple of key days including a workout and some high mileage. I've never run a marathon before and all of a sudden I feel really unprepared and scared. I know it's silly given I am in great shape but missing a week is so scary this close! Second I am most proud of this race out of all the races I have EVER run. No it wasn't a PR, far from it actually, but I proved a lot to myself. I know that come Jan 14th there is going to be a time when I want to throw up I learned how to run through it. But I am most proud that I finished! I felt horrible throwing up and running and I feel like this was a point in my running that I realized I am a real competitor! I will give it everything I have! I still did ok I finished 10th in a really stacked field and my time wasn't horrible 1:16:15. I'm very proud of myself for being strong and gutting through it. Now I have two days home before I am off to Clubs and I am hoping this race will go a lot better :)

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