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

Monday, October 14, 2013

I'm not mad anymore

It's been 8 days since I toed the line for my second marathon and I am finally done crying. I tried to start this blog many times over the last week but just wasn't ready yet. After a lot of tears, anger, second guessing and doubts I feel like this is my final stage of "grief".  I realize most people don't really care what did or didn't happen but this is my way of being done with it and moving on.

First let me say I have never been more confident in a race than I was when I stepped foot on the start line at Twin Cities. Every part of my build up went better than planned. I raced a lot more this build up and even on dead tired legs was able to get within seconds of my PR's every time, even on tough courses. Workouts were spot on and the paces even scared me at times. The night before the race Scott confirmed with me my game plan. Twin cities has an interesting but somewhat challenging  course since the last 10k climbs a hill for the majority of it. The plan was to go out at 5:40 pace no matter if that meant I was running alone or in a pack. It was the pace I had been killing in long workouts and the pace Scott felt was right for me. Knowing the last 10k was going to be the hardest I knew I just had to be tough mentally and expect pace could drop just a hair with the same effort. My one and only goal that day was to break 2:30 and I was so confident in it I could see the clock in my head. I knew if I could break 2:30 placing would work itself out and even if I was 10th I'd be so happy with the effort.  Scott has never given me a race plan that hasn't been accurate . He is one of the best coaches out there, giving us race plans and paces based off of the course and the work we have out in. I was 100% confident in what he had planned.

My splits
5:32, 5:49, 5:38, 5:32, 5:39, 5:41, 5:37, 5:38, 5:38, 5:37,5:43,5:43,5:45,5:49,5:43,5:50,5:49,5:56,5:55,5:53,6:12,6:31,6:38,6:26 and that's all I got I stopped hitting split.

The race went out exactly as I had planned. Sure the first mile was just a bit faster than I wanted but not crazy it would be ok. For the first half of the race the only person I knew was by me was Asfaw and I was happy to have company. We were very consistent hitting splits just as I wanted , sure a couple would be a second fast and some a second slow but I think that was the hills. My only problem was even before the race started my stomach was cramping and uncomfortable, but I chalked it up to race day jitters thinking like always once the race started it would be out of my head. Things were going so smoothly I couldn't even believe it. Miles were coming by faster than expected, I was getting my waters and gu easily and my legs felt completely relaxed. I was on a high! Until I took my gu and water around 11. My gu there had caffeine in it which I have taken before but it just seemed to push my cramping stomach over the edge. For the next six miles I didn't let it bother me. Sure it hurt but I was feeling too good other wise I was confident it was just runner belly and it would go away. But when I hit 17 I just couldn't control it anymore and I had to make a decision . Do I stop and use a bathroom really fast or just keep going and hope for the best. I couldn't decide what to do until we made a little turn and I noticed I had dropped Asfaw at this point I knew I had enough in me to keep pushing this pace to the finish so I wasn't going to stop. Sadly my stomach was too upset. By 18 I had gotten more room between me and the next girl but my stomach was getting worse and worse. I couldn't control it at all. In my head I thought the best thing to do was to stop taking my fluids and gu. I felt like it would just go right through me, besides I was only a little more than 10k out it would be fine. This may be the thing that ended up killing me but at the time it seemed logical I wanted this race so bad I could taste it. By 20 my stomach was so cramped up and my gi just wouldn't stop I kept trying to fight it but it just wasn't happening. Sometime before 21 Annie came up on me and I was in so much stomach pain I couldn't even fight it off. Yet in my head I thought just keep going you are still second and on a good pace. Shortly after she passed me though I couldn't give anything. I was running slower than I did on long runs. I don't remember a lot between 22-26 it was a really weird ,dizzy out of body kind of experience. I remember thinking just stop.stop at a medical tent but I just kept passing the, and pushing along. Portis passed me on the final uphill stretch either right before or right after 25 I'm not too sure. At this point I couldn't really see straight.everything was blurry and I was so dizzy all I could tell myself was run as close to the curb as you can. If something happens maybe you will fall into the grass. I can remember being really close to the spectators and the last thing I remember before the finish was seeing cute little Esther Erb and her cheek tattoo. Luckily i had asked kevin to be at the crest of the hill to cheer and push me into the finish because he saw me go down up the way from him. From what he says two guys helped me up and asked if I wanted medical, which of course I refused. Somehow I managed to push my way to the finish while asking my husband are any girls gonna catch me. What an idiot even when I'm out of it I can't turn the competition off. Kevin said when I ran towards him I looked like Slooth from the goonies and was really out of it. As soon as my legs stopped running they just gave out and I spent the next long while in the medical tent. Luckily Carolyn Mather was there to help me out. I was having a really hard time staying awake and the Dr's were trying to figure out if I hit my head when I fell. But when I finally snapped out of it Carolyn let me know I was 6th in 2:36 and that it was ok.

So fast forward. I finally found my way to my husband and as soon as I saw him tears were flowing. I was so mad. But let me clarify I was not mad at myself, my race plan, Scott, my training or anything like that. I was simply mad at my body. I had trained it to give me 100% on race day and it failed me.  I still don't know what it was. For a couple days after I was still having issues and not feeling well. Maybe I got some kind of a bug or maybe I ate something bad. Typically after a race I have a day to be mad if it was bad and than I'm fine. I could not shake the marathon let down though. I was a real peach all week. I've gone through a lot of  thoughts. One being maybe I should have just stopped. People have dropped out of a marathon for far less and I was really sick. I should have just realized it wasn't gonna be my day, cashed it in and done one in a few weeks. But would that have made me happy?  No way a DNF is the worst feeling there is! Than I'd think we'll at least I got my A standard out of the way even on a awful horrible day. I'm proud of myself for fighting on when it got tough. The easy thing to do would have been to stop but I found out what I was made of and I found out I am a lot stronger mentally and physically than I ever thought I could be.

So the race didn't go as planned but what it did do was give me even more of a fire. Last year there was no way I would have ever pushed the pace and take the lead. I raced the marathon from the start and for that I am proud of myself. Do I think I should have sat back and waited to the last 10k? No for two reasons. One I would have ended up sick regardless and than I wouldn't have gotten the A standard. Second you will never ever find out what you are made of always taking the easy way. The good old saying you miss 100%  of the chances you never take is true. If I could go back to that day I wouldn't change a thing. All the way down to becoming poop girl! Plus like a good friend told me. I have an awesome card to play on the kids now.
Oh that hurt
Oh that's hard
Oh it's the worst day ever
Oh you want to quit
Well it can not be as bad as loosing control of your bowel over and over in front of thousands of people and a camera crew to the point that you become so dehydrated you pass out!

See what can they say to that!

I now know not all is lost. I'm stronger for doing what I did. Running a marathon is already a up hill battle without your body physically fighting you. My next marathon can only be better. I appreciate all the emails, text and Facebook messages from people. Especially those of you who have been in this business a long time. It really did help me come to terms with everything!

So now what?
Well I'm already back to running two a days and feel great. Of course we will be careful jumping back in and I will listen to my body but I didn't end up with a marathon race I ended up racing 19-20 and running 6-7. Look for me at a marathon soon as long as all things cooperate!


  1. Wendy, I am blown away by your strength and determination. I have been "poop girl" for the past couple of years with my running (not realizing I had celiac), so I understand the pain that you had to push through. I am amazed and inspired by your performance under those conditions, and I sure hope you are proud of yourself. Congrats on an unbelievable performance! I hope to toe the line with you one day soon!


  2. I've admired your talent as a follower of women's running. To meet you in person (and have the opportunity to accompany you on your shakeout run for a mile) was the highlight of Twin Cities weekend! GI issues are not fun but at least you (and Suzanne Jakes) have a good sense of humor about it. I know many other female runners can learn a lot from your attitude.