I ran my first post-injury, post-marathon-cancelling, post-lots-of-months-of-physical-therapy half marathon Saturday night!
And…. I finished!
It was wonderful and horrible all at the same time.
Wonderful: I got to spend time with a fabulous lady and her family, and I got to be there when she crossed the finish line (okay actually I was waiting on the other side of the drink line because they don’t let you back through once you finish, but STILL!). I am so proud of her, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to be a part of her first 13.1.
Horrible: My race. But I learned a lot, and I am so grateful for the experience.
I learned that…
*wearing clothing known to chafe is way worse than wearing new clothing on race day that might chafe. (yep, I’m a super genius. I tried to tell myself it wouldn’t be that big of a deal… it was.)
*medical tables (at least at this race, thank GOD!) will hand you gobs of Vaseline-like-substance to slather on angry, chafing parts.
*wearing a costume is totally worth it. totally. love the cheers, love the excitement, love the silliness.
*running at 10pm makes my stomach angry.
*running a half marathon while trying not to vomit is not easy, nor is it fun.
*even when it sucks, I am so thankful for the run. Seriously so thankful.
*I really can do hard things.
I knew I was way undertrained for this race. Injury rehabilitation, an unexpected sprained ankle (are they ever expected?), illness, and then a hurricane made this training cycle craaaazy. I went into the race with low expectations. I expected a hard race with a decent amount of pain, and I hoped to avoid setting a new personal worst (which I honestly thought wouldn’t be that hard).
New Personal Worst: 2:48:16 (for reference, previous PW was 2:46:48. PR is 2:16:54)
Miles 1-3: Start was crowded and slow. Legs started out like lead but loosened up. Chafing got bad fast (idiot!). Around mile 2.5 grabbed my first Vaseline from med table. It worked. I was thrilled. Things were looking up. (5K average pace 11:22)
Miles 4-6: Another stop for more Vaseline. Took my first gel, and my stomach flipped out – cramping and indigestion. Bathroom stop shortly before the 6 mile mark. (10K average pace 12:05)
Miles 7-10: Misery sets in fully. One more stop for Vaseline, grabbed Biofreeze for my left hip and glute that weren’t happy. Put off a second Gu, but eventually took it. Made stomach worse. Dry heaving on side of course. Bathroom stop. Walking to avoid puking. Total disaster. (15k average pace 12:54)
Miles 11-13.1: Gave up on Gu and Nuun. Dug in and decided to run the last 3 miles. I knew I was close to that personal worst and that I might be able to squeeze in right under it. I ran as hard as I could with how I was feeling. Even as I watched the time slip by at each mile and knew I wasn’t going to make it in time, I chose to keep running. I gave it everything I had, tried not to puke on anyone, and I finished.
In the end, I am so thankful for every mile I ran. I am thankful that while it was an awful race it was not because of injury. My legs were tight and I was undertrained, but without all the stomach nonsense (not to mention the chafing!) I would have had a totally different race. I am thankful for the experience of running through Disney, the magic of running past the Tree of Life, the absolutely awe-inspiring view of Expedition Everest underneath a beautiful cloudless sky filled with stars, and the smile that involuntarily spread across my face running through the Osborne Family Christmas lights despite wanting to throw up. I am thankful for every joyous miserable mile I ran.
Coast to Coast Medal earned for running a Disneyland and Disney World race in the same calendar year along with my Wine and Dine Half Marathon Medal. I ran the Tinker Bell half marathon in Disneyland in January for a PR and the Wine and Dine for a PW.
Enjoying a hard-earned Guinness (looking frightful!) in “Ireland” at the Epcot Wine and Food Festival around 3am. *yawn*
I am proud of myself. I worked hard for that personal worst. I had no expectations for this race. I could have given up. I could have walked the rest of it. I had plenty of excuses. I was covered in Vaseline, dealing with the normal pain of running your first 13 mile race in months, and unable to keep my fuel down. I stopped twice at the bathroom, 3 times at medical tables, and multiple times on the side of the road trying not to throw up. At first, I held on to hopes of avoiding a personal worst. When that slipped by, I could have given up. Instead, I gave those last 3 miles everything I had because that’s what you do. It’s a race. You give it everything you’ve got even if it’s all going wrong. It was really awful, and I was fighting back tears. At one point I realized that even if I was home in my bed, I felt sick enough that I’d still be miserable and crying. But I ran instead. I can do hard things.
My body recovered nicely. My calves were sore the next day or so. My hip/glute/IT Band were a little tight. But two days later I was back working my butt off in physical therapy as if I hadn’t just ran 13 miles. And now, I am gearing up to run another 13 with my sister on Sunday. I cannot WAIT to cross the finish line with her in Philadelphia, and I am looking forward to a bright and early start time along with a hopefully much happier stomach… oh yea and capris that definitely do not chafe.
It’s been a long road back from giving up on my first marathon… but I’m well on my way.