I have the Hartford Marathon in six weeks. I am not signing up for any more races at this point. I will run Hartford because everything is paid for, and see how it goes but as of right now I am thinking I just may not be cut out for this no matter how badly I want to be.
If you want the details...
Everything went great this morning before the race. I have had an awesome two days with Jennifer and I got 6 1/2 hours of good sleep and a good two hours of rest before going to sleep. Before I went to sleep, when I woke up, and any time I felt anxious I reminded myself to be calm, focused, positive, and confident and it really helped and I felt great overall. I ate well but not too much yesterday and was hydrated and rested. I got up at 4am and got on the first bus at 5am, which got us up to the start line with exactly an hour to go. This is probably TMI, but it turned out to be the wrong time of the month to be a girl running a race, which often makes my stomach issues a lot worse, but I was feeling good so didn't let it get in my head. I drank my UCAN with 45 minutes to go and then started a short and easy warm up. I just jogged for about 15 minutes and did four easy strides and everything felt good. I was able to rest for a little bit and get back into a portapotty, and then lined up and we were off.
I felt great! Within a half a mile or so I was running in third place (female) and it felt easy and relaxed, as Coach Ray wanted it to. The pace came very easily and I was not going too fast... I felt super. It was a lot of downhill but with some rollers so I just relaxed on the uphills and then let my stride lengthen back out on the downhills. I was smiling, relaxed, thinking super positive thoughts and really felt like this was my day!!! Those splits were 6:39 (really downhill), 6:53, 6:50, 6:56, 6:51, 6:49, 6:55, 6:53. Felt awesome.
(My goal for this race was 3:05-3:08ish. The first half of the course drops a lot in elevation and the second half is hilly so it isn't a negative split kind of course and we had a pacing plan to handle it well).
Out of nowhere in mile 9 my stomach cramped BAD and there was no way to run through it without embarrassing myself. I got into a portapotty and that split was 9:44.
I came out and was frustrated to be behind so many people, but slowly worked my way back to where I had been... not working too hard since it was still early. I still felt fine and tried not to let the lost time worry me since I knew I was still ok. Mile 10 was 6:53, 11 was 6:56, 12 was 6:55. I was still thinking positive, and still feeling good mentally and physically. I really believed I was going to finally have a great race again.
Around the end of mile 12 my stomach started growling again and then cramped and again - I HAD to stop. It was quick though (and I was hoping that would be the end of the stops) and mile 13 was 8:32. I passed the half at 1:35:46 which was a little behind where I wanted to be, but considering the time I had lost I knew I was still running well and could still PR and have a time to be proud of. It was REALLY frustrating to once again be behind people I had been ahead of, then worked hard to get ahead of again, but I really tried to keep my head calm and just do the best I could do and keep running strong.
Mile 14 is where the uphills started, which felt tough after all the downhill, but I was ready for it. Mile 14 was 7:07. I drank my UCAN during this mile too... little sips to try and keep my stomach from getting upset.
In mile 15 I started to just feel off... it was an uphill mile but my stomach was cramping again and I just started to feel bad. I told myself it would pass and hoped it would, but it didn't. This mile was a 7:28. It all went downhill from there... I ended up in a portapotty again in mile 16 and from there it felt like someone pulled the drain out of my energy bathtub. I felt tingly, light-headed, exhausted, wobbly... I took small sips of water at each aid station and even ate two little pieces of banana hoping it would help. Maybe it did a little. Everything cramped though... I am sure from being dehydrated. Nothing felt injured but my hip flexors and calves got super tight and my whole body hurt. I had a headache. It was miserable. I don't even remember how many times I ended up being sick. A couple of times I even felt like I might just fall over and I really didn't want to struggle to the finish, but I sure as heck did not want to quit either. The last 8 miles or so were a walk/jog.
Jennifer was all along the course in my giant 15 passenger van. She cheered for me, she passed on messages from Josh and Ray, she gave me sips of her Diet Coke, she told me I was strong, she cheered and yelled, she told me to quit crying and get running. There are no words for how much I love this girl. (When I finished she said, "Now you can cry." She said lots of other great stuff too). Everyone should have a BFF like Jennifer. But you can't have her because she is mine.
|A pic from yesterday|
I don't know what else to try or what else to do with this dang stomach of mine... I do think the downhill courses are a bit rougher on it and maybe it was just bad luck with getting my period but it's hard not to feel like I am just not cut out to do this no matter how badly I want to. I have changed my diet, am super careful about what I eat, have tried every type of fueling, have tried over the counter medicines, have tried prescription medicines... some things help some but nothing has made it so that I can run and not worry about needing the pit stops. I knew it was a possibility today and I had told myself that if I had to stop I just would and wouldn't stress over the lost time, but I didn't anticipate getting SO sick and so dehydrated.
It's hard not to be discouraged at this point, or to not think about the people who have told me I can't and won't get better or reach my goals.
Time to decide which voices in my head to listen to...