Monday, January 20, 2014

Not it

This is not the post I wanted to write (again).

I don't want to be writing a sad, discouraged post about everything that went wrong in my race, and how frustrated and discouraged I am to be putting in so much work and effort, trying to do everything right, and not getting the results. I don't want to be thinking about how much is hurts to think that you aren't as good as you think you are.  I don't want to make a bunch of excuses. I  don't want to post a bunch of inspirational quotes, promise I am getting "back on the horse" and will come back faster and stronger after this setback. 

I wanted to be writing a post about kicking butt, setting a new PR, finally breaking through this plateau, and how amazing it felt to run a killer race. I wanted to be able to say, "I am back! See?!!! Hard work and determination pays off!!"

I know people want to know what happened. The short version is, I went for well over two years without having a period. I know that is a bad thing, and is my body's way of saying that something is off. I worked hard at getting my body what it needs, and two months ago I got my period again for the first time in almost three years. And I got it again a few days ago. Race morning I was hit with killer cramps and resulting GI distress. We were promised "plentiful portapotties" in the start corrals, but the lines were ridiculous, the race was starting, and I had to just start running despite a definite need to "go".

I ended up in a portapotty in the first mile of the race. It is pretty discouraging to end up having given up over two minutes in the FIRST MILE, but I think I did a good job in keeping my mind focused and relaxed, not stressing, telling myself I had plenty of time to make it up, and easing into goal pace. That worked for a while, and then I had to stop again. And again. By mile 15, despite having run decently well until that point, my A, B, and C goals were out the window and any time I pushed the pace my stomach revolted. I felt awful. At mile 16 I gave up. I cried. I walked. I walked and cried. I sucked it up and ran again and my feet cramped. I walked and cried. You get the idea.

I connected with an awesome girl named Jill who was also having a rough race. We walked together a little bit, jogged together a little bit, and then got separated. With just under two miles to go she came up behind me again, and we decided to run it home together. We ran in together, and it was an awesome thing to connect with another mom and another runner and to support each other into the finish.

Despite the race, it has been a wonderful weekend. I have had so much incredible time with Josh and my parents. I have gotten to spend time with Coach Doug in person and have gotten to know him much better, and I am a lucky girl to have him as my coach (and I know he will help me get through this and over this). Meb WON the USA Half Marathon Championship which is the best, and Joey D'Eramo, a guy that Doug coaches, ran his FIRST marathon in 2:40. Seriously We are SO excited for him. Three girls I coach ran very well in Houston this weekend (one set a killer PR of 3:49!). I have met some great people, had a lot of fun, and am very grateful for this weekend.

It's time to do some reevaluating. I am not quitting. I am not giving up. There are 13 weeks until the Boston Marathon and I will be there, ready to race. I want to change my story, move on from this chapter, and not write any more posts like this. Right now though my body, my mind, and my heart need to do some recovering.

29 comments:

Emily McLemore said...

Thanks for the honesty. Prayers for your body and your heart. While you may have not achieved your goals, you are still inspiring all of us out here to keep going and to not give up!

Owlhaven said...

Aw, sorry! You're amazing-- way to stay positive even when it is hard.

Mary

Aunt Melissa said...

Erin-
I am terribly disappointed for you. Take the time you need to recover and reevaluate. I am not going to say anything cheerleading about going forward, but I want to give you an idea to research for yourself (and talk to your doctors/coach/GI specialists about) later purely on the physical nature of GI distress/hormonal issues.
Briefly, I have irritable bowel syndrome and eventually went on a very restrictive diet (FOD-MAP) to address it. In the process, I noticed that IBS symptoms also peak with my monthly menstrual cycle – a rather lethal combination for running (unfortunately, extreme exercise is also a trigger for me). I am NOT suggesting that you have IBS or that you should adopt a FOD-MAP diet long term. However, since you already found that eliminating gluten and dairy was helpful for you, you might consider adopting a full FOD-MAP-friendly diet the week before race day – it eliminates or reduces certain carbohydrate and sugar substances that are hard for everyone to digest – but that seem to particularly set off bad cycles for those with IBS – and likely other GI conditions. I am not the only person to think about FOD-MAP in relationship to running – see this thoughtful article: http://ultranutrition.blogspot.com/2013/01/limiting-gi-distress-low-fodmap-diets.html

The science from the University of Monash at Australia seems legit and promising, but I am not a nutritionist, GI specialist or food scientist and don’t claim to be. For me, I was VERY skeptical but speaking only from my individual experience, I have seen huge improvement adopting the FOD-MAP diet even with around 80% average compliance. There is even an I-phone app to help you quickly identify FOD-MAP friendly/less friendly/not friendly foods.

Take care.

Anonymous said...

So sorry! Sometimes we work so hard but things that we cannot control take over and we just have to do our best, and you did your best. Good job and I know you will kill it at Boston!

Cheryl said...

I am inspired by all that you do!

Beth @ Miles and Trials said...

Erin, so sorry to hear about your race. I know there's nothing that can be said to help. Just know I'm thinking about you and appreciate you honestly sharing the tough times.

Becka said...

Sorry it wasn't your day. The bathrooms are always crazy at the start of races, ESPECIALLY at RnR.

Personally, I would rather run the risk of being with people much slower than me and getting it done before I start. GI issues during a race are the worst.

Then again, I'm nowhere near your speed, so probably don't listen to me.

giraffy said...

I'm so sorry you had a bad race, Erin. Maybe your body is really just trying to tell you something is up. No period for two years is not something to ignore. :(

Raina said...

Those circumstances are tough, even worse when you have poured yourself into a masterpiece marathon. I'm glad to hear your cycle is back- (if you were missing it for training related reasons and unplanned). I know this was hard. I just want you to know I care.
Love you, Erin!

Christina said...

Many hugs and concern. I know there are no words right now, but know there are those of us who believe in you. The woman's body is a mysterious system, full of life changes, hormones, and so many other quirky situations. Sometimes our bodies have a will of their own and rest assured, you are not alone in having your body not in tune with your goals from time to time. But, it doesn't mean any situation is permanent! Rest and heal your spirit HUG!!!!

Adrienne said...

Very honest stuff here. That 26.2 beast really has an attitude. We (or I have for sure) often give into it and try to placate it. Until we decide that it doesn't have control over us.

Hope that didn't ruin your impression of TX!

janice said...

Dear Erin

You are still my Hero!!! Just the fact that you put your challenges out there in a blog and expose yourself is admirable. Look forward to following you and hopefully the pleasure of meeting you one day.

xo
janice

Diana Martinez said...

I'm so sorry that you're still struggling with GI distress during races. I know it's incredibly frustrating for you. I hope that something can change for you. =(

Annet said...

Know that it is not the post we wanted to read either - with your kind of focus and training it just seems so frustrating... I can not even imagine. Glad you found some commiseration in Jill and that you still had a good weekend away.

Annet said...

Know that it is not the post we wanted to read either - with your kind of focus and training it just seems so frustrating... I can not even imagine. Glad you found some commiseration in Jill and that you still had a good weekend away.

niknaq (Jenn) said...

Erin - thank you so much for such an honest post. I'm so sorry your race didn't turn out as planned. Often times the race we have trained for isn't the race we actually run. I ran a disastrous 4:27 marathon one spring despite being trained up for a 3:25 goal. But the very next season I surpassed my original goal. You will get the GI stuff figured out and run the time you trained so hard for - I know it. That hard work won't go to waste.

niknaq (Jenn) said...

Erin - I'm so sorry your race didn't go as planned. Thank you so much for such an honest post. Often times we unfortunately don't get to run the race and time we are trained up for. I ran a disastrous 4:27 one spring despite being trained up for a 3:25. The next season I surpassed my goal. You WILL get to run the race you've trained so hard for, and that hard work won't go to waste. I hope you get the GI stuff figured out soon - look forward to following along with your running journey.

monicac2 said...

Hugs to you! Prayers for your heart and body's healing!

coach dion said...

I went hunting for your results on the net first thing yesterday morning... I'm so sorry for you. One of my boys run marathon this weekend and also missed his time, but unlike you he was feeling good on The Thursday before so ran to hard in a track session that really he should have not done!!!

Now if you can keep your head in the game your day will come, we are all behind you!

pat said...

I hope you're feeling better and better as the days go by. Kudos for fimishing! :)

misszippy said...

I'm really sorry your day turned out this way--I know the feeling all too well. BUT--I want you to turn your focus to healing you and your body first, and marathons second. Not having a period for two years is not good…think about your long-term health. That has to come first and marathons second.

Kim said...

So sorry to hear your race did not go the way you wanted-again. :(

I do have to say, as a fellow runner, you do inspire me to get out and get my miles in.

Rest up and recover!

Erica Gorman said...

Erin, a big hugs to you. You are working so hard and I do have faith your dreams will come true. It is so hard when it isn't on the time frame we want though, isn't it. I know you have a deep faith and hold on to that. It will help you through this hurdle. Each race is a piece of the big puzzle and trust me, that day your dreams come true will be better and richer after working so hard. I can say that from my 3-year long drive to break a 4:20 marathon and I got just over 4:10. I have bigger dreams as each goal reach drives us to bigger goals. Have faith. Hugs and love to you!

fancy nancy said...

Big hugs Erin!!! I'm so sorry this keeps happening! You are an amazing and strong runner! You work so hard!!! Keep it up and you WILL have that day!!! Even better if it's while you're running down Boylston St. in Boston!!!

Kortni said...

I am so sorry this happened again. You certainly deserve better than this fate! I was so happy to meet you and your heart is just so amazing. You manage to be sincerely happy for those around you when I know your heart is breaking. I pray this is just another bump in the road and Boston brings you everything I was given on Sunday!

Penny said...

I agree with Giraffy and MissZippy. Maybe you just need to step back and listen to what your body is telling you. Not having a period for that long means something. Sorry it did go as you wanted it to. Take care of yourself Erin.

Cathrin said...

Thank you for sharing your victories and your challenges with us. It helps me to become a better person.

Christy @ My Dirt Road Anthem: A Runner's Blog said...

so sorry it isn't the race you were hoping for, that is so frustrating. Hugs, glad to read you are starting to recover and are working on a new plan.

Kristin said...

Just wanted to tell you that you are still my hero! I am so sorry the race didn't go how you wanted. You are a huge inspiration to me, as a mother and a runner, and I hope you get your goal one day.