They say the third time is the charm. Good things come to those who wait. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, whatever that means, (not sure if that's relevant here). Once again, I have been defeated by the marathon. This time when it hit, it hit hard. Below the belt, even.
I will cut to the chase, since we all know that running is about numbers: 4:14. Those are my numbers. Not anywhere near my A, B, or C goals. Based on my recent half marathon finish, I was in shape to run a 3:34:21 marathon. Awesome. I knew it would be a lot of hard work in those final miles, but I felt like an 8:10 pace would not be difficult for me at all. Even running the half, finishing in 1:42 with an average pace of 7:49, was not difficult & I felt like I could have run it faster when all was said and done. I decided to pace 8:10's from the start with my A goal being sub-3:35. I was in excellent shape, training went well, my 20 miler was the kind of run they write songs about, & I honestly felt like this was a reasonable goal. Here are my splits up to 10 miles:
1 - 8:10
2 - 8:09
3 - 8:10
4 - 8:08
5 - 8:10
6 - 8:07
7 - 8:10
8 - 8:09
9 - 8:10
Oh, I'm sorry, does something look out of place? yeah... it happens. What? Sh*t. It's humiliating, disgusting & it will happen to all of us one day. This particular day, I didn't think this was going to happen. In fact, NEVER in training have I had any kind of bathroom issues. Now, I've thrown up during training lots of times. Mostly that was due to those disgusting gels we have to choke down. I found one that works for me, & have never had an issue with them before. I use the apple-cinnamon Hammer Gel, & love it. I don't think this was the issue. I still don't know for sure, but for whatever reason, I started getting BAD stomach cramps & knew that if I didn't duck out quick I was gonna have an accident. This was a small marathon, & the course was a 3.275 mile loop. There were no porto johns along the loop, & the only bathroom was inside the student center at the beginning of the loop. Of course when this happened I was not near the student center. What did I do, you ask? Get me really drunk & I might tell you sometime ;)
I managed to make it to the half in 1:50, so I thought I could perhaps meet my B goal of 3:40. I was thinking that if I quit focusing on the stomach pains they would go away. Mind over matter. I tried my ipod for a while to keep my mind off of it, I prayed, I tried thinking of a song in my head & running to the beat of it to numb my mind... The above scenario happened a total of FIVE times during this race. It's something I didn't expect, have never experienced, & wasn't prepared for. I'm not posting the rest of my splits, because it's embarrassing & what's the point? I will tell you that the one time I did go in to use the facility at the student center, my mile split was almost 17 minutes due to waiting in line. What a train wreck. I didn't cry, & still haven't, but it's hard to watch your dream just be taken away from you due to something that is out of your control.
As athletes, we have all heard stories of this happening to others. Heroic stories like Julie Moss (above) dragging herself across the finish line at Kona after the same disgusting scenario. Mine is not heroic. I gave up. I'm not getting down on myself, I'm simply stating that once I saw that even my C goal of sub 4:00 wasn't going to happen, I said screw it. I walked a lot. At this point, I was severely dehydrated. Though I was going through all of this, I thought I should still take my gels & drink water, so I did. Not sure if that was the right thing to do or not, as I wasn't prepared. I started feeling nauseous at around mile 18, & after mile 20 I started throwing up. This happened three times, & then during the last loop I had no stomach issues whatsoever. All I remember from the last loop was a guy telling me to open my eyes, that I might run off the road. I was a full-on marathon zombie by that time.
I was extremely glad to have Jenn & Ashley there to help me through all of this, even though I was probably being mean to them. If so, girls, I'm sorry. I get like that when I lose control of my bodily functions. ;) Anyway, Ashley caught me as I was collapsing at the finish line, & she got me over to a chair inside the student center where I refused to drink my water like a child. She's a nurse & was very good at just telling me I had to do it. She was right, because really within a few minutes I was perking up & didn't feel like I might die any minute, nor did I feel like puking any more. In talking to her, I may have had too many electrolytes in my system & not enough water in the end. I don't know, but it was nice to have people there to take care of me & bring me things: like my medal. Thanks Jenn! We drove home from Springfield after going to get something to eat, & had to stop at Kum & Go for a big cup of water that I was instructed to drink all of, and I did. Like a good girl :)