LIFE. Sometimes gets in the way, or I have also found that some people try to get in the way of my happiness. This weekend was no different. Someone set out to try and ruin the race for me by harassing me and stressing me out Friday and Saturday. By Saturday afternoon I just felt defeated. I felt broken. I felt like waking up Sunday morning and staying in bed all day. But that can be a post for another day...
I am lucky that my team, my true friends and family are so supportive, they got me out of bed on Sunday morning and to the start line of my 7th marathon, Bay State Marathon.
I signed up for this race about a month ago, hoping it would help me during my training for the Stonecat 50 miler in 2 weeks.As time progressed and my running times improved I started to consider racing it and going for my BQ for 2014, to "get it out of the way" :) I know, crazy but I want to focus on ultras and it is hard to do that while running sub 8 minute miles ;)
I told myself that I would see how I felt, if I got to the start line and felt good then I would go for it.
I got to Lowell early and met Kim!! She is a Spartan chick who has done amazing things this year and she was geared up to run her first marathon! We hung out in the high school and waited patiently for the bathroom. I got frustrated though waiting for almost a half hour and we got to T minutes 15 minutes to begin the race. I took matters into my own hands and hid behind a bush outside to pee. Little did I know it would not be the only time I would be relieving myself in the bushes that day...
I headed to the start line and began playing my music. I chatted with a few runners and began to do some calf raises and hops to warm up. I felt good. I actuall tapered well for this and my legs felt fresh as I started running. My miles were all 7:45s and I was surprised. I kept thinking DAMN I am cruising this course is nice and flat! hehe
I took in some honey about every 2 miles and drank at every other water stop just water. This plan was working well. The weather was perfect and honestly I do not think we could ask for much more. It was the perfect recipe for a BQ.
Well recipe started to take a turn when I accidently took in some gatorade at one of the water stops. I drank before I realized what it was. This was around mile 14. I normally never do gatorade because it never agrees with me. I freaked a bit but kept moving and tried to forget about it. But it came back to haunt me later. Well bad nutrition too.
So Saturday was not my normal pre race routine. Neither was Friday. I was all over the place working and running around doing errands I had to eat out all day Saturday and stuck to salads but still, being gluten free there is always worry of cross contamination. I also had some nuts on Saturday which I try to avoid but it was one of those, I am starving I need a quick simple snack deal.
My stomach started to rumble around mile 18. I felt like running into a porta potty but every single one I ran by was full. My pace took a hit. I was not seeing sub 8s anymore and I was started to feel discouraged. I knew I would have to stop and go to the bathroom. I thought about Vermont and what happened then. I was on target for my 3:25 just like today, but once I stopped and went to the bathroom I was never able to recover. I was determined not to lose that today. I was on target once again for that sub 3:30 and I was hungry for it.
I pondered for a mile about what to do. Meanwhile the pain got worse. I started to realize that I did not have a choice, I would have to stop and go to the bathroom or risk going all over myself. At the next water stop of course the porta potty was occupied and someone was waiting... I left. I am stubborn, I know you know that by now LOL So I did what I had no choice to do...
I realized towards the end of mile 20 if I did not pull over into the woods I would not make it any longer. Luckily there were some woods and a black guard rail so hopefully no one saw me. I went to the bathroom, it was the most disgusting experience I have ever had during a race. I desperately reached for some leaves (thank goodness its fall in New England) and I quickly got to my feet again. There is a first time for everything, I hope that was my last time experiencing that! It was terrible :(
One thing I was sure of, I had banked time doing those sub 8 miles the entire beginning of my race. I was NOW even more determined to still BQ. I told myself I did not get this far to lose it again, and I did not just shit in the woods and be a disaster for nothing! I got back into 8 minute miles and kept looking at my garmin.
I knew if I held onto my pace I could do it. I was grateful I had banked enough time earlier that even if I ran 9 minute miles I would squeek by with a BQ. I dug in deep because my stomach was still unsettled. I started to think about the past 2 days. I started to think about my daughter. A million things swirled through my mind. I knew I wanted this to prove someone wrong. I was dewtermined to nail this race despite everything that had happened.
I clung to the pace of 8:15 and mustered my way through those last 5 miles. It was probably the hardest 5 miles I have run in a very long time. I thought about stopping and walking in to save my stomach. I thought about stopping to go to the bathroom again. I did not do any of those things. I turned to a power song and I raised my head. I made the choice to not give up. I made the choice to keep fighting.
It turned out to be the right choice. I crossed that finish line in 3:32!!!!!!!!!!!
I did not wait around at that finish line for very long. I got right into a porta potty and sat there for a good 10 minutes :/ BUT after that I was ok. I walked back to the car and thank goodness I always travel to races with a change of clothes and baby wipes. I got cleaned up and I got some water in me. I felt sick. I knew I was dehydrated and I felt dizzy and weak. My mind was wrapped up into all that that I barely celebrated the BQ. I headed back down the finish line to wait for my friends to finish. I secured their medals as usual :) And I patiently waited.
They did awesome!!! Kim finished her first marathon!!! I was so proud of her.
Back at home my neice basked in my glory and carried on about the marathons she was planning to run with me :)
It took me a week to write this post. Part of it is life getting in the way. Part of it is an inner disappointment with my time. I trained for an ultra marathon which is in 5 days but I was ready for this. I could have gotten that 3:25 if my stomach had allowed it. So I felt a little disocuraged.
Now that I have had time to reflect I have realized that I made it through. I think some people might have quit after getting sick on the side of the road. I think some might not have made the BQ still. I think I am stubborn. I know that there may be tough races still to come, so I need to just keep moving forward and look forward to the future. But I want to be able to celebrate my victories even if they do not meet my personal goals I set.