Monday, June 6, 2011

I am a marathoner! Rock N Roll San Diego race recap.

First of all, I would like to say thank you to you guys in the running community. It never ceases to amaze me how generous this community is with support, advice, love, shoulders to cry on and everything else in between.  I truly don't believe I would've gotten to this point without you all.  It truly took a village to raise this runner…

A huge thank you especially to Lesley at Racing It Off. Lesley you are wonderful. Beautiful inside and out. Your generosity of giving a place to "some girl on the internet" to sleep and having this experience with you was absolutely priceless and I'll always remember the entire thing as one of the highlights of my life. Thank you, thank you.

Sherry, many thanks to you too. I loved getting to know you and had a fabulous time.

jen - lesley - sherry - Jion AKA "frankie" ;)

Now on to the race:

I landed on Saturday and as soon as wheels were down and Lesley had made the pickup we were off to the Expo. The place was a mob-scene and I was starving so we pretty much made the bib pickup and headed out after a little looking around.  The rest of the day, we took easy. I even had a "celebrity sighting" at the hotel! No other than The Boring Runner himself, Adam! I was so excited to see him but unfortunately didn't get a chance to chat or get a picture with him. (If you don't read his blog, you should. He's a talented runner/writer and don't let the name fool you - so funny and awesome.)   

Then, we got all of our race stuff set up and ready to go.

We visited Little Italy and found a delicious little Italian restaurant to carb-load at.  

The next morning we were up and off to the race by 4:30 AM. 

Got in my corral which was an embarrassing 32 out of 34 corrals for full marathoners, but we all have to start somewhere. My est. time of arrival at finish was around 5:45 - which I was pretty confident I could nail.  (And probably even do a wee bit better…. but.)

Only 31 more corrals to go!

So after waiting for 31 corrals to go before me, finally it was our turn - And off we went.  The weather was perfect. I was feeling excited and optimistic in-spite of a weird cramp in the arch of my foot (before I even started running!) and the fact that I had lost a GU .5 miles into my run. Oh and for some reason my Nike+ started and then stopped so I got ripped off of a few miles of running… 

Kind of a crazy start to a race but I wasn't gonna let anything break-a my stride…

The first 5 miles were glorious, I was happy and feeling good. And then, OH NO. What the hell!?  Why does my tummy feel so icky??? 

TMI alert. If you're not a runner or a parent you may want to turn away now.  You've been warned.

I had just taken my first GU and all of a sudden I needed a potty. Now. And the "please don't poop my pants" inner chant started. My stomach was revolting. Was it the Cyto-max that the race had in place of the gatorade I was used to? The pasta from the night before? A gu gone bad? The morning coffee brewed in that little hotel room pot or just the stomach flu coming in at a bad time -- I don't know but it was one of the worst things that could happen.  Let's just say that I made BFF's with every porta-potty stop along the route - I lost count after visiting around SEVEN of them. Fantastic. Running made it way worse and this was upsetting though I tried to keep my spirits as high as possible. I ran when I could, jogged/walked when I had to. 

Right past the half way point, I even ran a block off the race course to visit a 7-11 to buy a travel packet of immodium. The teenaged clerk gave me a funny look and I kind of shot him a look that said "F" you in return and headed back out. For the record, the medicine didn't really help but it was worth the try.

Whoaa! We're half way there! -Jovi

No matter what, sometimes sh*t happens. Uh, sometimes literally and I was determined to still enjoy this day and make it the best day ever, dammit. My legs felt good, my mind appreciating as much as possible and I told my tummy that I wouldn't let it rob me of this day.  Once I started, there was never a doubt in my mind that I would cross that finish line. Lesley even promised to come back and drag me over the line if she had to- so I had faith I would get there.

I ran/jogged/plodded/walked on only 1 1/2 GU's and a half packet of sport beans. Not ideal fueling. I kept drinking water and took a little of salt but even water hitting my belly sent the wave of cramps and another "please don't poop my pants" awful feeling but I knew that I had to at very least hydrate if nothing else.

Right around mile 15 when I was feeling particularly ick there was an angel sent from heaven in the form of an old friend I know from a job we both worked at years ago. I knew she was a runner (in fact she did the goofy challenge at Disney this past year) and TNT coach but never thought I'd see her on the other side of the country during a marathon.  At just the right time, I looked up to see Alison and it was like the happiest moment ever. I didn't know she was going to be there and she didn't know I was running. I saw her and screamed her name. She looked at me and I could tell she didn't recognize me.  Alison hasn't seen me in 65 pounds or so. When I identified myself, she almost fell over and her warm hug and "OMG you've lost so much weight, you're running the full!?) and other enthusiasms gave me so much needed energy - it was better than anything.  I'm so grateful that i wasn't looking the other way, or at my feet or whatever else that I do when I run and saw her. I needed that SO BAD.

At mile 18 I helped a girl who looked like she was going to die. She was panting. People were just running by her and I felt like she needed at least a kind word. I reluctantly gave her the half of my remaining sport beans and found her some water.  She was cramping bad and didn't look great. She was TNT person so someone came to help her and a medic came - then I was on my way again.

My tummy never got better and I spent a "blissful" 21.2 miles running with a rumbling tummy and underfueled but what are you gonna do? 

When I hit mile 25 I started to get choked up. I was gonna make it. I did it. I faced down no fuel and tummy troubles, previous injuries, foiled running plans, an imperfect training regime and making friends with 50 porto's along the way and I was going to complete my first marathon.  I thought of my friend Sara and her recent journey and her mom - I thought of Lesley and Jason who've been great, great support. I thought of Emz and her 24 hour treadmill run, I thought of my darling husband and son and I thanked God that I made it the whole 26.2 without pooping my pants.  

I came down the homestretch and ran that last mile. Finish strong. I saw Lesley cheering me on -- when I crossed, I smiled big for the camera (as Jason suggests) and then broke down into an ugly cry. I was so happy.

26.2 and still smiling
It was the best day but the worse "race."  Well. I beat Al Roker's time but my final time? A disappointing but it is what it is, 6:20. Boo.  I am disappointed. Mainly because I know that if I didn't stop every mile and could've run what I was planning to, I would've done way better. But, I am proud that I didn't quit and kept my spirits up in the face of the troubles. Plus, the upside to all that stopping/walking nonsense, I never hit a wall, never really had leg issues and it was a good experience in that regard. 

And while I'm a little creaky today, I'm really no more creaky than the day after any long run. I feel like I really didn't give it my all if I'm feeling this "good." I know I didn't (even with very good excuse) and that bums me out. 

I am definitely having the post-marathon day blues. All that training, anticipation, bitching, moaning, dreaming, fearing, looking-forward to - gone. Done. Over. Do I dare sign up for another? Oh I want to with every cell in my body. But we'll see. For now, it's just we'll see.



Tricia said...

Holy heck girl you are tough. Congrats!

Unknown said...

Thanks Tricia!

nikki said...

you did it!!!! you are a trooper and an amazing runner....a marathon girl.... stellar. you are stellar.

Anonymous said...

Love ya, marathoner!!!

PS. White Rock. ;-)

Rose @ Eat, Drink, and Be Meiri said...

You may not like your time, but you are still a marathoner, so HUGE congrats on that. ANd hey, next time you'll totally be faster!

Michael said...

First CONGRATS on becoming a marathoner....that's an Amazing accomplishment!! Second, WOW, that sounds like a very difficult race to make it through. It sounds pretty miserable, but you pushed through and did it. Truly amazing job!

Katie Foster said...

A huge CONGRATS on finishing the race!! It sounds awful with the stomach issues, and I'm sure I would have been tempted to quit on that alone. Great job!!

Jason said...

So proud of you. It was great getting updates from Lesley on your progress and I am glad to have been able to 'be' there during the crappiest run you've ever had.

Looking forward to your journey to #2 b/c here is always a #2.

Courtney @ I CAN DO THIS said...

Wow! Congrats on crossing that finish line with a smile on your face. You are a marathoner! Sorry you had a rough go of it, but think of how much better your next one will be! :)

The Boring Runner said...

CONGRATS!! Even with the crappy stuff, you still were able to move your body 26.2 miles and that is saying something! That said, I know what you mean about coming in short of your true potential. It sucks, but that is what makes us stronger. Congrats!!

BTW - what were we thinking - neither of us got a picture in the lobby! Arggg. :)

LKPheartsfood said...

Holy cow, Jen--that is amazing. YOU are amazing! The NYC marathon runs right past my building--every year I cheer on the runners. Maybe next year one of them will be you ;)

Sherry @ Life from my persective said...

Why have I not been reading your blog and getting to know you?! I am sooooo proud of you for finishing your first marathon. No matter what happened that day, you are a full fledged marathon finisher now! Very happy to have met you and spent some time together! Have a wonderful week!

Sara said...

I have been waiting to comment on this post!!


I knew you could do this, you knew you could do it, and YOU DID! Simply amazing. I am so proud of you, I have tears in my eyes reading your post. What you have accomplished is nothing short of amazing!

Words cannot express how I feel about your accomplishment, and I am so happy to call you my friend. Looking forward to where we can go from here!

Julie @ HotlegsRunner said...

Jeeeeeeeeeeeeen!!!! I want to give you a big big tight huuuuug! You did it!!!! You are now marathoner Jen!!! WOOT!!!! No more talk about time from you ok? You finished... that's what's important. =)

The Skårtist said...

well, even though the experience could have been better it certainly gave you great blog posting fodder! Wow, kind of unbelievably awesome that despite everything you DID IT. woohoo. so Iron man next?!!

RunningAg said...

CONGRATS! I am one of Sherry's BFFs and found you through her. Awesome job...even with the poop problems! :-)

Unknown said...

Congratulations!!! Way to stick it out and cross the finish.

Unknown said...

Thanks everyone for your kind words :)

Kerrie said...

I'm a little late...but WOW! So impressed that you toughed it out. That feeling is the worst. What an experience you had. And, now, you're a marathoner! Congrats!

PS: I hope you yelled, "THANK YOU ROB THOMAS!" at the end.

Meg O @watchmegorun said...

Ughh it sucks for us with sensitive stomachs. You never know what might set it off. Despite the setbacks, you still finished and that's what I am going to tell myself if I run into the same probs during my marathon. Tummy issues will not stop me from becoming a marathoner!

Unknown said...

It's very true Meg. It sucks but it is what it is and what doesn't kill us (or embarrass us to death) makes us stronger!! :)

Michele @nycrunningmama said...

Ughhh! I'm so sorry to hear that you had such awful stomach issues!!! I'm amazed at how positive you are - AND the fact that you kept running!
Congrats on your first marathon =)

Unknown said...

This is just what I needed to read to prepare me for whatever may happen on my first marathon in two days! Thanks for sharing!