Sep 23, 2007

runs. races & otherwise

last years' peak long marathon training run of 21 miles had me throwing up in miles 3 & 4. i still finished the whole 21 miles. and while i didn't throwup, this years' peak long run was no better. it was worse. last year - it was due to a poor breakfast choice. this year, there was no choice.

i signed up to run a 30K for my longest run... i figured it would be a fun way to change up the monotony of my solo long runs, i'd get my course mapped out for me, i wouldn't have to worry about water stops - it would be handed to me & i'd get a cool race shirt. i ran the idea by coach ... i don't make a running move without his advice & after he mulled it over, i got the go-ahead ... permission to run the race however came with some very specific paces to run & the ominous message: you don't want to leave your marathon out on the course.

once he said that, i stopped trolling the internet for last years' times to see if i could place anywhere in my age group. there wasn't going to be any of that this race ... just a training run.

i really have no idea where to start this miserable story, so i'll try to sum it up in a nice neat, list. get some coffee ... you're gonna be here a while. that is of course if i am vain enough to think you're going to stick around for whole story. but then again, maybe you should stick around. maybe you'll learn something in that, don't do what i do sort of way. i have to think a smarter girl would stay home.
  • around 5pm last night, on a road trip home from a very nice little overnight camping trip, i get hit with a bout of diarrhea. it lasts for the entire 3.5 hour trip home. i realize this is a little TMI, but it's quite relevant to the next 24 hours. so stay with me ...
  • we finally arrive home, i need to get race gear organized, get kids to bed, and spend some more time in the loo before i can go to bed. a lot more time. and i try to wonder where this is coming from. figuratively speaking, of course.
  • since there's so much time to just sit. and think. i wonder what sort of demon dairy made its way into my diet. cause i've been good. really good. i did not partake of the veggie buffet at the lodge the previous evening. mostly due to the fact that when i went over there to eagerly fill my plate because i was starving, i can see that the veggies are swimming in vile vats of butter. hmmmm, i'll have the iceburg lettuce salad with oil & vinegar thank you very much.
  • and the next day, i have complete control over our dreamy campfire breakfast & know for a fact there is no dairy, nor is there any in my dreamy chicken salad sandwiches i made for lunch. so i'm totally clean. kosher.
  • so i go to bed & can barely sleep cause i feel like such shit. no pun whatsoever intended.
  • and i think while desperately trying to sleep & despite getting up upteen times to hit the loo, that i while i may not leave my marathon out on the course, there may well be something else of me left out there.
  • its' not much better in the morning. red flags should have gone up while i was on the toilet, for like the 17th minute in a row, pinning my race number on my skirt. or maybe when i was in krogers at 6am looking at immodium ... i had some at home, but a side effect was drowsiness. well good god, i was about to run a race, a drowsiness-inducing otc wasn't gonna cut it. so i think they must have one that is non-drowsy. and i look at the kroger brand & as i look to see the side effects, there is a word in the ingredients that catches my eye: LACTOSE. lactose?! are they shitting me? (again, no pun intended) ... jesus. that would so defeat the purpose. so i go home empty handed.
  • and my new plan for the race was to just go out there & do as much as i could, figuring i would most likely be a DNF.

now, i'm at the race. and i'm feeling bad. really bad. i run around the block because i cannot stand there and listen to everyone's pre-race chatter. it drives me wild. i don't really do pre-race chatter. and i'm also looking for a bathroom. there are none. none. and this is called forshadowing. this is the sign of a poorly staffed/supported event. i've never been to a race where there wasn't a little bank of portapotties ... but i did know going in, cause the woman who owns the shop who ran the race sent an email out to everyone announcing that their mile split callers had bailed out on the last minute & she said there would be signs that marked the miles, wear a watch to get your split times. so i knew to look for mile marker signs.

i didn't know how tiny they would be. nor did i know that they would be facing the wrong way. or not even there. or, i swear - as in mile 13 & 14 that it would only take me 3:24 to run that whole mile.

and, in addition to the fact that their mile split callers bailed out on them, i think their water stop volunteers also decided against showing up. cause this 30k had 1 water stop. if you want to get really technical, it had two - one going into a half mile loop, and one coming out of it. 2 waters in .5 miles. that was it. i asked the girl at the "second" stop if there was water further ahead. she said yes. she must have been smoking crack.

  • the diarrhea gods (they exist) were smiling down on me, cause i got a hall pass for the whole race. and i felt strangely ok for the first half. okay enough to be running faster than instructed. which was bad.
  • the weather gods? not smiling down ... i thought the last day of summer was a couple of days ago. i swear, it was closing in on 90 degrees.
  • i don't even know my paces for the second half - that's where all those missing, turned around or otherwise jacked up mile markers came in to play.
  • i would have killed someone for water. and i knew who it was. i buy things from her store.

but it's over now. i have never felt so bad or so sick at the end of a race. later on in the day, i said to my husband (who was at the finish with the kids) - you forgot to bring the camera. he said: believe me, you didn't want a picture.

i don't think i could walk in a straight line. i stopped at a bunch of bushes in the hopes that i'd throwup. my husband offered to drive me home & i didn't even argue. i would have loved to have been strapped to a gurney & wheeled into an ambluance & hooked up to an IV. dreamy.

once home, all i want to do is get naked & curl up in the fetal position on cold bathroom tiles & snuggle up to the toilet. and there is only one time i ever feel this bad. and its when i have a stomach bug. and its at this moment, after 12 hours of diarrhea and a 30k race that it dawns on me: demon dairy is not the only thing that would give me the runs .... maybe i have a stomach bug.

at one point, i am lying on the couch, giving my husband instructions on how to make my recovery smoothie; and i am moaning - my god, why do i do this? he laughs & says, "you see, i chose a much more civilized sport (cycling), you runners are sadistic".

he says had he woken up in the 'bathroom situation' i was still in after 12 hours, he would have stayed in bed.

staying in bed didn't even occur to me.
cause the shirt was cool.
and i couldn't wear it if i didn't at least run a little bit of the race.


Vickie said...

Oh, Suzanne, what a mess that must have been for you! I felt realy bad reading about your misery! I've felt your pain! But hey,you got that shirt! And believe it or not, I had a similar problem in my first half marathon years ago--diahrrea, no water, mile markers turned around (dual purpose signs: 2 miles and 10 miles on one sign and they reversed them!. By the time I finished, I was so crazed from the whole ordeal. I had to stop several times on the drive home too. It was months before I could run more than 2 miles without needing to stop and go somewhere. We make choices when doing this stuff: we sign up, we show up, and we finish just to get a shirt or a medal or whatever, no matter how bad or hard it is! Is that a sign of insanity?? Hope you're feeling better soon!

Anonymous said...

OK, see, I thought you were really, really tough and determined, when in fact, you're insane! And perhaps superhuman. Seriously, OMG! :)

And hey, feel better soon!!!

Anonymous said...

Geez-you are amazing or crazy...wait, that's a runner for you.

seriously, I hope you feel better soon. At least you got the cool schwag.

Take care of yourself.

Toasty said...

in my book, that is perfect preparation before a marathon, makes you humble and less likely to start the big one complacent, only to be knocked down around the 20 mile mark

then again my book isn't widely read

Tall Girl Running said...

Two words: GUT CHECK.

We have all runs like this. We hope to avoid having runs like this during an organized race, but that's inevitably going to happen from time to time too. So okay, you should have stayed in bed. But that's not what runners do. Runners run, no matter what. Don't make more out of this than it was... you were sick and it was a bad run, that's all. Focus your energy now on feeling better and regaining strength. This one's in the rear-view mirror and the only thing left from it you should remember is how you gutted it out in the face of misery. Because you're a runner and that's what runners do.

zanne said...

thanks for all the well wishes to feel better! other than a few lingering ah, 'episodes' ... i really think it was a 24 hour thing. like clockwork, 5pm saturday, to 5pm sunday.

toast: i like what you said .. .i had had a stellar week and was, dare i say, feeling very confident. something had to knock me down! glad that something was 4 weeks before big day. in a sense - you're right - it was perfect. par for the course & my peak long runs, really.

angie: you're so right - we all know that staying in bed wasn't really an option. we just don't do that ... we go out & run no matter what. it sucked & i'm fine with it - makes for a great story! i had never had a bad race experience - now i got one ... a "clunker of a race" as my coach said ... one for the books. or the blogs as it were!

Anonymous said...

oh honey, that just sucks.

i am also relieved to know it was 30k and not 40 as fatty had told me. i was thinking you were a bit crazy! well, maybe a bit more crazy than usual.

Unknown said...

Oh man -- and here I wussed out just because I had a bit of a head cold. So glad to hear you're doing better!

Gotta Run..... said...

Oh my goodness... why did you not updaye me in our email today. You poor girl. Now I have had aglass of wine andn can harkldey type. Goodnenss I am laujing and how bad I am art thiss.

I will chenci on you tomorrow.

Hipe yo are feeling better.

zanne said...

omg. you crack me up. thats what a glass of wine will do to you in a 40+ mile week.

Scott said...

I am Robin's husband...amazing what a few glasses or margaritas does to you. One, she couldn't type and two, she actually thought she was drinking wine.


Andria said...

Oh my word! This is so funny and so sad! Those darn shirts will make us do things that *sane* people wouldn't! And who puts on a race with only 2 water stops?