Short story: Today sucked.

Here’s the long(er) story…

About a week ago, I got a cold and it has been lingering for days.  Not a good thing to have happen right before a race.  I tried to fight it as best I could this week – took my vitamin C and zinc, and got lots of rest.  I was feeling a little better each day starting on Thursday.  I still didn’t feel 100% when I woke up this morning, but I was feeling better – probably about 80%.

To top it off, because of the cold, I haven’t had much of an appetite at all this week, and really haven’t eaten too much.  I actually forgot to eat dinner last night because I just wasn’t hungry, and didn’t notice until 10:30, and by then it was time to go to bed, and too late to really eat something.

So the run up to this weekend was not looking good.

This morning we lined up at the start line, and I wasn’t feeling terrible.  I thought I could still have a decent day and have some fun.  I chatted with a few people near me at the start line and found a nice guy to run with (probably in his 50s) who runs at pretty much the same pace as me.  When the gun went off at 9am, we headed off.

The first mile wasn’t horrible.  I attributed my discomfort to not being warmed up yet – it usually takes a few miles for me to warm up and settle into a groove.

But then I noticed that I wasn’t breathing very easily.  I could still feel that cold in my chest.  Everything felt uncomfortable.

And then my legs started to feel like lead.

By the first aid station, at mile 2, thoughts of a DNF had already entered my head, but I continued on.  As we came up on mile 4 and the start of the butt-kicking hills, I told John (the guy I was running with) that things might not be going my way today.  Around 4.5 miles I told him to go ahead because I was needing to walk an AWFUL lot already.  Every time there was an uphill I had to stop and catch my breath, and my legs felt like they each had a 100 pound weight attached to them.  I just had no gas in the tank.  All that lack of appetite this week had ended up threatening me with a huge bonk on race day.

At the aid station at mile 6, I actually stopped for a minute to decide if I should continue on or not.  The volunteers were so sweet and kept offering me a chair, but after a minute, I pushed on.  I decided to just take it one aid station at a time.  They were every two miles, so that seemed like a reasonable increment for re-evaluation.

Miles 7 through 12 passed fairly uneventfully.  I still felt terrible, but there really isn’t much to mention.  At mile 12, I met a guy who was hurting.  Turns out he had run another full yesterday, in Ohio.  He had then gotten in the car, and driven 10 hours, just to run another one today.  Craziness!  He was from Utah and was in Pennsylvania on business and figured while he was on the east coast, he’d check a few states off of his list (he’s going for all 50).  Yikes.

We encouraged each other from somewhere around mile 12 to the halfway point.  But by then my legs were completely done.  I had absolutely nothing left in my tank, and I knew that if I was going to stop, this was the place to do it.  The halfway point is a huge spectator area and has a lot of volunteer support, and I knew I could take the spectator bus back to the start to find my husband.

I was devastated.  I HATE having a DNF, especially at a marathon.  Yeah, I ran a half marathon, but that wasn’t what I set out to do today.

I pulled off the course, and grabbed two orange slices at the volunteer tent and then walked to the spectator bus with my tail between my legs.

When I got back to the finish line, I found my husband waiting in the car (he was reading to kill time while I ran).  He was so confused when he saw me walking up a good hour early.  But I got a big hug and then we headed home.

Overall, I was so disappointed with myself.  But I need to accept that this was out of my control.  I ended up getting sick at a really inopportune time, and just hadn’t recovered as much as I thought I had come race day.

So now I am debating – I know a few people who are trying to transfer their bibs for the Marine Corps Marathon in DC in October.  I’d really like to have a decent fall marathon this year.  So I might grab one of their numbers.

Or I can cut my losses for the fall and work on healing up these nagging aches and pains, and get back to basics for training.  I still haven’t trained well and I always wonder how I could run if I really applied myself in my training.  I think it could be pretty decent.

I think I’m leaning toward going back to basics, but I’m not sure yet.  We’ll see how I feel tomorrow.

That’s okay, I’ll get back to Schroon next year.