As you well know, on Sunday I ran my third half marathon.
It was a mess, and my slowest race to date, by more than 11 minutes.
But I finished.
The day started out cold and bright. It was pretty windy, but manageable. Fortunately the race organizers anticipate it will be chilly so the start of the race is not until 11 am. We arrived, got in our corrals about 10 minutes before the start, muttered about how cold we were, and then off we went.
The first mile was comfortable and easy. I warmed up right away, and despite the mid 30 temps, my asthma was fine and I was content. Mile 1 and mile 2 I was right on track for a strong finish.
Then at 2.5 miles I felt like I was punched in the stomach, and I doubled over and threw up.
This wasn't a normal "side stitch" stomach pain. It felt honestly like someone punched me right in the gut. I walked a bit, then went back to running and threw up again. The feeling wouldn't go away.
I carried on until mile 4, where there was a medic. I stopped and cried and threw up again. He asked if I wanted to stop. I thought I did, but the words that came out were "I am going to try to run to the mile 6 medic and then stop."
So off I went again. I threw up again and had to keep walking and continued to cry. I felt so stupid. Why in heaven's name was I throwing up? This has never happened before. I wanted to finish, but I just couldn't take another step. Not only was my stomach aching and I was throwing up, but all of my energy was being spent on that rather than on the run.
I made it to mile 6--about 8 minutes behind what I would have been happy with for a pace. I cried to the medic that I had to stop. He asked if I was sure, and I decided I would continue on to the mile 8 medic. So off I went again.
Of course at mile 7 I started to feel better, no more stomach pain, but then we were on the beach. And it was cold. And very windy. So it was rough going for a different reason for the next few miles. But I knew if I could make it to mile 8 that I could make it to 10. And if I made it to 10 I could make it to 13.
I continued on, constantly walking and shuffling and such a slow pace. I knew I was towards the end of the pack. I was running about 200 meters and walking 50 for the last 6 miles of the race. I knew I was a strong runner, as every time I ran I passed all the other runners in our slow little group, but I just didn't have the energy anymore to sustain it. I had thrown up all my energy,
I carried on, and at every mile marker when I saw the clock I was disappointed. "If I was feeling normal I would have been finished by now, but today I still have 3 more miles." It was discouraging to know that I still had to keep going when normally I would have been done and relaxing by that point.
Finally I was at mile 12. It was a long hill. I ran up it as much as I could (200 meter run, 50 meter walk shuffle shit) and finally I was at the top of the hill. Downhill for the last .3 miles. I knew I could do this. I ran, saw the finish line, and sprinted over it and got my medal. It was the hardest earned medal I had worked for.
I finished the race and felt completely fine. No blisters, stiffness, soreness, etc, even two days later. (No shit sherlock, you walked about 1/4 of the course. No wonder you're not sore!)
The race itself was well run, organized, easy (other than the brutal wind on the beach) and had great crowd support, even through the sketchiest of neighborhoods. If it were not nearly 4 hours away I would sign up for it again in a heartbeat.
I am so proud of myself for continuing to run through so much pain and discomfort. 3 years ago I started my journey with running--I ran my first 5K three years ago to the date. Now I have completed three half marathons, and I know that I can do more. If I survived this one, with the cold temps, the brutal wind, and the extreme stomach issues, I know I can do it again, and do it better.
Check back in June to see how the next half goes!