run, rest, eat, bitch, buy things, cross-train, blog, repeat.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Race Report: Mercedes Birmingham Marathon

This pretty well summarizes the race.

But, I guess I owe you more than that.

Friday night my car started to overheat. AWESOME. So, Saturday morning was full of me driving to my parent's house to pick up one of their cars. To be honest, it was kind of nice to have something else to be frantic about the day before the race.

The KoB and I hit the road around noon and after witnessing a fight at a gas station, (At first glance, it appeared to be an old dude and a young lady who was working at the gas station, but it turned out she was trying to break up the fight between two old dudes. WEIRD) we arrived at the expo around 3, easily picked up our bibs and magically ran into our Bitches Posse.  After the Bitches Posse checked into our hotel, we agreed to meet in the lobby at 5 to roll over to a Macaroni Grille that was close by.

Here is where the day turns into an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I could go on and on about our experience with trying to find a place to eat that night, but I'll just say... if you're looking for good, quick, efficient service at a restaurant in Birmingham... ummm.. good luck. On the other hand, if you're looking for a job in the food service industry: GET YOUR ASS TO BIRMINGHAM RIGHT NOW.

Around 6:15 we ended up at a McAllister's Deli where I ended up having a half veggie filled baked potato and half veggie sandwich. It wasn't anything to write home about. But it seemed fairly safe and at that point, I was just happy to have something to eat. 

I had no problems falling asleep the night before and slept through the night. I think I was just exhausted from the adrenaline rushing through my veins all day long. I did my usual routine of waking up at 4:30, immediately eating and starting to drink coffee and we left the hotel around 6am. 

I was more anxious than I was nervous. It was a strange feeling.
Cheryl and Coach look like they should be on the cover of a magazine.
I look like I should be on a curb somewhere. 

The weather was perfect. And our friend Melissa was there to take our clothes at the last minute, so I was able to wear my sweats until about 5 minutes before the race. Doesn't get any better than that. Before I knew it, the race had started. The first few miles felt like they always do. It took me awhile to get warmed up, but by mile 5 or so, I was feeling pretty good. 

The KoB was right there with me and I felt much calmer having him there, keeping an eye on the splits.

Everything was peachy keen until mile 12ish. I had to pee and we found a porta john around mile 13 and I popped in real quick. After that, I felt much better. But, I think I instinctively picked it up to try and make up time. I was struggling for a little bit, there. I asked The KoB for a Leadville Story. He told me the story of the first time he ran it, he woke up at 2am to get ready for the start, only to find out that it was RAINING. And that it would rain for most of the 100 miles. Ummm. Yeah. That made my pansy-ass marathon feel like a cake-walk. Inspired, I clicked along for the next couple miles.

Now, I had been fueling as ChaCha brilliantly suggested (and turns out, Melissa does the same thing): 1 shotbloxed every two miles. It was actually kind of soothing. To have something routine happen so often. But at mile 14, I could barely chew the thing. It all the sudden tasted disgusting. I was starting to get this weird, nauseous feeling. I also felt like I had to go to the bathroom. So, we stopped at a porta john THAT WAS OUT OF TOILET PAPER, so I kept on going. I told the KoB that I felt like I was going to throw up. He told me he'd be right back and that he'd catch up and he ran over to a McDonald's. About 3 minutes later, he comes flying up besides me and past me. I see him take his glove off and put something in the palm of his hand, when I got up to him, he said... "trust me. lick my hand." I knew immediately that it was salt and I prepared myself for it. I licked his hand and took a little bit of water. 

I was not feeling well.

Around mile 15/16 I finally threw up. It was just passed a water stop at the top of a mini hill. I heaved probably 3-4 times and TMI: they were full heaves. No spitting, but real throw up. Gushing everywhere. Once I stopped, I felt like a million bucks and we kept going. We were starting to get to a rolling hills part of the course and I was feeling so much better and was able to get my pace back to where it needed to be.

The KoB was great. He didn't baby me after I threw up. And he didn't push me. Once he realized that I was fine and feeling better, he kept telling me that my goal was still attainable. Not to give up. And I wasn't giving up. I felt so much better and we were able to push it for the next couple of miles. 

And then the feeling came back. Extreme nausea for about a mile or so and then finally, I stopped at a porta john. And while in the porta john, USING THE BATHROOM, I STARTED PUKING INTO THE URINAL. And eventually I couldn't make it to the urinal, and I was just puking all on the inside of that porta john. It was disgusting. I got out and told The KoB that I puked again, and he was like... "uhh.. yeah, I heard."

Again though, I knew I had another couple of miles of feeling good. So we ran and I tried to push it. My goal was still there. 
We ran up the hills (good lord the course was hillier than I expected) and The KoB yelled at every person walking up the hill. And I'll be damned if they didn't all listen to him and start running. Anytime he saw someone walking on the course, he would come up beside them and yell profanities encourage them to start running again. It made for some good entertainment (especially when some guy yelled at him for cussing).

By mile 23, I was letting all the throwing up and bathroom breaks get in my head a little. I was like... how am I running 26.2 miles with nothing in my stomach? I slowed a little, mentally here. But, The KoB kept after me. Encouraging me. At mile 25 I got that feeling again. And at mile 25.5ish (I could see the 26 mile marker up ahead of us, for fuck's sake) I had to stop and puke again. This is #3. This time it hurt. I felt like I was puking my toes up. Some guy who ran by made a comment about leaving my guts there and going and getting my glory.

That was definitely the longest stop I made to puke. It was painful and I felt so goddamn defeated. But, once I was done, we made our way to the finish.

Uh oh.

Here it comes.

Watch out. #4 coming.

 There I go...

That's my head at the bottom of the picture. 
Throwing up.

I finished with a time of 3:54:33. I made 4 porta john stops, threw up 3 times during the race and didn't take any fuel after mile 14.

Everyone keeps telling me... BUT YOU PRed!!!! You should be happy!!!!

Fuck THAT. I didn't spend 23 weeks of my life training to run a 3:54. I didn't ask The KoB to give up his weekend training runs to pace me to a 3:54. Running-wise.. I am in the best shape of my life right now. My fitness is there, my legs are there... WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?

I am really frustrated and really pissed. I put in so much work. My Coach put in so much work for me. The KoB put up with a crazy person for 23 weeks... all that for a 3:54. I was capable of more on Sunday. And nothing is more frustrating than not living up to your potential.

Anyway... all was not lost, Cheryl ended up killing her BQ time in her first marathon (That's how bitches do, yo). I PRed and I think The KoB and I got a little closer in our relationship: nothing says intimacy like seeing the insides of your significant other.

Reflections, thank yous, and future plans to come in another post. This one is long enough as it is.


Redhead Running said...

Oh man! Just... oh man. I cannot even imagine! I am so sorry your race was such a disaster and I totally get why, even with a PR, you are still completely frustrated. :( Sending a big internet hug your way. I hope you are feeling better at least!

Katie said...



Carina said...

Oh, I can feel your misery. I'm sorry you went through that. I also do know the pain of not meeting your potential. I was going for a sub-4 in Chicago the year they cancelled it. I trained all summer for a sub-4 and felt like I was fully prepared. And I ran a 4:28 or something. That was a PR, but it was lost in my disappointment of not getting the sub-4 I wanted. Looking back now, I regret beating myself up and not being proud of my PR. I wish I'd looked at it as a PR triumphing over shitty circumstances, but I just saw failure. I really hope you come to be proud of your new PR. Dude, there is no way I could have run through that feeling, and you did. And you still killed it, as miserable as it felt. Either way, it totally sucks. I'm sorry.

Kelly said...

Damn, that sucks! You're one badass bitch to keep running after the first puking, much less more!

LAPT said...

I seriously cannot believe that shitty luck. You PRed despite all the puking/potty-breaks, and that's pretty damn impressive.

Amy said...

Thanks ya'll.

I'll get it next time.

chacha said...

Ugh. I wish I could tell you I knew why you were puking. But the nausea/fuel/water equation is like fucking Schrodingers Equation or something.

Might have been salt. But then again, I ate more salt than normal on Sunday, and, I was totally out of sorts at mile 25 (like dizzy and seeing cross-eyed? WTF), and I have no idea why.

Anyway, you ran a sub-4 with that many pit stops. I don't know, that's pretty ridiculous. I can see why you are pissed because without that bullshit you'd be easily in the 3:40's.

You won't need 23 weeks to train and re-attempt another marathon. So, that's good.

Old Man said...

Damn. So did you figure out the cause? The half sandwich/half soup?


Anonymous said...

how about ..... no


ace said...

i feel your blistering disappointment, so please don't think i'm trying to mitigate your pain or anger.


when you've got some separation from this and you're rebuilding your confidence and reinventing yourself as a runner, remember that this marathon fell apart due to circumstances beyond your control. you did everything you could to prepare and to perform - and at the end of the day, that's all any of us can do, any time, in any venture. life is filled with unknowable circumstances, but if you can face them all doing what YOU can do, controlling what YOU can control, then you can always hold your head up proudly.

(expect when you're bent over puking! haha!)

no, seriously. serenity prayer. head up and whatnot. hup-hup and carry on.

Anonymous said...

I,m pretty sure you Don't need a serenity prayer or confidence rebuilding. You know you've got what it takes already. Next one!