I wanted to name this post DNF. I have been crafting these words in my head since Sunday at 9:24AM EST and the more I thought about it, the more I realized that true as it may be it is just too negative for this girl.
Sunday, I toed the line at 8AM EST in Pocono Lake, PA. Trained, hydrated, rested (relative term), fueled, nervous and excited. I was eager to see the benefits of all of my hard work pay off as I cross the finish line of my seventh marathon ideally faster than all of the rest. I was thankful and fortunate to be running this race with Craig and Dave and even more thankful for Craig’s ability to talk about anything and everything, which provided some welcomed distraction. We arrived at the staging area (in the pouring rain) at 6AM and boarded busses that took us to the start (course was one way). I’m nervous…running in the rain is new to me because as you know in Colorado we stand more of a chance of running through a wildfire than a rain shower. We drive what seems like 50 miles towards the start line/staging area and by now the rain was subsiding a bit and the temperatures could not be more ideal for running hours on end. Ok, now I’m getting excited. I have a stomach with such an annoying personality that it has a name and it hasn’t been normal since Saturday’s lunch. This is nothing new so I try not to focus on it. The race starts and I knew from the first few steps that something wasn’t right but figured it was just nerves. By mile two the front of my left calf had cramped so badly that I still feel the after effects and by mile three I was forced to stop, stretch and vigorously massage to keep me running without slapping my left foot on the pavement. I am angry but still determined. Dave was hanging with me through this marathon no matter the outcome and at this point he is still pushing me to find a rhythm and work it out. We start out again, regaining the strong pace that we started with, trying to focus on anything but my leg and it seems to work. By mile seven we were flying and I think had made up the time lost stretching but by now I had relinquished control of the watch to Dave and I really have no idea what pace we are going but it seemed fast and didn’t feel bad at all. The course was downhill with the exception of all of the uphill you had to climb to once again go back downhill….does it make sense to anyone else to call this downhill course? Maybe rolling hills? Anyway…doesn’t matter because what happens next marks the beginning of the end for me. We round a corner at mile 10 at the bottom of a long downhill section to then start what seems like an eternal uphill. The alien cramp in my leg is now taking full control of my stomach and I now have a pretty terrific case of nausea that is consuming my focus. I think I’m going to be sick…no way…not possible…not today! I tell Dave and he tells me to stop focusing on it and think about something positive. I try. We make it another half-mile and there is no more trying …another mile…another trip to the woods. By mile 12 I have taken off my number and know that for the first time in my life, I will not be able to finish this race. I’m heartbroken, frustrated, angry and sick. We find a ride with the Good Samaritan of the day to the finish line to cheer for Craig as he finishes his race in a performance worthy of a new personal record. Well done Craig, way to bring home the good story of the day. As for me I've given myself a day to heal and refocus, pity party ends tomorrow with an early morning run in the Garden and then fun on the Incline with the crazy mountain chicks.
Thank you to all of my friends who cheered for me both before and afterwards. Thank you to Susie and Danielle for surprising me at the airport at 10PM, rocking your rainbow NB’s and sportin’ the feather boas. My “sweat sisters” you have no idea what you do for me day in and day out. Thank you to Craig for being such a stud and rocking your race. Celebrate already, you deserve it. And a HUGE thank you to Dave for hanging with me, knowing when to push and when to let me go. I owe you one.
In a race we expect to cross a finish line at the predetermined distance dictated by that particular event but sometimes there is an entirely different plan in store for us that we cannot control. My friend Michelle sent me a text that sums it up perfectly. She said, “It’s always really hard to not finish. You have such high expectations for yourself – and so does everybody else! And even worse, you tend to second guess your decision, and think maybe if I had just been a little tougher, I could have pulled it out. But you need to remember in the moment of competition, it just wasn’t possible. So the positive…it is races like these that make you a better person – on all levels. So in a kind of convoluted way you still won!” Thank you Michelle, I’ll take it. My finish line on Sunday was the 12th mile of a 26.2 mile race.
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