Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Texas Marathon - State #30 On My Goal

The Alamo, also Mile 3 in the Race

     Texas was my 30th marathon state on my goal.  Additionally it was my first attempt at a 3rd marathon in 15 days.  Generally I like to write my blog posts with a tad more positive light.  However, not all marathons (when doing so many frequently) go as planned.  So instead of making this one out to be better than it was, I have decided to go with the honest route and just tell it like it was:)

Espanda Mission
     So maybe I should have seen a little "Doom" coming, but I tend to ignore all warning sighs.  See generally when I plan out these marathon trips I am great with details, up until now I haven't messed up once on any bookings.  Well apparently when I booked my Texas trip, I had a state of delirium and I apparently booked myself two flights on different days (Just fabulous).

     My first morning in San Antonio, and of course I wake with a scratchy throat and that all over yucky feeling that signals I am coming down with something.  Sure I still went out and played tourist visiting the Alamo, picking up my race packet and walking around the Riverwalk exploring.

    Day two wasn't any better, in fact it was worse I felt like total crap.  If I hadn't been on vacation this would have been one of those days I would have likely spent the entire day in PJ's and in bed sleeping.  Instead I decided to go out and attempt to pretend I wasn't sick, visiting San Antonio Missions National Historic Park.  Every minute hoping that this day would be the worst of this cold bug and I would magically feel better in the morning!

San Antonio Riverwalk at night
     I didn’t!  Race morning I woke up at 5am, felt even more awful especially since I really hadn't slept much having been awake all night with fits of coughing.  So I decided to sleep in a bit longer and rush things when I did finally peel myself out of bed at 5:45am.

     First thing I noticed that morning, when I breathed my lungs were already exhausted (from coughing) and anyone who is about to run a marathon, the last thing you really want is tired lungs before you even start the race, well that and blisters.  I had both, but I was not concerned about the blisters left over from my Missouri race.

     Since I apparently have the fabulous luck with being sick every few races (I blame the Epstein Barr that I have, among other things...) I mentally prepared myself the day before for what I would need to help me during the race.  I knew this wasn’t my first race to run sick, and likely won’t be my last.

San Jose Mission - I just loved the cactus growing on the roof:)
     These larger races have corral systems; I was in #24 out of #34.  I really need to learn to place myself higher when I enter these races, I may not finish with the 4:20 runners, but I generally can hang with them until miles 14-16...  However, this race the corral I was in had me starting with the 5:30 runners Argghhh.
It took me over 30 minutes to get to the starting line from when the original gun went off.  Normally I probably would have jumped in with the earlier number corrals, but since I was trying to forget how terrible I felt I just went with whatever that morning!

I love this picture - San Jose Mission
     Here are the issues with starting in these slower groups.  You get to run with the (My apologies to any runners who read this and use these.) runners who follow stupid run/walk BEEP watches.  I know a lot of people use them, and the companies who sell them make a killing off those who think they need them.  But personally I could never let a beep tell me when to run, when to walk.  I like to feel like I am running to my own beat, not the beep of programed watch technology!!!
But when you get in large groups of these, all you hear are hundreds of constant beeps.  

     The other issue with starting in this slower group, they had a half marathon and a 5K starting at the same time.  Most participants in this pace group apparently (Even 5K) don’t train to run even half of it??? (Go figure.) So when their series of beeps tell them to stop and walk, they will stop in these large groups paying no attention to who is behind them.
I think you get the picture:)  Possibly because I was sick this was all bothering me more than normal, but then maybe not, I have been annoyed with this before too:)  So this is how the first few miles of the race went, as soon as I would be going a pace I would like.  Someone(s) would stop right in front of me and force me to slow/go around...

Mission Concepcion
     I mean no disrespect to those who enter a race who plan on walking most/all of it.  I mean I think it's amazing they are at least trying.  But because I am writing this, I will just put it out there.  Those who do should be a bit more curious to those who actually plan to run.  Move to the outside before stopping, and NEVER stop in large groups and completely block the road!!!  If you do, plan on someone running onto the backs of your ankles/heels or pushing you to the side to fit through your group. (Okay, I think I avoided it all but once or twice (unintentionally), but I won’t lie I was tempted a few times to do it just to teach them a lesson.  But I practiced “nice” runner etiquette and held back- this time LOL:)

Okay, sorry for that little rant, I'll move on:) LOL

The Alamo Garden's
     Well this is how my race was going.  I had my best miles during 1-3.  I remember this because we passed the Alamo at mile 3, and I was still thinking "this is pretty cool!" 
Yup sadly you read that correct.  At mile 4, I was getting exhausted (Lungs, sickness) I was beginning to fall and fall quickly and hard.
By mile 5, and I remember this pretty accurately I was MISERABLE!  I remember my exact thoughts "Why, Why, Why???  Is anyone noticing I am the only one sneezing and coughing every few meters?  I hope not! Who the heck starts feeling bad at mile 5? Me, I am SO sick and this is my 3rd 26.2 in 15 days.  What the heck am I doing to myself?  Wait, I wanted to do this!  Just remember and hold that thought for 21 more miles! PLEASE try to hold that thought!!!"   (Sounds funny now, but at the time it was a pretty serious conversation in my head:)

Mission Concepcion
     I have run sick before, it's horribly miserable and takes just about every ounce of mental/physical effort possible to push through and get the job done.  I have done it before (even with pneumonia), so I knew exactly what I was up against.  What I haven't done before is 3 races in 15 days and been sick on the 3rd.
So I said to myself, this is going to hurt (a lot), this is going to be miserable (or worse), and this is going to take a miracle and several answered prayers!  But this is all self inflicted (minus the cold) and as long as I can remain on my feet I will not quit!
  
So feeling at mile 5, as I should at mile 25 I pushed on.

Riverwalk - This is the stage the Miss Congeniality
The swimsuit portion of the pageant was filmed
    The first 11 miles were pretty much through San Antonio, either in the city or close nearby city neighborhoods.
I struggled quite a bit during these miles, but when the half marathoners finally took their turn away from us around mile 11 this actually picked me up a little.  (Well, mostly because I knew that at least the "beeping" should mostly stop now, LOL)

     We were actually heading out towards all the National Historical Park Mission's now, and I was kind of excited about this since I had toured them the day before.
The bad part was although I ran the first 5 miles at the planned "hoped" pace.  From mile 5-11 I had already fallen back so much on time that literally I had lost 15 min already and it was growing by the mile.

San Jose Mission
     Generally when a runner says "They Hit the Wall" most really didn't actually hit it, they just felt crappy, tired, or under trained and wanted to quit so thought they did.  Having experienced both Hitting the Wall, and Thinking I had Hit the Wall (but didn’t).  (When and if you ever have a run when you REALLY hit the wall, this little paragraph will make complete sense!  Until then, it probably just sounds like I’m making it up.)

Truthfully prior to this race I have had a lot of bad running moments and miles, but I have only actually “Hit the Wall” once or twice ever. 
So do I say I Hit the Wall in this race?  Yes and No is my answer. 

No, because even though I felt horrible and sluggish and pretty much not great the entire race, I know a lot of that had to do with just the illness and the frequent races and in a way it was to be expected.

However, I also say yes, because I had a couple of miles that almost stopped me in my tracks.  So bad that literally it took every ounce of strength to take the steps needed to find my way out of those moments.

Nighttime at the San Antonio Riverwalk
     Additionally, it was a good thing I had already toured the Missions the day prior.  Because I was a little out of it and wasn't taking a moment as I passed them to appreciate their beauty.  Instead I was just counting them down because I knew when I got to the last one I would finally get to make the return loop back.

     Miles 11-16 were I guess a good word for them, sluggish.  My body was pretty much just being forced to go through the motions that it is used to doing in a race.

Mile 17, was a really tough time for me.
I rarely cry, and to actually say this is even hard.  But I was literally forcing myself from crying at a few points during this mile.
I just remember thinking, "This wasn't how today was supposed to go!  Why did I have to catch this stupid cold?"  You know the woe is me stuff...
I also had a few points in this mile that literally it took everything I had not to just drop down “the Wall”.
I had a similar experience just a few miles down the road later.

San Juan Mission
     San Antonio, well maybe it was because I was not really up for running that day.  But I found it to be WAY too hilly. They weren't short hills either, they were the long drawn out hills, some that take a half or mile of just gradual climbing.  (When your lungs are exhausted these are the WORST type – In my opinion!)

     I also have to mention the day was HOT!  It was already 70 before the sun came up, and it seriously felt like 85 pretty much the entire race.  Not only that, but there is little to no shade in San Antonio.  Add what I believe was a slight fever on my part… Not pleasant running conditions!

     I don't think I saw any shade from 11-21.  It was hot and I was already slightly dehydrated (despite my previous attempts earlier in the week to not be. – Blame the stupid cold bug-)
The slight dehydration and illness were a combination of what was wiping me out.  The weird thing is, my legs were actually not too bad, not great, but still much stronger than I would have thought after all I had put them through the past 15 days!

     If you are thinking that I am getting through all of these miles on my own pure will and motivation, then you’re wrong.  I really should mention I was praying like crazy for the help to get to the finish and pretty much had been since the beginning!  THANK GOODNESS I was being looked out for that day, because all my prayers were answered.

Inside San Jose Mission
     I managed to get through mile 17 and 18, (they were not pretty, not even in the least!)  Mile 19, I figured I would take a couple Tylenol again, hoping they would kick in by mile 21 and maybe just maybe some of the achy feverish feeling in my head/body would fade.
It worked, and although I wasn't feeling great, I think it dropped my fever down a bit.  Sometimes just that little difference can mean EVERYTHING to you, especially when your spirits are so low.

     By mile 20, I knew I was going to finish (who would drop out at that point, right? It's just the distance of a short training day run to go... LOL) I also knew this was going to be my WORST marathon time EVER; luckily this wasn't one of those 5 hour cut off marathons, so I was still going to barely make it under their official cut off time!  (I say EVER because I absolutely refuse to believe that I could ever have a worse day in running than this!!!)
Worst ever, I didn't care I was going to finish because frankly sometimes that is all that matters (to me)!

Alamo
     I had been forcing the liquids down me even more forcefully (This sickness was making me not want to eat or drink much) than before.  I didn't even care if the Gatorade would cause me any stomach problems (It didn't, thank goodness) I was downing it as much as I could too.  Being so hot, I needed the extra salt in me, and since I couldn't find it in me this time to eat pretzels (which I normally love) or the candy handouts, and definitely none of the straight salt packets (just the thought of those made me nauseous).  I figured might as well force the liquids down.  I also took advantage of the hoses spraying mists along the course to help cool off.
Finally a few clouds moved in, and the last few miles of the course were mostly under a little cloud cover.  Sure it was still hot, but at least the sun wasn't beating down on me anymore.

At the Alamo
     I don't know what I was thinking with these 3 marathons in 15 days, and the courses I picked to do them.  I remember last spring when I choosing them, I swear they were all going to be relatively flat courses.  Maybe if I had spaced them out more, I would probably still think they were.  But D.C. had the most elevation climbing; San Antonio was about the same as Missouri, just different kind of hills.  San Antonio was pretty much an uphill climb the last 7 miles of the race, which because of my circumstances, did me in!

     I remember finding an odd bust of energy at mile 23, and I remember loosing that burst of energy (and then some) by mile 24, ha ha.

     The last mile, I didn't even care (I figured other than dropping dead, things couldn't get much worse) I think I even ran that one pretty well (considering).
But as I passed mile 26 and looked up, and realized that I had a pretty large hill to climb for the last .2 of the course.  (As if the last .2 isn't the longest part to begin with, they had to add a big hill. Gotta love a Marathon - LOL)
Oh well, I jogged on up it, rounded the corner and could see the Alamodome to my right and FINALLY the finish line only 20 seconds straight ahead of me.

Finally it was over - I almost completely ignored the race clock!

Riverwalk Daytime
      Let me say, I absolutely love running, and I love this marathon goal I am working on.  Generally I like to say I have fun on every single race on this goal.  I am sure in a few weeks when I move onto the next race I’ll look back and find things I loved in my Texas run.)

     I didn't linger at the finish, not even a bit.  Although I had finished the race, I still had a mile and a half walk back to my hotel.  I was one track minded and all I wanted was to get back to my room and off my tender feet.

     Things never turn out as planned, at least for me!  In running and I guess in life too, I am a firm believer that my attitude and “Pre” decisions will determine how I am going to get through every single race good or bad!  I learn something new from every race, even the “sick” ones.  I am sure I have learned a few things that I will have to draw on in the future!

     Do you want to know what running 3 full marathons in 15 days does to a body?  Well I am sure those who have tried it may have different answers.  But this is what I have to say. 

Oh my poor, poor, poor, poor feet!!  They are so Ouchy and feel extremely tenderized like permanent bruises with every step I take.  But on the plus side all the Vaseline has kept them nice and soft, LOL  I am giving them a few day’s rest now, I will start up running again in a few days:)

The blisters, I was able to keep them at bay (after getting them from having to wear new shoes on race 2) the good news was not really any new blister damage on race 3 and I’d even go so much as to say they are pretty much healed now.  Now that the new shoes are broken in, I don’t anticipate any more blisters and I WONT make that mistake again!

Chaffing, well on race 1 I was stupid enough to forget the Vaseline in a few key area’s prior to the race (Even though I did, it really does you no good to apply it after you are running and sweaty, just doesn’t stick as well as if done before.)  So I had a few area’s that lost all their skin, then lost it again in race 2 (even with the Vaseline) and well let’s just say no difference in race 3.  But hopefully giving them a couple of weeks will allow scabs to heal and hopefully not too much permanent scaring.  But let’s just say I had 3 extremely painful after race showers when the water hit the open wounds…YIKES *Cringe*, LOL

Exhausted, hard to say with my lungs as I still have this wretched cold/cough so my lungs are tired and painful from that, but I am sure the running isn't helping the matter!

My legs are tired, I have moments where I feel like if I turn the wrong way something is going to pull and hurt really bad.  Heck, sometimes I have made a few mistakes and had a few pains shoot through me.  (Needless to say I am/have been trying to be extra careful).  On the plus side, my hip flexor injury, although definitely NOT healed, it’s okay.  Only minor discomfort and thankfully it’s hanging on and letting me run without hurting it any worse.  I only have one month more to get through and then I can finally work on getting this thing healed for good!

Inside one of the rooms in the San Jose Mission
     Right now I am toying around with running another marathon next weekend (Thanksgiving weekend), or waiting until the first weekend in December as I already have planned.  But before I make any decisions I am listening to my body to see how the healing is going.  (No sense in hurting myself to cause long term damage.)  Besides, I have a stupid cold to get over, and I want it GONE before I run again (if possible!)  So I guess we’ll see:)
Church Facade of Mission San Jose



















3 comments :

  1. I'm so impressed with how you toughed it out and fought through the sickness and the heat and the hills to finish this marathon. Enjoy your rest and recovery!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! It wasn't one of my favorite moments, but I am really glad I did it! I also LOVED San Antonio, its so beautiful, great place to visit!!

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  2. oh wow not that's a runs: gone bad story.
    San Antonio looks so beautiful too. Sorry you had such a crappy run though.

    ReplyDelete

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