So the exciting part of this story is that I finished it and it was absolutely the hardest thing I’ve ever done. From early on in the race, it began to hurt, and it hurt pretty much the whole way. I have a theory or two about that.
+ Training: I began strength training with a personal trainer in April, this was great in many ways and I have definitely gotten stronger, but I started having IT band issues and was advised to drop to one long run a week and by May 2, I was even having problems completing one long run without IT band pain. The last week, I basically stopped running altogether in hopes of salvaging my leg. Also on another note, I had just really focused on finishing school and not on training at all.
+ Weather: I foolishly did not train for warm weather. I ran on cool days or so early that it was an average of 58 degrees on any given run. Without acclimating to the heat, the 70 degree full sun and humidity start was a rough wake up call.
As a result, I ran slower than I ever have, stopping to walk for entire miles at a time, my right calf cramped up so bad that it felt like I had no control of it, I was sick, dehydrated, and fairly disoriented after Mile 6 which was my last clear memory until I got to Mile 9 at which point, I realized, NO ONE CAN TAKE THIS FROM ME BUT ME . With 4 miles left to go, I just dug in, accepted that I was going to need to walk and did the best I could, running when I could. I couldn’t swallow anything, not my Chomps, not water or Gatorade, the medical tents gave me handfuls of ice to suck on between stops and I would pour cups of water on my head just trying to cool off. I was covered in goose bumps and had stopped sweating by mile 12.84. I hadn’t listened to music since Mile 4 because I didn’t have enough energy to lift my arms to move my headphones back into my ears. At 12.84, I reached for my phone and saw where Russ had been texting and calling me- he expected me to cross at the 2:15 mark, it was 2:52. I managed to text him- Can’t run. Calf cramping. He texted me- Can I come get you? I got indignant- No. I’m going to finish. Even if I have to walk.
But you know…even after that, I managed to pull out a full sprint from 12.9 to 13.1. I may have been running crooked like I was drunk but I crossed at a run. They handed me my medal and I went straight to the med tent for more ice- if there had been an ice tub, I would have swam in it. Deeply thankful, in disbelief that I had made it, and in shock that everything had gone so wrong.
It took all of three days before I started looking for fall half-marathons- because you know, next time, I think I can do it better.