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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Marathon Race Recap: Throwing Myself A Pity Party

Hey all!

Can you believe Christmas is less than a week away?  I'm kind of freaking because I'm so behind on Christmas shopping.  Next year I WILL do better. (I said that last year).


On to my race recap. This is going to be painfully long FYI.


I woke up, got my hair done, and ran some errands.  When I got home from running errands at around 4:00, I started feeling really tired and had a sore throat.  I feel asleep on the couch until around 7:30.  I woke up with a full blown sore throat, fatigue, and congestion.  Great!


Woke up with the same sore throat, and started to feel more and more like death.  We left for Alabama that afternoon, and I had a minor breakdown in the car.  I had been working towards this marathon for so long, and now I'm sick?  I was incredibly disappointed. This is where I started popping cold medicine.

In the car, on the way to AL


Woke up with very little appetite, still taking Sudafed, Mucinex, Aleve, Doxycyline, Phenylephrine (worthless), and Tylenol.  I was trying to regain the ability to breathe through my nose.  I went down to the expo to pick up my packet and went straight back to my room.  Just going downstairs and walking around for 30 minutes made me want to take a nap, so I did.  After that, I got up, took a shower (which was exhausting) and went down to the pre race spaghetti dinner.

I was sitting there and thinking of how I could figure out another marathon. It was so close to Christmas, and I wouldn't be able to travel somewhere to do another one.  If I bailed on this one, it would be at least another month before I could do another one.  All the time and money spent traveling to Alabama would be wasted.

Bart speaking at the dinner.
At the dinner, Bart Yasso was speaking.  He is an AWESOME speaker.  He told stories of previous races and profiled other runners he thought to be inspiring.  So many of these people had physical disabilities and illnesses that they would overcome to run.  It made me feel like a giant weenie for not running when all I had were flu-like symptoms.  I decided I'd give it a try, and I popped some more meds.

I wrote all of the water stops and porta potty stops on my arm.  I also wrote some encouraging words. :)

I was praying that all of that rain would pass.


Sadly, this is probably the worst I felt.  I completely threw out my time goal and made it my goal just to finish.  This is really disappointing, but I knew that it was one of two options.  I could not run and always wonder if I could have, or I could run and just try my best.

I got to the start line feeling really tired and run down.  I just wanted to crawl back into my bed with a mound of Kleenex and cough drops.

George took this pretty pathetic picture of me.
I did take a smiling picture at the start, though. Joanie and my aunt were feeling great!
It was raining lightly but didn't really bother me because I was wearing a jacket and hat.  I started out with my 4:55 pace group.  This was a pretty conservative goal for me, and I knew that I could stay with them the entire time.  Well, since I got sick, I knew that this wasn't realistic anymore.  I had George pour my Gatorade that morning because lifting the giant jug was exhausting.  I was pathetic.

The gun went off, and I knew I was in trouble.  The first 5 miles or so were pretty rough.  I was feeling exhausted already and was secretly planning in my head when I was going to quit.  Joanie and I were running together, and she was helping to keep me motivated.  I felt bad that I wasn't much of a talker.  My chest was so congested, it was hard to catch my breath.

Around mile 8 or so, the pace group started to get more and more ahead of me.  I was trying to take my first applesauce packet, but I was feeling really queasy.  I took a tiny bit and told myself that I would go for it at the next water stop.

I was careful to take in a lot of Gatorade during the water stops because I knew that I was super dehydrated from all of the cold meds.  Around mile 9 or 10, Joanie had to stop and use the restroom.  I told her that we would catch up to each other eventually, and I would slow my roll.

Starting to feel like I was going to quit.
In the next few miles, I started looking behind me to see if she was coming up.  I saw her (I thought) and kept running.  When a figure in black tights and a purple tank ran up beside me, I screamed, "JOANIE!!!!"  It wasn't Joanie, and I definitely scared the crap out of the poor girl who came up beside me.   Oops...

At this point, George was driving the course, parking, running to where I was and cheering me on.  He was AMAZING.  He kept telling me that I looked good, I was doing fine, and offered me extra snacks.

The gloves that you see in every picture in my hands served as kleenex.  I was blowing my nose every 2-3 minutes, making my nose and upper lip really raw.  I'm SO GLAD I had those gloves.

At mile 15, I told myself that I HAD to try to get some food into my system.  I wasn't hungry, more like nauseous, but I couldn't survive this whole thing on a packet of applesauce.  I took a bite of my protein bar, and immediately puked on the side of the road.  It was disgusting, and I didn't even think of trying to take another bite.  I then designated one glove for my nose and one glove for wiping my mouth after I barfed. I started to cry for a second but realized that it was even harder to breathe while crying, so I quit.

The miles between 15 and 20 are a total blur.  At this point, I was taking walking breaks, and I was really upset.  I think at one point I was even cussing really loudly.  It was way too late to quit now, so I was just trying to finish.

I saw George around this time, and he warned me that a race photographer was up ahead, and that I should smile.  I tried my best to look like I wasn't dying. I remember smiling and feeling like my upper lip was cracking from it being so chapped.

Between 20 and 23 are pretty much non existent in my memory.  I feel like I may have started to get a little confused at this point.  I remember thinking that I was on mile 21 during miles 20, 21, 22, and 23.  When I realized that I only had a 5k left, I became a little more relaxed.

I knew that I was far from being kicked off the course, so I just kept going.  I was running as much as I could, which was very slowly.

With two miles left, I put in my headphones and listened to some music.  I picked up my pace from a slow crawl to just a regular crawl.  I saw a big giant H and got really excited that it was the Holiday Inn, which meant finish line!

Wrong!  It was some hospital.  So, I kept going... praying for it to be over.  I finally saw the finish line and ran as hard as I could.  

I crossed the finish line, and immediately started vomiting.  Not just a little "spit up," but any and all of the fluids that I had had sloshing around in my projectile vomiting.  The poor volunteer went to give me my space blanket as I'm yacking into the grass.  I would tell him sorry, and that I was ready for it, and then he would start to give it to me, and I'd turn around and keep vomiting.  This probably happened 6-7? times.

He asked me if I needed medical, and I said, "No, I'm fine." <big mistake  I went to find George, and he had thankfully missed my barf-tastic finish.  I remember seeing him and starting to sob.  I was sobbing because I was upset with my time (5:22), I was sobbing because I had wanted to cry the entire time I was running, and I was also sobbing because my body and electrolytes were so f*cked up.

I felt like SERIOUS crap for the next 6-7 hours.

Immediately after finishing, G helped me change into dry clothes and put me to bed.
If there's one thing I regret about this race, it's not getting some IV fluids when I finished.  For the following hours, I had trouble keeping down clear fluids, super nauseous, dizzy, shaking, my hands swelled and my rings became really tight and uncomfortable.  It was not good.  Eventually, later that night, I was able to hold down some Sprite and eat some mashed potatoes, but until then I was pretty miserable.

The one thing that I CAN say about this race is that I honestly tried my hardest.  At the end of every race, I always think, "I could have run that part harder" or "I should have started out 10 sec/mile faster."  This race was honestly the best I could do considering the circumstances.

I really can't wait to do another one and be healthy.  I know that if I can do it sick, I certainly can do it healthy and meet my goal.  But, for now, I'm going to take it easy and get back running when I feel like it.  

All in all, I'm very pleased with how my running has gone so far.  In January of this year, George and I were in Hawaii.  I tried to run with him, and I couldn't even run a mile without stopping and gasping for air.  I was so sick of it, and I decided to make myself into a runner.  While the couch to marathon in one year may not sound like the best idea, I've certainly had fun... and to me, that's what it's all about.


  1. Reading your blog has become something I look forward to everyday and I am so inspired to start my running back up now. You are so inspiring to have run a marathon while so sick. You deserve a big hug (all the way from California)!

    I've been feeling defeated and haven't exercised much but if you can do this...I can get up in the morning and exercise. Can you tell me what you gear you ran with in your marathon? What gloves do you like? I need some winter weather running/biking gear recs.

    Best Wishes from Northern California!!

  2. Girl, you are a trooper! I enjoyed reading this. Hope you are on the mend!

    ~Ashley @ A Cute Angle

  3. Oh Emily, the entire time I was reading this I felt sooooo bad! Out of all times to get sick, it had to happen RIGHT before you were running your first marathon. My body cringed here at my desk thinking about what your poor body had to go through that day. But saying that, I'm super, super proud of you that you did it and finished it, at that. That's pretty impressive!!

  4. Good job on your marathon! I would have most likely talked my self out of it and then have the guilt feeling of not at least trying. At least you know you can do it and can only go up from here!

  5. Congratulations!!! I think you should be more than proud that you actually finished the race in the condition you were in! I loved reading about your preparations for the race and so glad you actually did it! You have given me a little more motivation to try to enjoy running a little more.

  6. I am soo soo sorry that you were so sick, but also so very proud of you for sticking through it and toughing it out. It may not be the time you were hoping for but you FINISHED. A. MARATHON!!! That is something to be proud of, girl!

  7. Congrats on pushing through to the end. That is some determination girl! I would love to hear your thoughts on training by yourself vs a group. I am considering training (for a second time) in the spring. I can't decide if I want to train by myself or with a group.

  8. Congratulations on finishing! I'm sorry you were so ill during the race, but you still had a pretty impressive pace!

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I am so very sorry you felt as bad as you did, but it has motivated me to really pick up my half training once my ankle heals :)

  10. Congrats on finishing the race even though you were sick! You are one tough lady! And just imagine how great you will do when you are healthy. Congrats again girl!

  11. Damn girl! Is all I can say! I'm soooo impressed!! Way to have a heck. A barfin race!!! Again I'm just so impressed! Sorry it was so rough. But I hope you still run another one!

  12. Oh man, I totally would have quit. I turn into a big huge baby when I feel nauseated even a little bit! What a trooper! Congrats to you. :)

  13. This is so inspiring! I think I would have quit for sure. Good job!!

  14. Woah...woah...hold the phone! You just ran a marathon with the flu and you just started running this year!? You deserve a heck of a lot bigger medal! Wow!

    Since I'm a new reader, I am floored! You are even more awesome than I thought you were as of yesterday :)
    April @ OverExtendedApril

  15. I think you are being too hard on yourself. You ran a marathon! And the fight to finish will be something you will forever be grateful you endured. At my first (and only) marathon, it was a beautiful, sunny day in the 80s. You can imagine how awesome that went, and though I was so angry with how it was considerably slower than any training run or goal I had, now looking back I see myself as a champ for enduring. Plus you learn so much about yourself and next one will be a PR! So be proud. You are a marathoner!!

  16. Great story, Em! Only up from here! :)

  17. Many many many kudos to you!! Can you even imagine how amazing you're going to do when you're not sick!! Congrats on checking this off your bucket list!!

  18. Wow!! You are definitely stronger than I am! I probably would have called it quits! I'm so proud that you finished! You literally had everything working against you and still finished!! That's so impressive! I know next time you will kill that time! I loved reading this. It was inspiring! :)

  19. I feel like I had tears reading this post for you bc I know how hard you trained for this. But regardless, do you realize how incredible it is that you ran a marathon while that sick? You still have every reason to be so proud!

  20. Congrats Emily! You are a serious trooper and one tough cookie! I would have wimped out in a heart beat! Take care of yourself and hope you feel better soon.

  21. This is intense! You are hard core! I can't believe how awesome you look in your race pics. You're smiling in them all! Sorry it didn't go as planned, but you had a great time all things considered.

  22. Amazing! I'm sorry you were so sick but you did awesome!

  23. WOW you are a trooper!! I could have never mustered up the strength to do the whole thing. Good for you, I hope you're feeling much better!

  24. Wow, you are one tough cookie!! Congrats on finishing a MARATHON with the flu!!! That is impressive! I can totally relate to feeling deflated being sick before a big race, I got bronchitis before a half marathon I had been training for months in advance. I ended up doing it because all you can do is try your hardest, right?! P.S. you still look awesome in all your race pics! Congrats girl!

  25. So inspirational. You should feel like a rock star!! I loved this post.

  26. I have NO idea how you got through this!? You are so tough!!!!!! Way to pull through!!!! I am super in awe.

  27. Aughhhhhh! Definitely one race you'll always remember. On the plus side, your next race time is going to be an improvement!

  28. Way to go! I am so proud of you for pushing through like that. I think it is so impressive that you completed the race when you were feeling so sick. I can't even imagine how terrible you must of felt! Blah!

    The whole puking, shaky thing is an old trick from my book so I know how you felt and it is terrible.

    Well you have inspired me my 2014 goal is a marathon. I have always wanted to do one!!

    Hope you are feeling better and well rested.

    Happy Holidays :)


  29. Congrats on your marathon! You are a trooper and very much deserved that medal! Definitely inspiring me to run a full marathon. Keep up the good work!

  30. Wow, you did it! Congrats!! I can't believe you were so sick, I would give anything not to be nauseas- it has to be the worst feeling EVER!!! You are the one that inspired me to give a half marathon a try (it's exactly almost 1 month away now), your encouraging words and pictures go a long way! Thank you for that :-) So happy for you!!

  31. You are amazing Emily! Congrats on your race! You should definitely be proud of how far you've come as well as for finishing the race while being so sick! You are an inspiration! Awesome job!

  32. WOW!!! I can not believe you toughed that out! I will be thinking about you every step of the way on my 20 mile run this weekend. This is proof positive that the mind is powerful. so inspiring! Congrats on your accomplishment!!

  33. Thanks for commenting on my blog! I was so worried about the rain for that race-- can't believe you made it through sick! That is truly amazing. I wouldn't have even been at that starting line, ha! I'm such a wuss. ;-) Are you planning on running another any time soon?

    We have another common link-- fellow boilermaker here! I went to Purdue for grad school.


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