18 September 2009

First Race, #Fail

I've had my first race, and while it wasn't as bad as it could be, it was pretty bad. I'm not pleased with how I did, but the results are documented and will just have to stand.

I had been really excited for this race. I had planned to skip it, but one of my donors suggested I do it and signed up to do it with me. Having run 11 miles four days before, I was hoping to just focus
on my time for the 3.5 miles. I came home from work, drank a lot of water, was successful with a new recipe, and ate dinner with Jesse a little after 5. That ruined everything.

I had the Spanish rice I made and a turkey burger on wheat with smoked Gouda. I didn't eat a lot, and I thought it would be on its way to being digested by the time the race started at 6:45. I changed, posed for a picture, and was on my way.

It took a really long time to get to the parking area and if I would have been late if I hadn't planned on being really early. I fought the traffic. I found a relatively close parking spot. I filled out the back of my bib. Everything was ready and everything else started to catch up to me. I had to pee.

I spotted a bathroom that wasn't portable and I cut through a field to get to it. The grass was wet, which was refreshing until I got halfway through and plodded into a deep and muddy puddle. My proper running shoes are full of holes that allow both air (and water) access to my feet. I walked another mile to the starting line, squelching the entire way with mud drying on the side of my pants.

Once at the start, I couldn't find my co-workers. I was told to look for green shirts. I saw plenty of green shirts. There were 5,000 runners from I don't know how many companies. Naturally a few of them decided to wear green shirts. I was destined to run alone. But I was still excited. I pinned my bib to my shirt. I pinned my keys to my pants and I was - well - not really off to anywhere. I started near the back, and we all had to cross the same starting point to activate our timing chips. After that, there was shuffling as the modest people in the back moved forward, and the ambitious people fell back. I focused on my thoughts.

I'm in a race. I'm running in a real race. I'm probably not going fast enough to improve my time. Why are there people walking in front of me? Why are there people sprinting past me? When am I going to get past these nerves to the easy breathing? Why does my chest feel tight? Take deep breaths. Go a little faster. I don't think I can go any faster. Of course I can go faster, I'm not even out of breath. I may not be comfortable running with all these people. How am I going to do Nike if I can't handle 5,000 people? There's a turn coming that'll help us spread out, and then I'll be able to focus on my speed. Is that the time? It could not have taken me that long to run a mile. Oh Danie. That's the time since the race started. It took you a while to cross the start. How long? You're going too slowly. Something is wrong. Go faster. I can't breathe. How can I not breathe? The wind is against me. No that's not it.

Everything unraveled.

I had to burp. I had a ball of air at the bottom of my chest / top of my stomach. I couldn't breathe around it. I couldn't get it to surface. It was just there. I tried short shallow breathes. I tried deep, concentrated breaths. I tried to gag. I'm sure my fellow runners thought I was gross. I tried pushing my stomach.

I have to walk. I'm walking. My first race is 3.5 miles long and I'm walking. I I ran 11 miles on Saturday and I can't run two today. Couldn't resist the burger could you? Stupid. You deserve what you get. Run, you idiot.

I resumed the race. I got a little burp out. I ( temporarily) felt better. I got a pain on my side. I decided I was either going to rupture something or get my burps. I felt I deserved both. So I kept running. Nothing ruptured. And just before the end of the second mile, I started burping. I felt great for the last mile and a half. I went faster but the damage had already been done. I would have needed to sprint to make up the time. And I just didn't know if I could maintain that.

I was the 1077th woman to finish. It took me 37:46 I found my co-workers and the idea was to treat ourselves to the pizza party. But one whiff and I wanted to vomit. So I hung my head and went home.

October will be better.

Reminder: I'm running in the Nike Women's Marathon as a fundraiser to fight Leukemia & Lymphoma. Please support me by donating here. The donation deadline is October 1st.

Thank you!


  1. Aw Danie! What a bummer to have things unravel like that. BUT. and there is always a big but, right? You look fabulous, you learned a lot, you completed the race, and you look FABULOUS! Jes in Cincinnati

  2. I have to say, I feel like you are being way to hard on yourself. You are still very new at this, you didn't believe that you could actually do this. Maybe take a moment and just be a little more proud every once and a while instead of beating yourself up.
    Don't rest on your laurels, or do the middle-aged woman--"I walked at a brisk pace for 15 minutes and now deserve a 16 ounce mocha" thing, but damnit, Danie, pat yourself on the back every now and then!
    It wasn't a fail, it was a flounder.

  3. You should be super proud of yourself. Don't forget how a few months ago you didn't run at all!!! :) Talk about leaps and bounds from before on the running front! :)

  4. No matter what, girlie, you did it. =) I'm super proud.