Ah my most dreaded race report….this race went down the crapper, literally.
Consider yourself warned, this post is TMI because I am a runner and s*** happens.
In my previous post I tell you that I had an amazing weekend, it was the best! After our long Vegas weekend we got back into town and I tell people I had my worst race experience ever they immediately say “Well it’s Vegas, you probably cut loose.” Not even close, I wasn’t even close to hung over or anything like that. I had two drinks the whole weekend and those were on Friday.
All of my issues stemmed from traveling and not respecting my stomach. I have a sensitive stomach when it comes to running, it’s plagued me in full marathons and caused me to use the restroom mid-race, but I didn’t plan for this to get me in a half marathon.
Here is where I went wrong: (TMI) I didn’t #2 (aka “make magic happen”) for 3 days! This is a huge issue and I was too distracted by Vegas to really catch the severity of the situation that I was going to experience.
Race morning I had my usual race type foods, granola bar, coffee and some sports beans 30 mins before race start. My stomach wasn’t hurting so I hoped for the best and actually was just excited to race.
We took some Team Throwdown pictures of our throw out sweatshirts we wore from a previous 10K we ran.
The weather was perfect, 40ish degrees, no winds, absolutely beautiful outside. They close the whole strip for the race and later we found out it’s the only time all year they do that. For New Year’s Eve they only close three blocks, so it was really special to see Vegas this way.
We ran into someone in the corrals that recognized the sweatshirts and said he was from IL and knew that race. I then shed my sweatshirt and he recognized my Often Running Racing Team shirt and said he knew the store owner and one of the other team members, what a small world!
I felt absolutely confident that I could be my previous PR. Unlike my last race, this one was completely flat and my legs were ready. I kept the first couple miles slower 7:20s and then gradually kept in the 7:03-7:10 space. The half course is out and back so my plan was to hammer out the coming back.
And then it hit me…like a karate kick to the stomach around Mile 8. I was absolutely miserable. My pace started to slow and I fought to keep moving faster. I figured if I could keep my pace up I could trick my body into holding off the impending potty break of my life mid-race. At the Chicago Marathon I didn’t have to potty until Mile 14 so maybe I could run this race and run straight to a porta-potty. No such luck. I was physically getting a beating from the inside, repeated karate kick type stomach cramps making me feel sick all over. This was the worst it has ever been. I was in utter hell and felt sweaty from my pains. I went past denial to acceptance that I would have to stop and potty, but maybe there is still a chance for PR because I’m near the 1:30 pace group. I had to go so badly that I was fearful with each step that I was about to explode and become the next youtube sensation, haunting me forever. I had to go NOW!!! And of course…no pottys around by the time I decide this has to happen. I was running in fear of what would happen in the next 10 minutes. I began to have desperate thoughts:
Do I cross the course (since it’s out and back) and potty at the stop I see across the way? (a far distance)
Do I run into Vegas to the places I’ve seen before and go to the public restroom? (a super far distance)
This is where my mind began to have thought I have never had in a race before. Out of desperation for a bathroom I consider stopping running altogether and taking the DNF, just so I could walk and plead for someone’s help. I hate that I even considered for one second a DNF, I’ve never felt that way before.
Then I see it, Mile 10.7 a potty and I hurry as fast as my knotted up stomach will let me to get this demon out of my body. Let’s just say 3 Days of demons don’t make for a quick potty. It was the most awful and time-consuming experience taking at least 3 minutes off of my time (and not counting the time lost slowing my pace from the pain). I stopped looking at my watch cause I couldn’t witness the damage this did to my time.
As soon as I got out of the porta-potty I sprinted like I was in a 5K. I had less than that to go, my legs felt totally fresh so why not? Plus I felt like I had just lost 10 pounds. I wanted to make up at least some of the damage, knowing that a PR was gone. That sprint didn’t last long as I received another karate kick to the gut, my stomach was emptier, but apparently not settled. I backed off my pace and thought about how defeated I felt. How I would have to face the clock, face my blog, face my racing team. I didn’t feel like a runner, I felt like a failure. I even considered making a right and bandit-ing the full marathon cause by my calculations I could still make up the deficit in a full and potentially PR if I got my s*** together (pun intended). But alas, it was a desperate and selfish thought, Rob wouldn’t know what happened to me, it’s not right because I didn’t pay for the full, and my stomach would likely rebel again had I kept going anyways.
So instead I faced the clock and put on a big smile to at least salvage some pictures.
I saw Rob waiting for me and immediately burst into tears. He knew what had happened without me saying a word. He was concerned that the 3 days of no magic would come to get me in the race. I was so mad at myself for not respecting my body and not doing more to prevent this from happening. Rob tried to console me, but I told him I need a good 10 minutes of crying and then I would put the emotions away and celebrate Drew’s first Half Marathon. I stood there angry and crying, just so upset with myself. I think it’s okay to have those feelings as long as they are used in a positive way. I wanted to feel the disappointment I had so it would be motivation to do better and not let this happen again. I said to Rob “I must respect my stomach more and get a game plan. I obviously can’t just assume my stomach will be okay. I need to do something different if I want a different result.” I then sucked it up and decided I would do research and make a game plan. For now it was time to celebrate Rob having a good run and Drew’s first Half Marathon!
Rob came close to his PR with a 1:30:45!
We waited for Drew and he came walking up fresh and happy and I immediately tackled him with a hug. Not only did he complete his first half marathon in 2:11:50, he wasn’t beat up. He was moving along great and felt great! We are so happy for him and so proud!
We walked back to our rooms and changed into our Team Throwdown gear and then headed back to watch Bret Michaels concert!
Bret Michaels was awesome! He did “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn”, which Rob was excited about most. We had to keep him from throwing his panties on stage. 🙂 One bra was thrown during the concert and I thought how gross and funny it would be if any sweaty sports bras were winged up there, but alas none were thrown.
The concert was filmed and Bret said it was going to be the in the season finale of a new reality show he is doing coming out in the spring. How cool! My stomach had calmed down and I was able to enjoy the show. All the jumping up and down and arm waving did add an extra post race workout. 🙂
Afterward we got cleaned up and went to one of Drew’s favorite places to celebrate his win, Margaritaville.
I had the portabella mushroom fajitas with no cheese or sour cream and they were super yummy!
A few pictures with Mararitaville – Santa.
After some more sightseeing Drew went to see a show and Rob and I had some pizza at Lupo in Mandalay Bay and called it a night.
Thanks to google for the free wi-fi on our plane I did some research on to have a better race stomach experience and found out all the things I did wrong and will do better from now on.
Apparently those like me with sensitive stomachs have a hard time with traveling (let alone then trying to race on top of it). A change in schedule of eating and activity causes magic to not happen. Apparently all the fast paced running around on our feet caused my system to just shut down.
Secondly, not enough water. I drank a lot of water at every meal, but I can say Vegas made me feel dry, like I was never caught up in hydration. Water helps to keep magic happening, so next time LOTS more water is needed.
Third, no exercise was a BAD idea. Exercise encourages regular magic happenings. I hadn’t considered how key this was before. I had some easy miles to run, but quickly gave up running them because there was so much to see and do in Vegas that I knew leg-wise not doing some easy miles wouldn’t make or break the race for me. What I hadn’t considered was how regular exercise keeps my stomach regular.
Finally, eating at the right times and the right things. This is a vacation so eating a half of my Serendipty sundae for lunch is totally acceptable to me, but I should have had that post race. I ate some bananas on the trip, but what I do need to improve upon is the times we eat and also getting more fruits and veggies all together. Our last meal of the day Saturday was at 10pm! I have never eaten that late the night before a race. I always make my last meal 4pm and get to bed at a decent time. So from now on when we travel for races I will adhere to a timely and thought out food schedule and save the sweets for post race.
I loved the weekend and the race itself. I’m disappointed in my choices that messed up my race experience and I have learned from them. I’m glad to have this post completed so now I can move on from this race and do better next time.
F 30-34: 41/2155