I started thinking and writing this post a few weeks ago before WTF. 2013 ended with me feeling pretty defeated – it was the year of Marathons. And instead of getting better – I got worse at them. I started thinking about the worst races I have had. Here it goes:
There’s only 2 that qualify – Only 2 that I wanted to stop and quit.
First: Senior year of Cross Country in college. It was our first race of the season, in August… in Georgia. It was hot and humid. I had already been having a rough pre-season. No energy, I had a constant side stitch for who knows why… even when I wasn’t running. I could barely run for 10 minutes in practices. So then comes our first race. I told my coach on the bus that this wasn’t going to go well. I really didn’t want to run. But he always said to give it all you had. If you’re at 75% that day – give 100% of that 75%. I was at 15%.
So we warmed up – I could barely handle that 10 minutes. The race starts. This course was 3 loops, pretty flat but did have one big hill. I start to notice that the ground was moving way more than usual. Every step made it seem like the earth was shaking. I realise – I’m dizzy. I wanted to walk. But that would look lame. The guys were yelling at me to run faster – I was shuffling along at a 12 min/mile. I was so tempted to just collapse and be done with this race. But I shuffled along. Finally it was the last loop – I was sure I was last. Hobbled up the big hill one last time, and came down to finish. I saw the finish line – but don’t remember finishing.
Next thing I know I’m sitting in a chair next to the finish, and people are handing me Gatorade. Then I start puking. My world was still spinning. My coach said I was white. The medics said I should get an IV. After some convincing they did. I was pretty embarrassed, and said sorry to my coach for sucking. I found out later that another girl on the team fainted and didn’t finish.
Second: Niagara Falls International Marathon. This was more recent – just last year (2013). It was great for a while, super cool running from Buffalo to Canada and running over the bridge. But things went down hill fast, when I realised I was getting tired… and it was only mile 8. The rest of the race consisted of a straightaway along the river… I could see where I would be finishing, but I wouldn’t get there for another couple of hours. It was windy, cold… I was wearing shorts and a tank top. Was unprepared for 40 degree weather.
I started walking around mile 15. And that was it. I was cold. I was done. I was crying. I would see medics driving by and I desperately wanted to catch a ride. I cried for probably 8 miles running and walking. It was mentally the hardest race I’ve ever done. I did at one point end up running with this guy who completely saved the race for me. I ran with him the last 3 miles – and I would eventually run with him again at Mind the Ducks 🙂 . I finished my worst marathon ever – 4 hours and 15 minutes. Felt completely traumatized. Was mentally exhausted. Went home and curled up in a hot shower and cried.
I’ve had a number of other terrible races. Extreme bloody nose = coughing up blood. Stomach issues – curling up on the side of a trail in multiple races. I’ve cried in 5 out of the 6 Marathons I’ve done. Disney World Marathon is a close #3 for worst race. Serious stomach issues – only marathon where a bathroom break was necessary (still not a worst time tho). But the thought of quitting was never there. Pushing yourself through a terrible race is mentally exhausting… especially if it’s a long one.
There’s something I hate about Marathons. Maybe it’s a mental thing because I’ve had terrible experiences – except for my first one (Chicago was awesome). Even the Trail Marathon (Sehgahunda) was rough – but not nearly as traumatizing. So Im considering ditching Ontario Summit Marathon in May for Cayuga Trails 50.
Cayuga was my original idea – until Ontario Summit appeared out of nowhere and got me all excited. But now Im thinking… oh yeah, it’s a Marathon. I hate Marathons. (However I’m sure this one will be awesome). Such a hard decision. My heart wants Cayuga – The probability of me registering for it is 100%. My head hates the idea that I cannot also do Ontario Summit… (same weekend). I wish I could do stupid things and run both anyway – but if I do Cayuga I want to finish it, and not die.