“At first an ordeal and then an accomplishment, the daily run becomes a staple, like bread, or wine, a fine marriage, or air. It is also a free pass to friendship.”
~ Benjamin Cheever, Strides

Sunday, May 8, 2011

End of the Line - Cap City Recap

Worst. Race. Ever.  I think Cap City is a race that is cursed for me, just saying.

For all my awesome running buddies who did so well at Cap City - fair warning this blog post is going to be full of whining.  :)  If you decide to read anyway, well, you've been warned.

I woke up the morning of Cap City with no pain....other than being WAY more nervous then usual.  On the drive, my husband was trying to get pumped up and succeeding in making me want to vomit.  

All the MIT gang met at the Hyatt early to help each other pin bibs and some lovely photo ops.  Everything was cheery.  

I went for a bathroom break before we left the room - and a complete stranger in the line looks at my pregnant belly and says "you aren't running are you?"  I tell her I am.  She gives me a look like I'm nuts and says "Did you fill out the back of your bib?"  I say no.  She gives me another disgusted look and says "You Should."  Maybe that was a sign?

I went back to the rooms for more photos ops and then we were headed out.  
MIT Lucky 13 Gang

Darlene's Angels
On the way to the corrals we stopped at bathrooms, and then I got lost from my main pacers - and wound up at the starting line with the faster MIT runners.  Mistake #1.

The buzzer went off and we were running.  I looked down - 11:30 min/mile.  Need to slow up.  A bit later - 12:00 min/mile...slowed down again.   Repeat.

Then these nasty little ninja leprechauns came out of the crowds were they'd been lurking....and started stabbing me repeatedly in the shins.  I'm honestly shocked that my White CEP socks weren't soaked in blood with how they felt....must be magic knives.

Full system stop.   I walked.  Slow.  I kept looking back for my buddies.  When I saw them - I tried to jog again - this time at the correct pace.  Those dirty ninjas jumped out and stabbed me again when I was distracted by the cool kids.

I walked.  Slow.  And tried to hide the pain I was in. I look down.  I've gone 0.6 miles in a 13.1 mile race...and I'm struggling to walk.  I stop and stretch my calves....rub my shins - hoping if I just walk about they'll loosen up enough for me to jog.   No luck.   I'm near tears, but trying to hide it as I'm passed by walkers.  The MIT walk pace coach stops to check on me.  She could tell I was in pain.  She assured me - "You know MIT, we'll come back and carry you over the finish line if we need to."

Then the 3:30 half marathon pace team passes me...walking.   I pass the turnoff for the 5K people. By mile 2, around the hair pin turn - I can see the balloon team and think the word DNF for the first time.  I'm in tears from the pain.  I start saying to myself that I will never run again.

I approach the water station near mile 3....look behind me....and see the balloon team and all the lights of the emergency vehicles following them.  I'm in tears, again.  I start playing the word "DNF" in my mind over and over and over.   The volunteers are dumping out water cups at the fuel station as I approach (I guess they're realizing they don't need any more).  They clap for me and say my name (it's printed on my bib) - and I'm wishing my name weren't on my bib, I'm so embarrassed.  One of them walks along side of me - and asks - "how many miles do you have left?".  I answer "10".   He says "and you're going to sprint those 10, right?"   Pffft.  I don't think I can walk those 10 anymore...DNF, DNF, DNF.

My baby belly is also starting to hurt - I think because I was slamming my feet down with every step because it was so hard to walk.  I consciously try to step softer.  I pass one of the medical aide stations and consider quitting.

Then something inside me snaps.   I REFUSE to DNF.  My husband cannot have one more medal than me.  My new goal - reach the quarter marathon turn off before the emergency vehicles catch me and finish the quarter.  I walk a bit faster.

For anyone that doesn't know, when you are at the VERY back of 12,000 racers, they stop completely blocking traffic....and wave cars through right up until you get to the streets.  Then hold them just for you.  I tried to jog each one of the street crossings.

Success!  The turnoff for the quarter marathon!  After I turned, I was completely alone..and suddenly really had to pee!   I have to pee so badly that running and putting additional pressure on my bladder wouldn't be an option even without my injuries.  No restrooms or port-a-potties anywhere in sight.

I finally make it back to the main course after the turnoff - YAY - people again!  Of course - these are all people that have already passed me and are doing the half marathon - but PEOPLE.  
I manage to smile for Sarah's friends.
The next medical station - I ask them where bathrooms are - they mention the White Castle a block away.

So, yes.  I stopped in the middle of my quarter marathon and went into White Castle.  What can I say?  I have true class.  LOL.  Best bathroom break EVER.
Heading into White Castle during my race.
I've sped up my walking now - and am actually walking faster than the cut-off pace FINALLY.  I saw some friends of Sarah - an awesome running buddy - right when I stopped at White Castle and that gave me a boost.  Plus -I'm under 2 miles to go now.

I think - maybe I'll run when I get to the 6 mile mark.   Then I adjust it to the 6.2 mile mark - I don't want to fall and fail so close to the finish line.  Then I see my pace coach Duane on the sideline!  He cheers for me - saying good job.  I shake my head and tell him I'm hurting and that I turned at the quarter.  Of course - a sympathetic face makes the tears threaten again.  I assure him I can make it to the end of the quarter and start running.

I crossed the finish line with the following on my Garmin (which I did not stop for my White Castle break), 6.8 miles, 2:07:44.  When I got home, the graph on the training center spoke volumes.

They handed me a half marathon medal.  I got through all the food before realizing there were separate medals for the quarter.  I couldn't take the medal for what I didn't accomplish - despite how pretty it was.   I hobbled back and asked them to give me the other one.

Then I waited at the Fleet Feet tent for everyone else to arrive, I sat down briefly and had so much trouble standing back up that I decided standing in pain was better than not getting up.  I kept expecting Mark - based on his normal time - a 9-10 min/mile pace, he should be there already.  Half an hour passed.  I was getting nervous.  Then he hobbled in.  He says "I felt a tendon or something pop around mile 7 and almost fell over. At times I was trying to hold my knee together."   He almost waited for me to just walk with me - but decided not to in case I'd turned at the quarter.  Smart man.
After some rest - we both managed a smile for our race end photo.
On a positive note - I am happy to say that all my running buddies successfully finished their race.  Some in more pain then others - but they all got their beautiful medals!!!  WOOHOO!!!!!  They all deserved them!  I'm so happy for all of them!!!!

Mark and I had to leave before we got to see everyone because he was in too much pain to hang out any more.  We hobbled back to the car and drove home sharing our miseries about the race.

So, in the end, I finished the race and did not DNF.  I have to say - running while pregnant is doable...at first.  Something about the 5 months pregnant mark.  These last two weeks were the biggest physical struggle for me EVER.  I think if Cap City had been a month earlier - I could have finished the Half.  Slowly sure, but I would have finished.   I have decided that any future running plans must now be put on hold until after my little Bug arrives.  The dog will get a lot more walks instead - I'm sure she'll love that.   I'll be ready to kick butt for the next Winter MIT session though, if for no other reason than that I can't stop running  on such a bad note.  :D


  1. "Sarah - an awesome running buddy" damn right.

    Whoops, I'm easily distracted by being famous on your blog! I'm sorry things went so badly for you. I remember refusing to stop for medics when I should have (definitely by mile 10) because I could not stand the idea of DNF. That race was rough especially since we weren't prepared for the humidity.

    I can't wait to see you in winter MIT! Stay in touch until then, k?

    And hey, congrats on finishing a quarter fricking marathon at 23 weeks pregnant! Most women can't say they've done that, you know.

  2. Oh yeah, and thanks for letting me sob all over you yesterday. I was feeling a little overwhelmed. You are so sweet!

  3. {{{Mandy!}}} I know it wasn't the outcome you wanted...you are quite the competitive one, aren't you?!! You did sooo great and completed a Quarter Marathon while pregnant! You Rock!
    I totally want a shelf like that...where did you get it?!!! Can't wait to meet your little one!
    Amy :)

  4. I love y'all!

    I blame genetics on the competitive thing...my whole family is VERY competitive. Ha. You'll be happy to know I married someone competitive too....Mark says he only finished was because he didn't want me to have more medals than him! Hahaha!

    I got the medal display at Allied Medals Display. I'll post their link on that post a bit later. ;)

  5. Mark is still hurting. I have convinced him to make an appointment with Dr. Bright. Now, I just have pester him until he actually does. Hahaha

  6. YOU COMPLETELY AMAZE ME! I am so proud of what you have accomplished and I am so happy to call you my running friend! I LOVED READING YOUR RE-CAP, I feel like I was right there with you the whole time. You are a great storyteller!

    I waited for you at the halfway point of the 1/4 (with Michelle) for about 10 minutes or so. Then, I thought you went on to do the Half. I feel horrible that I don't think I waited long enough! I am so happy you made it and finished the 1/4 - awesome! What an inspiration.

    I hope I can be like you someday when we have little ones too. You know I am calling you with all of my-mommy-to-be questions too!

    P.S. - reading your post, this really doesn't sound like the worst race ever to me...way to get out there, like Judy said we train together, we finish together!

    P.P.S. - I do hope Mark gets in to see the Doc and feels better soon!

    P.P.P.S - Stay on our email list through the summer - you're still a 13 in my book and always will be! ;)


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