Sarasota may have done well in putting on a race this year, but I did not do well running that race. I walked, added 10 minutes to my race PB, and felt so sick after the race that I had to hand carry my medal because the weight of it on my neck was threatening to drop me.
It started the night before. I got sick, maybe from something I ate because I felt nauseous. Then I didn’t sleep at all. Or, if you want to count, I slept from 1130-1230 and then 1-2. Two hours total before I had to make the long drive up to Sarasota. And because I hadn’t slept, I needed to hit the coffee before the highway. It’s funny because I haven’t been drinking coffee so I really wanted to avoid that option yesterday but right before the highway I was desperate. I stopped at a McDonald’s for the first time in maybe 10 years? Wow I can’t believe it’s been that long. And back then I’m sure I only stopped there because someone made me on some other road trip (not gonna lie, I used to love getting a Coke from there… but it too is on my list of verbotten items). So I ordered a large coffee, my first ever from there, and it tasted pretty decent. I’ve had to hit 7-11 coffee in the past and their coffee was awful. Ok, I could talk about coffee all day every day but back to the race…
I drank that huge coffee after not having coffee in forever and it perked me up for sure but also did a number on my body. I felt even worse. By the time the race started, my breathing was horrible. It was so humid that morning. I didn’t check the numbers because I’ve been so used to cool weather here this winter. But it was hot and humid and I felt like I was chewing sea air throughout the race. It made my lungs burn. I was miserable and my body was just failing. I failed this way over the entire race. I had to stop and walk throughout, not from injury but just from body exhaustion. But I had run 12 miles the weekend before and felt fine! I felt amazing even. Last weekend I felt like I was going at a good pace with my run team and I finished and didn’t even feel like I had run at all. So how could this race have been so different?? It could have been the many hills and inclines or the lack of sleep or the humidity or all of it together.
Oh, and I’ve been trying to really work on my race weight lately so I’ve been dieting and eating less since I haven’t been running that much anyway. In other words, if I’m not running then I don’t need to eat as much as I did before. It’s working and I’m losing weight. But I think I made a mistake and didn’t eat enough the day before, the night before, or the morning of Sarasota. I was eating my mid-race GU Chomps out of pure necessity and urgency.
I felt so depleted throughout this race in a way I haven’t felt ever. Normally if I’m having to walk during a race it’s because of an injury or cramping or my IT Band. But this race I had no injury, no cramping, no ITB trouble. It was just me. And it was so bad that I spent a full 2 miles mentally trying to convince myself why I shouldn’t jump out of the race at the 6 mile relay exchange point. The reasons I came up with were that I already missed out on sleep and had coffee and drove all the way up here for this medal, so I can’t leave now. Also I told myself that it’s not that I can’t run 13 miles today. It’s that it’s going to feel excruciatingly difficult and my medal today will be my award for persevering through the pain. Sometimes race medals do that – reward you for overcoming difficulty.
Many many stop-and-walks later, I finished the race. I had thought I would blow away my time from last year since I was fitter and much thinner this year, but no. I did a lot worse, in the form of a 10 minute PW. They hung the medal on me and my whole body drooped just holding it up, plus I was feeling sick. I had to carry it in my hands. I was a pretty pathetic sight. I forced myself to have a bite of banana and that was all I could manage. I went to my car, put my compression socks on for the long road home, and hoped that I would soon feel better. I couldn’t even have a conversation with my spouse about it. I felt too exhausted to speak. Maybe 3 hours later I got some rice and beans and I felt worlds better. Good ol’ rice and bean, verdad? It remains the best post-race food of all time. Today my quads feel extremely sore in what I know all too well is the fallout for running a hill race without training for hills.
Ah well. They can’t all be gold, eh? I knew I wasn’t prepared for this race. I’m going to brush it off and build myself up from scratch. I’ve been trying to jump into the long distances I was doing in October but I can’t. I need to start from the bottom again. And no more signing up for races I know I won’t commit to.