Not a PR…Just a Finish

The bad thing about posting an upcoming event on the blog is that you have to follow up!  Well, what can I say?  You win some, you lose some.
The best part of this race was the car ride there.  
Robin, Sarah, Cyndi, Maryn, and me.
The drive was beautiful – love these New England fall days.  The company was great.  We laughed and talked the whole way.  I was excited but felt calm.  I was ready.  A good six months I’ve thought about this race.
Not only did Sarah wear cookie monster socks but there was a hole in the toe!
I was kindof bummed because I had just queued my ipod and they weren’t allowed.  This is becoming more and more common at running events.  It bugs me.  So I put it away.  Decided it will be alright.
Race Details.
We arrived in very unusual weather:  87 degrees and humid.  No one does their best in that kindof weather.  But I’ve had a lot trouble with it before.
I still felt ok.
Breaking it down:
We line up.  Maryn, Cyndi, and I stand near the front.  We have a moment of silence for a runner who has passed on.  I feel grateful to be here.  That I can RUN.  Someone behind me says, “This is the first sporting event where the national anthem is played and I’ve been a participant.”  This makes me happy.  Everyone claps and then the gun goes off.  
My goal the entire time is to keep Maryn in sight.  She is my pacer.  This lasts one whole mile.
I keep my goal pace of 7:38-8 for only the first two miles.
At mile 3 I honestly feel like I have hit the wall.  It is so hot.  My legs have nothing.  My hands and feet feel slightly tingly.  
Mile 4 people are dropping out.  Heaving man is running beside me and I wonder what I should do if he has a heart attack.  Maybe it will get me out of this race.
Mile 5 I am struggling big time.  Heaving man is long gone.  I wonder what happened to him.  I pass a marine who says, “nice form.”  Yes, I think.  Here we go.  Every time there is a water station I grab two glasses.  One to dump on my head.  One to drink.
Mile 6 and I’m barely hanging on.  I have to start walking through the water stations and then up the hills.  I try to catch my breath and start back at my pace but I’m wandering all over the place.  Staying in the 8s but then wandering into the 9s and 10s.  I know at this point I will not make my PR.
Mile 7.4 Sarah passes me while I’m walking and I think I’m going to cry.  I’m dying I tell her as she says, You can do it.  How is she running? I wonder.  Keep her in sight I tell myself.  But I can’t.
Mile 8-10 is just survival.  I’ve got nothing.  I wonder what I’ve done wrong?  Went out too fast?  Not trained enough in the heat?  I always run in the morning when it’s cool and because that’s the only time I have.  Should I have put in more miles?  Pushed through more pain?  Gotten more sleep this week?  Not made applesauce the day before?  I still don’t know.
Mile 10 there is a sprinkler.  Thank you, thank you.  I’m running so slow it feels more painful than actually running too fast.  I begin to wonder if I will ever run another 1/2 marathon.  I wonder why I even like running.  There is nothing fun about this race.
Mile 11 a lady has Rocky blasting from her porch.  It does help.  I start running and think of Rocky training to fight Mr. T.  “Mr.T!  Mr.T!” my brain shouts.  The motivation lasts less than a mile.  Hands and legs feel strange.  Oh man.  
Mile 12.  Surely I can run the last two miles.  But I can’t.  I have to walk several times.  I look at my watch.  If I can run 2 miles, 10 minutes each, I can run under 2 hours.  Go. Go. Go.
Mile 13.  Lasts a very very long time.  I cross the finish line, sprinting with another girl at 2:07.  Immediately regret the sprint.  See Sarah smiling.  I don’t smile.  She ended up with a 2:00.  Nausea hits.  I have to find shade and water.  There is a truck that I lean against, crouch against.  I feel so bad.  An EMT asks if I need help.  No, I’m just beat, I say.  He hangs around.  Someone gives me Powerade and I think I might throw-up.  Maryn finds me.
She knows how much I wanted that PR.
She says it was a bad one for her too.  13 minutes off her PR and she walked through every water break too.  She still ends up with a 1:46 and I really am happy for her.
I am 19 minutes off my PR.  I stay by the truck and wait for Cyndi and Robin to come in.  We go on the grass and lie down.  I smile and talk to some Mormon missionaries walking by.  I crawl to the awesome food tent but pass on the apple crisp.
This guy was thrilled I wanted to take his picture!  He is a barefoot runner of  His name is Preston.  He became a barefoot runner in 1997 and ran his first barefoot race in 2000.
The bottom of his foot!  Be sure to send me a picture, he said.  Preston, this one’s for you!
So here we are at the end.  All smiling for the camera.
Maryn won a pie for being 3rd in her age bracket, Sarah won a pie for being 3rd in the philly’s bracket (over 140lbs. and she always wins!), and Cyndi won a pie for going to school in NH.  Robin and I asked for a pie for feeling so pathetic…but nothin’.

The drive home is fun for everyone else, I think.  But I have stare straight ahead, keep my window down, and hold a plastic baggie.  please do not vomit in Robin’s car. 
I am congratulated for making it home.  I cannot eat much until Sunday.  I go to bed with Paige at 8.

So, there it is.
If I were dramatic I would say it was devastating.
If I were practical I would say there’s always another race.

I’m kindof both.


8 thoughts on “Not a PR…Just a Finish

  1. Debbie Brown

    1st – you finished. Be proud of that.
    2nd – you didn’t toss your cookies in public. Be proud of that. (maybe grateful?)
    3rd – you CAN run, and damn girl, you’re fast. Be proud of that.
    4th – we all have bad days. You’re human. Get up tomorrow, go put on your running shows, and just have fun. Don’t worry about pace or time, just crank up the ipod and run for the feeling of it. Remember WHY you do this – and be proud you can still have fun.

  2. kimmalee

    Oh Amy I’m sorry you didn’t have your best race! That’s hard!
    I’m with Debbie even though I don’t know who she is. It was just a bad day! You’re an amazing running, an inspiring woman, and you make my ridiculously slow attempt at running look like a joke!

  3. Nate

    Oh Amy – I feel ya! It’s crazy how a few degrees can throw off your entire run. I’ve DRAGGED myself along a 2-3 mile run in 90 degree heat…but had absolutely no problems going longer in 75 degree weather.

    Guess this means you need to come to Richmond in November and set your PR here!!!!

  4. kimmalee

    Oh dear Amy, I didn’t mean that you made me feel bad about myself, just that you are SO incredible and I don’t know if I will ever be at your level of fitness. But that’s okay with me.
    I am really sorry that you didn’t make your PR. I know that meant a lot to you. You’ve worked so hard for months and months with that one day in mind and now it’s over and it was a disappointment to you. I’m sorry babe.
    Maybe you should come out here the saturday before Thanksgiving! It should be nice and cool with a great breeze, right along the ocean, of course the humidity will likely be nuts here too.

  5. Allison Nelson

    Oh, Amy, I’m so sorry. That is a huge bummer. You know what- you’re still an inspiration!!! And I’m so glad that you are so honest about all of your emotions from that day. Everyone can relate to what you experienced, the work and preparation, the anticipation, the desire… thank you for the follow up because we all have major setbacks and disappointments. You’ll always be superblogger, superMOM and superRunner to me! Oh, btw, the no i-pod rule really sucks! I would boycott the race on that principle alone. I know I jog differently when I do or don’t have music… hmmm… maybe that “pushed” you more than you realize. But seriously, no music = no joy in my book.

  6. patricksnelson

    I’ve bombed a race like this because of the heat as well. My first leg of the Ragnar Relay was a 7+ mile run at 3pm under the hot June sun. I had trained in the evenings (because it was too hot to run during the day!), but the afternoon heat took everything out of me. After about 1.5 miles, I was exhausted and ended up adding about 2 minutes/mile to my 7 mile run.
    … so let’s stick to a 5k in Scottsdale this summer for the renunion 🙂

  7. Terry

    Thank you a lot for sharing this with all of us you actually understand what you are talking about! Bokamorked. Kindly also seek advice from my web site =). We may have a link alternate arrangement between us!


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