This Runner's Trials

Spinx Marathon Recap

Posted by runnerstrials

*This is going to be a very honest recap. I know some people may not want to hear the details of my stomach struggles. But I know so many people out there deal with issues like this.

Yesterday, I ran the Spinx Marathon! It wasn’t pretty, but I did it :)

I’ve only successfully completed one marathon before (Disney in ‘09), and I didn’t train for it properly. And 13 days ago, I DNF’d a marathon because of stomach issues.

This was going to be my day. I was felt great and had no pressure on myself. I was ready to own this marathon.

(rocking my new favorite Lululemon pullover)

I may have been, but I’m not sure my stomach was. We had to stop twice on the 2 hour car trip to Greenville for me to use the bathroom :( I kept telling myself it was just nerves, and I’d be fine if I kept a good attitude…

Hubby (who was running the half) and I met Caitlin and Nicole at the race. Caitlin was also running the full, and Nicole was running the 5k. Doing races with friends even if you’re not running with them is the best :)

(Thanks for the pictures Caitlin!)

We also met up with Carla, Cristina, and some other runners before the race. I hope you kicked booty ladies!

Before I knew it, it was time to line up.

I had a moment of hopefulness or sheer stupidity: I lined up with the 3:40 pace leader. Ironically, a girl I went to grad school was also lined up with her, too. Hi Holly! I hope you did wonderful. So nice to see you :)

The pacer ran the first mile in 7:28. While I felt fine, I had a theory that my would stomach hurt more the harder I ran. So I waved good-bye to my pace group. This race was about finishing, not about time.

The next 8 miles were fun! I didn’t look at my time, and can honestly say I was just so happy to be out there running. I’ve run the Spinx half marathon the past 2 years, and I absolutely love the first 9 miles of the course. It’s through beautiful downtown Greenville and Falls Park. I highly suggest this race to anyone.

When I took Gu a mile 10, I began to feel “off”. I had plans to take Gu every 5 miles. I choked down the Gu but really didn’t feel well. But whatever. I ignored my stomach and happily went on my merry way. I was determined to finish this race.

At mile 11, I saw my inlaws and my furball. Around mile 12.5, I saw Nicole and Dr. Boyle. I was so happy to see them! Having spectators really lifts my spirits.

I tossed my shirt to Nicole, asked about her race (she did awesome!), and mumbled something like “I really like halves so much more than marathons”. Because this was the point where the half marathoners turned off from the marathoners. I was jealous for a minute, but then I realized I WAS AT MILE 12.5 AND STILL RUNNING! This is where I stopped 2 weeks ago. So yay, go me!

I saw I logged the first half around 1:53:30. This made me happy because it was faster than I ran the half last year.

Unfortunately, I started cramping immediately after the half. The 3:50 paced group passed me at mile 14. It was a little disheartening knowing I couldn’t keep up with them. I was still running though, and that’s all that mattered. I was also able to eat Gu at mile 15, so I felt good.

But then, at mile 17, it happened. I thought it was a gunshot. It stopped me dead in my tracks. I had such a strong pain in my abdomen, I literally lifted up my shirt to look for blood because I thought I’d been shot. I tried to massage it away, but it was too tender to touch.

I was distraught; I couldn’t move. A million things ran through my head. “I was going to DNF again. I wasn’t meant for marathons. Surely, I have internal bleeding. I’m going to die.” Then the praying happened. I’d give anything to just finish this race. I didn’t care if I had to walk the next 9.2 miles, I was getting that medal.

After stopping for eternity- or about 3 minutes- I was able to walk. I was so grateful. I thought about tossing my Garmin to the ground because my time really didn’t matter anymore. But that would have been a very expensive loss.

I tried to run, but it wouldn’t happen. I kept telling myself, you only have to run for .10 miles, then you could walk again. But my stomach kept stopping me. According to Garmin, my splits for miles 17- 20 averaged around a 14:20 pace. Very upsetting when I was previously keeping an 8:45 pace :( By now the 4:00 pace group also passed me.

Then somewhere right before mile 20, I had to use the restroom. This urgent need really scared me. Porta potties were few and far between. But then like a mirage in the desert, a porta potty appeared shortly after mile 20. Thank goodness.

After that, I thought I felt better. I tried to take Gu but it couldn’t happen. I started major acid reflux and kept burping up my last Gu. Nothing would go down.

But it was ok. By now I could manage a better walk/run ratio. Starting and stopping was getting a little more challenging because now my legs were tired. But I had to do it.

The race volunteers going by on bikes were awesome at this point. They kept coming and asking me if I was ok, if I needed water, Gu, or medical help.

At mile 22.5 my hubby was waiting for me! After finishing the half (in 1:40!), he ran the full course backwards so he could help me finish. As soon as I saw his face, I knew he was worried. He expected me to be much further along at this point.

I told him what was wrong, and he said it’ll be OK and that I would finish and that’s all that mattered.

We walked/runned along in silence. I tried to take water, but vomit kept coming back up (sorry, I warned you it wasn’t pretty ;) ). I just kept thinking how great it would feel to cross that finish line, and that was all the motivation I needed to keep moving.

But I could tell my body was starting to hate me for not fueling enough in the later miles. Somehow, at the last fuel station between 24 and 25, I choked down half a cup of Gatorade and it really helped.

I saw Nicole again at mile 25. I mumbled something delirious to her :)

My stomach didn’t kill anymore, so I decided to run it in. I wanted to finish strong. And that I did. I ran the final mile in 8:34, and the last 0.2 nubbin at 7:30. I have no idea how I did that but I was so happy to be finishing.

The Spinx races finish around the Greenville Drive’s stadium. It is such a cool feeling to finish a race like this. I think this is one reason we run this race every year.

I finished somewhere between 4:15- 4:17 (chip times aren’t available yet). It was way slower than my goal- and my second half was almost 30 minutes slower than my first half- but I finished. At that moment, I didn’t care about my time.

A lot of people have marathons that don’t go as planned. I could have just as easily hurt my knee or got some other injury that got in my way of finishing well. But I did it.

I hobbled up the stairs to my hubby and took a seat to wait for Caitlin to finish. As soon as I sat down, I heard her name announced that she was coming into the stadium, way earlier than expected. I completely freaked out, started screaming happy obscenities, hopped down to the field, and ran (seriously, now I could run?) to hug her! I was so happy for both of us :)

When we were leaving I met a reader. Hi! I’m sorry I didn’t get your name. I was a little delirious :) But it was so nice to meet you!

As for my stomach, I am frustrated. Something is obviously going on since these issues started right after my surgery. And every time I’ve eaten since the race, I get a pain in the same spot :(

My goal for the next 2 months is not to run any crazy PRs or tackle new challenges: it’s to get my gastrointestinal issues figured out. Then hopefully I can resume marathon training in January and kick my next marathon’s booty ;)

Thank you all SO much for all the good luck wishes and congratulations ! It means so much to me to have such wonderful supporters :)

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Posted by runnerstrials

Today I FINISHED a marathon!

After my DNF 13 days ago, I wasn’t sure I’d ever be able to say that again.

Garmin says I did it in 4:15:07.

I didn’t run the race as well as I hoped because I was plagued by stomach issues yet again. Though right now, I don’t care so much. I did it and that's all that matters :) I’m so happy!

Full recap to come tomorrow. Right now, I need a nap!

Thank you all SO much for your words of encouragement. It means so much to me!

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It's so different this time

Posted by runnerstrials

Earlier this year, when I was trying to (unsuccessfully) get knocked up, pregnancy symptoms consumed my mind. I scoured websites and asked formerly pregnant people about signs that indicate you’re with child.

Often, women warned that every pregnancy is different. Meaning that:

  • Just because one woman had sore boobs and fatigue in her “two week wait” doesn’t mean every pregnant woman does.
  • You’re not guaranteed to have similar symptoms in subsequent pregnancies.
  • Most importantly- in my case- you are not necessarily pregnant just because you have the “symptoms”.

Whatever. Every time my boobs hurt, eyes twitched, I smelled an unpleasant odor, or got up to pee in the middle of the night, I thought I was pregnant.

After months of torturing myself, I accepted the fact that just because I had a million signs of pregnancy, I was not gestating.

I didn’t get it. I did everything right. I had the symptoms. So, why wasn’t I pregnant? (if you really want to know, you can learn more in the Meet Jen section).


Well, folks, it’s because life sucks sometimes. Just because you try hard to do something, you’re not guaranteed to be successful.

You know where I’m going with this now ;)

In the week before marathon attempt #1 of this season, I thought I did everything right:

  • My brain was marathon, marathon, marathon. Seriously, every time I sat down to type something my fingers magically typed
  • I bugged experienced marathoner friends for advice.
  • I got 9 to 10 hours of sleep each night.
  • I carbo-loaded.
  • I followed my training plan exactly.
  • I had a beautiful final training run.
  • I set out my race outfit and fuel days before and stared at it daily.

And, we know how this worked out for me.

This time?

  • I’ve averaged 6.5 hours of sleep per night.
  • I’m not forcing myself to eat anymore than I want to.
  • I've had no training plan to follow.
  • I cut my last training run 1 mile short because I wanted to go home and drink coffee. True story.
  • I have no idea what I’m wearing for the race.
  • I keep forgetting I’m running a marathon on Saturday. I read Jen’s blog the other day and saw how prepared she was and got really excited for her. Then I though “crap! I’m racing this weekend, too, and I’ve done nothing to get ready!” Instead of running down my stairs and gathering my things, I forgot about the race again. Last night, Caitlin mentioned how she still needed to charge her Garmin. I can honestly say I have no clue where my Garmin is...

I don’t understand how my anal, type A self is so unprepared this go around. How could I literally have done nothing when I'm leaving for the race at 5 am tomorrow?

I don't know and I'm not sure I care (I will care though when I show up tomorrow morning without my shoes...). I did everything right to prepare last time, and everything went wrong on race day. So, I’m hoping the opposite works this time. I guess I’ll have my answer around noon tomorrow :)

Are you a fan of reverse psychology?

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