Today I had my first Did Not Finish
I totally didn't see it coming, but perhaps I should have.
Sadly, this will not be a happy race recap. But I think I know where you can find one
Background on the DNF reason
I try not to go in detail about my gastrointestinal issues (GI) on this blog, but I have them. A lot. Ask my friends
I've dealt off and on with runner's trots but got it pretty much under control a couple of years ago. Then this June, right after my surgery, I experienced a whole other kind of stomach discomfort on runs: major cramping and nausea.
I thought this was due to the horrible, hot, humid summer weather and the fact that I have a low salt diet. So I upped my salt intake, but the feeling didn't completely go away.
In September, the nausea and cramps welcomed more kinds of GI distress that I won't share with you My problems became an almost daily occurence. Ironically, this is the time my training started to go down hill.Coincidence?
My husband encouraged me to cut out dairy. My BFF- who has celiac disease- told me to keep a food and symptom journal. My mom begged me to see a doctor. I ignored them, and just tried to eat more sodium.
The past 2 weeks, my stomach has been a mess. I'm constantly full, nauseous, or in the bathroom. I assumed this was from tapering. A cut in mileage without cutting calories= stomach problems, right?
It got so bad the past few days that I was barely able to eat when I should have been carbo-loading. I had a long chat with my BFF on Friday and I convinced myself it was just pre-race nerves. The mind is a powerful thing.
The night before the marathon
Last night, I had my usual pre-race dinner: pizza. Normally, for a half marathon, I eat 5 slices. Last night, I could barely stomach 2. I choked down a third but honestly thought I was going to get sick. Even my brother noticed my weird behavior and asked what the heck was going on.
The last thing I wanted to do this morning was eat my regular pb&j bagel. It took me 40 minutes to eat half of my bagel. Unheard of. I only got through a fourth of my bottle of Gatorade and skipped the Honest Food bar snack I had planned.
Regardless of my stomach issues, I was ready to run this marathon. I was convinced I'd BQ...
It was a bit windy, but the weather was pretty ideal otherwise.
And you know what? I really did feel awesome when I started running. I was so glad I chose the Asbury Park Marathon. I couldn't think of a better place for a Jersey girl to run than along the beach
As soon as the first mile marker came, so did my first stomach cramp. There is NO reason I should be cramping on mile one. I massaged it away and kept on trucking.
The race was going great. I kept an 8:00ish pace no problem. I knew I should slow down, but why bother if I felt great?
I took a sip of water at each aid station, about every mile. I thought this was weird- I normally drink Gatorade- but the thought of Gatorade made me gag. This should have been a warning sign...
At mile 6, I knew I had to eat. I didn't want to hit the wall so I knew I needed to start eating now or it'd be too late. I tried to eat my Sharkies, but I spit them out. I literally couldn't stomach them. I tried to take Gatorade, and it came right back up. I was in trouble.
Since I adopted a positive attitude recently, I decided not to dwell on my stomach issue. Instead, I told myself I was awesome, I was going to BQ, and went on my merry way. Ironically, between miles 6-7 I felt the strongest and had a great time. I wish I could bottle that feeling.
At mile 8 I couldn't ignore my stomach anymore. I tried to take Gatorade again and had no success. I knew the race was basically a fail for me, which was so hard to swallow because my legs felt great and my pace was right on target.
I didn't know what to do. I literally went from a BQ mindset to a DNF mindset within minutes. I didn't want to drop out. I had so many people counting on me and the thought of telling people I DNF'd made me tear up. But I also knew that it wasn't smart- or possible- to run a marathon without fueling. I just kept trying to eat and hoped the feeling would go away.
Around mile 10, I tried to do anything to make my stomach feel better. I slowed down. I ran/walked. I hunched over more when I ran. Nothing helped. Nausea was now accompanied by a pain on the left side of my stomach. I knew now I shouldn't finish the race.
Dropping out was a decision I didn't take lightly. I've done close to 30 races and have never had a DNF. I've wanted to stop in tough races, but never have. In fact, my hardest races are the ones I'm most proud of because I finished.
I saw my parents at mile 11 and told them what was going on. I grabbed my dad's water bottle and tried to drink that, and could barely get water down. They felt bad but told me it was the right choice. But I couldn't give up just yet. I told them I was going to run the loop to the end of the boardwalk and back to them before I made up my mind.
This is the first time I started feeling the effects of my not fueling. I got a little light-headed and felt slow. I had to drop out. If I kept running this time, I wouldn't have the option to turn away the ambulance.
At mile 12.5, I stopped. I reviewed my Garmin and saw I did those 12.5 miles at an 8:16 pace. Still on track to BQ It was SO hard to stop knowing I had done so well so far. But health is my number one priority.
I'm really bummed. I know I made the right choice, but I feel like a loser.
I'm supposed to run another marathon in 13 days. I registered for it as a back-up in case this one didn't go right. But right now, I'm not so sure I want to do it.
Whether it was pre-race nerves, lactose intolerance, an issue stemming from my surgery, or pregnancy (highly doubtful), there is definitely something going on with me. I feel like I need to take a step back from all out racing to get this issue straightened out.
Thank you all so much for all of the good luck wishes! Honestly, one of the reasons I didn't want to DNF is because I didn't want to let you all down. But, I've already received so many supportive messages. You guys are awesome. Thank you for understanding