A Pretty Good 10K---Unfortunately It Was a Half Marathon

Today did not go as expected, unfortunately. My half-marathon time was 2:15:43, a 10:22 pace--slower than my last two times on the course.

I can trace the first sign of an impending poor performance to my lunch on Friday--a Wendy's cheeseburger and baked potato. The potato tasted awful, and after eating them both, I started having stomach issues. This was a bad choice to start with, but my four-year-old was having a play date and I needed something quick and cheap to feed us! Still not feeling great, I then went to Olive Garden for dinner and overate--2.5 breadsticks, salad (what was I thinking?) and spaghetti with meat sauce.

Going to bed with little gas bubbles popping in my stomach, I was still stupidly optimistic about running a PR today. I got up this morning with no appetite and had a couple of bathroom issues that I will not go into detail about. I forced down breakfast, but it seemed to stick around instead of emptying out of my stomach. Right before the race, I choked down 1/2 of a Gu, and again, it seemed to just sit in a lump.

Miles one and two were right on pace at about 9:36 and 9:37 (goal was 9:30-9:45 pace) but it was HOT. It was about 60 degrees at the start. We had been training in 16-40 degrees. Heat is not my friend!

In mile 3, I took a swig of Gatorade at the water stop and it burned like acid in my stomach. For miles 3-5, I dealt with that burning sensation. I was also getting progressively slower by 1 or 2 seconds per mile. At mile 4, I was still roughly within my goal pace of sub 9:45, but it was a big stuggle to stay there. I gel'd on schedule at mile 5, but it was tough to get down. Finally in mile 6, I lost my running buddy. I was just feeling so nauseous and sick and my legs felt dead. I think that in reality, the gel was maybe sitting in my stomach and the carbs weren't getting to where I needed them---my leg muscles! From miles 6 on, I was WAY OFF pace, to the point that mile 7, I was at a 10:20 pace and all hopes of PRing went out the window. It was nearly 70 degrees at this point. Normally, that's ok running weather, but after training in COLD all winter, it did not help the way I was feeling. Around mile 8, I started looking for a Port o John or some bushes because the sensation in my stomach had dropped lower into my intestinal area. I was panicked. There wasn't anywhere to "go," but soon the immediate need passed for a little while.

At this point, I felt like I was running on fumes, no energy in my legs at all. It was difficult to run under a 10:30 pace. My last training run had been a 10:18 pace! I stayed away from the Gatorade, sticking with water the rest of the race. I tried another 1/2 gel around mile 10. I started taking 20 second walk breaks every half mile. They helped a little.

Finally, after 2 hours and 15 minutes of misery, I finished. I don't think I want to do that race again! The last time I ran this race, it poured rain and was only about 40 degrees, and THAT was better than today. I am so, so disappointed. Besides the heat and the stomach problems, I think I simply didn't do enough 5-6-7 mile mid-week runs. As much as I enjoy those speedy 2 to 3 milers, they aren't all that helpful for races over 10K. I need to be doing speedy 6 and 7 milers!

There is a half-marathon in a neat city about 2.5 hours away in 3 weeks---Lynchburg, TN, home of the Jack Daniels Whisky Distillery. I'm thinking about running that one to just try to have a better experience. It is hilly--- mile 4 to 5 is completely up hill, but maybe if I go into it with no expectations, just to enjoy the day, I will feel better.


Connie said…
I'm sorry your race didn't work out the way you wanted it to. I just experienced a similar race a couple weeks ago and it's hard to swallow. Make sure to rest and don't beat yourself up too much :)
MCM Mama said…
Bummer that your race went so poorly.

The Jack Daniels race is awesome. I did it last year and really enjoyed it. But that hill? IT SUCKS!!! I had to walk a part of it because I was running slower than I could walk.

Have fun if you decide to do it.
lawmonkey13 said…
Pfft. You just need to get back up on the distance horse again. When you build your mileage back up, you'll be better than ever!
Coy Martinez said…
Let me say, I had this same exact experience last year in the Derby Half in KY. Hot with a bad stomach and no
Porta John in sight. Keep the head up! There's always another race waiting to be PR'd!
What a drag ... it's so frustrating to plan and train for a great race and then have it all unravel in the last 12 hours before the race. Running is such a fickle and frustrating sport sometimes, isn't it?

Still, you gutted it out (no pun intended) and finished the race. Many people would probably have not finished, feeling how you did. Way to go!

Donna, I feel like we're in a similar place with our running ... trying to set challenging goals but still have fun with it all. If you figure out the balance, please fill me in!!