The Leaders of the Pack – Baton Rouge Beach Marathon Weekend, Part 2

I’d be lying if I said this is a post I particularly feel like writing. I do not feeling like writing it at all, and soon you will see why. Nonetheless, that’s kind of what I do, right? I run and then I write about it. Sometimes you read it. It’s a thing we have going. Anyway, Amanda and I got up much earlier than we would have preferred to get to the early start of the Baton Rouge Beach Marathon on Saturday morning. We met Denis at the start of the race and were surprised how many people were already at the starting line at 5:30 in the morning, considering that most people were not starting the race until 7. We actually talked to a guy who was already there for the 7 am start. Dude, seriously? This race has like 1500 people total. So not necessary. I mean, more power to him, but you will never, not never, catch me at a race an hour and a half before the start unless it is forcibly mandated by the race itself, such as Disney. Sorry, I felt it necessary to rant about that. I just can’t process.

It was a very small group of us at the early start – I would say less than 15 people, and a lot of us were Maniacs. Larry Macon, who holds the Guinness World Record for most marathons in a single year (106) was there, as well as Jim Simpson, who is just a few marathons away from his 1000th marathon. HIS ONE THOUSANDTH MARATHON. Mom, AJ, and all other people who think I am crazy: I give you Jim Simpson and Larry Macon. Both of whom are extremely nice and very reasonable people, by the way.

Maniacs before the race start. Larry and Jim are not in this photo because they get to races even later than I do. Well played, sirs.
Maniacs before the race start. Larry and Jim are not in this photo because they get to races even later than I do. Well played, sirs.

We all lined up at the starting line, and I suddenly felt like I was wayyyyy to close to the front, even though again, there were only 15 people and all of us were planning on running pretty slowly. At the start of the race, Craig, the awesome race director, ran with us for about a quarter of a mile or so to make sure we wouldn’t get lost. It was pitch black outside, and guess who was leading the pack? Uh, me and Amanda. Pretty sure that is the first time that has ever happened and I am almost entirely sure it will be the last. It really freaked me out! I don’t know why – maybe because I was convinced I was going to lead the group off course or something. Fast people, I don’t know how you do it. God bless you. Fortunately, we were in the lead for less than a mile before Carol took off…making a wrong turn in the process and proving my nightmare true! Fortunately, Amanda and I caught the error and with the help of Denis, we were able to get her back on track.

At this point it’s important to point out that Amanda and I had stayed true to our word of wearing our “running chicken” Mardi Gras beads. We were pretty sure we would lose them by mile 2, but we wanted to make it as long as we could. Unfortunately, we had to hold them in order to keep them from bouncing around, which wouldn’t have been a big deal except Amanda somehow kept detaching hers from the beads. The chicken fell down a few times. It was bad.

I knew my stomach was in trouble from pretty early on. I want to say it started really bothering me around mile 2. Not much I could really do about it at that point, so Amanda and I tried to enjoy the scenery. We ran past Tiger Stadium in the vicinity of mile 3 or so, which is gigantic and purple and yellow and hideous (GO GAMECOCKS). At that point, the race turned onto LSU’s campus, which really struck me. No offense LSU people, but I could not believe how absolutely gorgeous it was. It seriously looked like something out of a magazine! Sensing that it was going to be a slow day, Amanda and I flagged down another early starter and asked her to take our picture in front of the
Christmas tree and tower.

Despite the hideous purple ornaments, the whole scene was quite lovely.
Despite the hideous purple ornaments, the whole scene was quite lovely.

You may note that I carried my typical bottle of Sprite with me the entire race. Since the course was a double loop, I had one at the start and one where we left the car, so I was cautiously optimistic that I would get through the race just fine. Turns out, not so much. As we ran along one of the lakes on campus past all the sorority houses (no ADPi…sad), the sun was coming up and we could hear the starting gun go off for the regular start. We were at about mile 6, and I predicted that we would be passed by the lead runners around mile 9. Yeah…it would only take them 3 miles to make up the HOUR LEAD we had on them. No big deal.

At mile 8, I saw porta potties and told Amanda that I was definitely going to get sick. She gets sick when other people get sick, so she always stays away during such times, which is fair. I found the actual porta potty far too claustrophobic (weird, right?) and ended up (sorry in advance) literally projectile vomiting behind them. I mean, whatever the sickest you ever got as a kid was…this was probably worse. It was reaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllllllllllllllly bad. I just sat on the curb after and cried for a second because I felt so sick and we still had so. many. miles to go.

On the plus side, the porta potties were still clean.
Best thing about doing the early start? The porta potties are still clean.

We started off again, and soon enough the lead runners were catching us. It’s pretty amazing how easy they make it look, and I know it isn’t easy for anyone. Somehow, this whole situation made me perk up considerably despite the fire raging in my stomach, and I decided that when the next fast people came by, I was going to try and run with them for 10 seconds. Seems easy, right? No big deal.

Uh, yeah. There were a lot of factors I didn’t consider. First of all, even though I MIGHT be able to keep up with them for about 10 seconds, I didn’t plan ahead far enough to have a running start. Second of all, trying to keep up with them going up a hill is not the ideal scenario. Third, it turns out very fast runners are not amused by my antics. Let me paint the picture for you. As they started to approach I would yell “I’m going to run really fast with you for ten seconds ok? OK!” and then I would run. Not with them ever. Just sadly behind them. The guy in the video was slightly amused. Several other victims were not.

The last few miles of the loop runs along the LSU lakes through some of the most gorgeous neighborhoods and streets I’ve ever seen. I’m sorry, Baton Rouge. I seriously underestimated you. I was really enjoying the scenery SO MUCH even though I felt like absolute garbage. It was at this point in the race that I was starting to think about not finishing. Here is what was essentially my internal conversation between Mean T-Rex and Less Mean T-Rex (let’s be real – there is not a nice version of me during races).

Mean T-Rex: “You’re such an idiot. Seriously, you can’t keep any food down half the time in real life and 100% of the time during races, yet you continue to come do marathons. What’s the point? You feel like shit. Your times are atrocious. Is “running” a 6 hour marathon, toughing it out and finishing really any more admirable or any better than recognizing that you feel awful and stopping at the half? No. It’s not. No one is going to be impressed that you walked the last half of a marathon.”

Less Mean T-Rex: “Don’t be a jackass. You can’t quit. Your blog went viral this week. Are you really going to welcome your new readers with a DNF post? Really? No. Suck it the hell up. You spent all this money to come out here and finish a marathon in Louisiana, and dammit, you’re going to finish. Dean Karnazes said “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must,” right? Right. You might not be able to run much, but you can walk when you need to. Stop being a baby.”

Oh you know. Just a big chair on someone's porch. Totally normal.
Oh you know. Just a big chair on someone’s porch. Totally normal.

I made the mental decision that I was going to finish the stupid marathon if it killed me. I can’t even justify why I decided to do that, because I really don’t know. We crossed the halfway point actually in about 2:30, which really wasn’t too bad for us considering the bathroom, walk, and vomit breaks. After crossing the midway point, I leveled with Amanda about my internal conversation. She told me that it was ok if I didn’t want to keep going and that she could still go without me, but I wasn’t going to do that. Nope, I was going to grace her with my puke for another 13.1 miles. She said she wasn’t feeling great either and that we could walk as much as we wanted and that we should just concentrate on enjoying the day. She has good perspectives on things. I do not.

If I thought it was hot in my T-Rex costume, I can't imagine how this guy felt.
If I thought it was hot in my T-Rex costume, I can’t imagine how this guy felt.

We still had our chicken beads on, though, so I guess things weren’t going too badly. Shortly after the halfway point, Chelsea caught up with us and told us that someone had mistaken her for me, since she was wearing a T-Rex Runner shirt. She pointed out that she does not have my luxurious blonde hair, so it could not possibly be me. I about died laughing. She waved goodbye and kept running really fast.

And the award for best water stop goes to the people in tutus, jorts, and suspenders.
And the award for best water stop goes to the people in tutus, jorts, and suspenders.

At this point, Amanda and I were doing run/walk and the methodology was basically to run until I felt too sick to continue, then to walk until my stomach calmed down enough to run again (Did you read that? Seriously? I’m the worst. What is my life?) We took some scenic shots by Tiger Stadium to pass the time, and I saw my friend Jonathan, a fellow Maniac who I adore – had no idea he was going to be there!

Gamecock "C" outside Tiger Stadium...yeah, I know Carolina lost there this season.
Gamecock “C” outside Tiger Stadium…yeah, I know Carolina lost there this season.

As we started heading through campus again, I asked Amanda if she was ready to run again and she goes “Ugh, every time you start talking I  am dreading that you are going to say it’s time to run again. Seriously.” I about fell over laughing because she never gives that impression at all – she always seems game to keep running, but I guess not. Amanda then made the executive decision that we needed to take prolonged walk break in order to give my stomach plenty of time to settle. I’m sure we looked pathetic walking at mile 15, but neither of us really cared. Lots of people commented on our shirts, and we watched with great interest as most of the field went running past us. The nice thing about double loop courses is that after the halfway point, all of a sudden the numbers seem so high. You feel like you’re really making progress since the last time you were in that spot, it was 13 miles ago. For some reason, I find that very comforting. Anyway, we walked…and walked…and walked. We walked at least 4 miles with no running at all. I have never in my life done anything like that in a race.

Sad attempt at "SC" in front of the LSU sign
Sad attempt at “SC” in front of the LSU sign

We eventually started doing a bit of running and walking again because it was getting really hot (in December, I know) and we kind of just wanted to be done. At a water stop around mile 21, we saw Jeff Galloway running and walking on the course! This is particularly crazy because a) he’s a former Olympian and b) although I have been to many races that he has attended as a speaker, I didn’t know he actually runs the races too. So that was kind of cool! Of course, he left us in the dust with his patented run/walk method of 30 seconds running, 30 seconds walking. Ugh.

How adorable is this house, right? There was a water stop right in front of it and the woman asked if we wanted her to take our picture in front of the house. Why not?
How adorable is this house, right? There was a water stop right in front of it and the woman asked if we wanted her to take our picture in front of the house. Why not?

By this point it was becoming abundantly clear that this race was mostly likely going to be a PW (Personal Worst). For the record, my previous PW was the Bataan Memorial Death March Marathon, which is run in sand and crosses over a mountain range. And it was 88 degrees that day. I mean, legit right? Flat paved course in December? Not legit. Nonetheless, as we approached mile 25, I was determined to do a T-Rex. For those of you who are new to my blog and don’t know what a T-Rex is, it’s running the entire last 1.2 miles of a marathon (from mile marker 25 to the finish) without stopping. I try and do that in every race, no matter how bad I feel, in an effort to prove to myself that I can push myself farther than I think.

Prepping to run our T-Rex at mile 25
Prepping to run our T-Rex at mile 25

Usually, the last 1.2 miles go by pretty fast no matter how bad I feel, but this was an exception. It felt like we were running forever. I thought I was turning 85 years old while running because we had been out there that long. With about half a mile to go, Denis found us! He was pretty concerned we had died out there, so after finishing his race, he came back to run us in. This is one of many reasons why I love Denis. Also, he has a magnificent accent.

I would love to say crossing the finish line was great, and in a way, it was. I always have fun with Amanda when we run together. The course was beautiful, we met some great people, kept our chicken beads on the whole time – hell, we even led the race for awhile. We saw Craig at the finish line and told him what a wonderful race it was, and it really is. The volunteers were fantastic, the food at the end was good (so I hear…poor stomach) and the course was beautiful. Even if you don’t like double loop courses, this is really a good one. I think the whole race is exceptionally well organized and well executed . You really can’t go wrong with running Baton Rouge Beach. I don’t say that about every race, but I really have nothing bad to say about this one. It’s just really well done!

Amanda demanded that there be a post race photo.
Amanda demanded that there be a post race photo.

So that’s how the race went. It was a PW for me timewise. Would it have been smarter for me to just stop at the half and not finish? Probably. I can’t say I won’t come back and try and get redemption from this course once my stomach is fixed, because I feel like it would be a course I could run well on under different circumstances. Although I generally don’t care too much about my race times, there’s something about the idea of finishing a marathon in 6+ hours that I just personally cannot deal with. I think I’m getting so frustrated lately because I know my fitness has gotten better.  I’ve been training and running hard for the most part, I just can’t get my stomach to cooperate 95% of the time. It makes no difference what I eat or whether or not I take my medicine. My stomach just makes the executive decision each day how it going to feel and that’s it. Nothing I can do about it. My stomach is clearly an asshole, so it’s not going too well. My doctor is talking about doing surgery in the next few months, and it seems like at this point that might be my only option because I’ve tried everything else. I’m frustrated because I know I can do better and I want to do better.

Oh well, that’s enough of a pity party for one night. I sound like Taylor Swift.

To clarify: This report is in no way meant to be disparaging to people who finish marathons in over 6 hours. I am a firm believer in performing to the best of your ability, whatever that may be – whether it’s the Olympics or an 8+ hour finish. My frustration lies in feeling like I can’t perform to the best of my ability, not the actual times themselves.

If you’re a runner, leave a comment and tell me about your PW. If you’re not, tell me something else that I will find interesting. Preferably some type of little known fact.

89 thoughts on “The Leaders of the Pack – Baton Rouge Beach Marathon Weekend, Part 2

  1. OMG every race I run is a PW. Thanks for the blog, I am hooked. I’m happy to know that others try as hard as I do & can laugh about themselves. Great blog!!!!! So glad I found it. By the way my PW was seeing an ex bf and te girl he dumped me for at a huge race which I run every year. He was a smoker that I tried to convert to a runner. Then I see him with this bimbo and he’s Mr Marathoner. Let’s just say it was my PW race ever.

    1. OMG! That is awful! I actually had something kind of similar happen to me at Kiawah last year. The only good part of the day was that I beat his time by over an hour! Guys are the worst 🙂

      I’m so glad you are enjoying my blog! Thanks for following along! Let me know if you will be at any of the same races as me in the future!

  2. As a walker, with an occassional spurt of insanity to a wog, I can understand your frustration. There is no shame in walking – you’re still out there, still doing the miles. And whether or not those miles come quickly or painfully slow, each step is a success. It’s a celebration of your intestinal fortitude (despite the asshole mach) and you should not say, “Damn. I walked. “

    1. In theory, I agree with you. It’s not the walking that bothers me – I have no problem with walking a race if that is the best I can do on that day. The frustration comes from the fact that the rest of my body is good and ready to go, and my stomach is not. It’s hard knowing my legs are ready to race, but can’t. If I leave everything out there on the course, I don’t care what my time is, but I didn’t feel like I did that. I had plenty of energy left at the end, I just couldn’t run without getting sick. That being said, I am proud of myself for toughing it out…I just wished it took like, an hour and a half less to be over 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

  3. As a walker, sometimes wogger, I can understand your frustration. However, each step should be celebrated cause you’re out there – logging the distance and encouraging people like me. You shouldn’t say, “Damn. I walked.” You should jump with glee and say, “Damn!!! I walked!!!!!” 26.2 miles is the same whether or not you finish it in 4 hours or as the sun goes down. See you on the course. I’ll be the one bringing up the rear…

  4. Great story and I love the pictures. Do I have a PW story? Probably, but I can’t remember. That’s the joy of getting old, I can’t remember everything anymore! Ha! But when the Mean Voice tells you that you are a wheeny and should quit, just remember so many other people are sitting in front of the TV eating garbage and ruining their health and you are being amazing. You are running marathons and I don’t care how long it takes you. YOU are amazing (and funny).

  5. And apparently I am comment-challenged!!! Sorry about the duplicate. I just like to hear myself type! 🙂 With that being said, I think you’re amazing and look forward to reading your adventures.

  6. “We walked at least 4 miles with no running at all. I have never in my life done anything like that in a race.” You & I both know this is a lieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

  7. Ummmm being beaten at the last quarter mile of my first race by a guy pushing a double jogging stroller (yes, both seats were occupied, and they weren’t newborns). Isn’t that whole sprinting at the end thing bad racing etiquette???

    1. I don’t think sprinting at the end is bad race etiquette. It’s bad race etiquette to run an entire race with someone and then sprint at the end to beat them, but I think the majority of people try to push as hard as they can for the finish. I personally have only done that if I’m trying to beat a certain time, but that’s because I’m lazy. And oomph, double jogging stroller – that had to hurt 🙂

      1. Yup. We did run the race “together,” as in, he’d pass me, I’d pass him, etc throughout…but then he turned on the jets when we turned the street corner for the last leg. I took some comfort in the fact that I was still standing once we’d passed the finish line, and he was lying on the ground.. I gave him a high-five. I’m nice like that.:)

        1. Ah, ok – then yeah, I would have to say it’s ok if he sprinted past you since it’s not like you guys knew each other and planned to run together. Just because it’s technically ok doesn’t mean he doesn’t look like an asshole though. I mean, kind of unnecessary, right? I’m not competitive so I don’t really understand things like that, but I guess everyone has their thing. I would have high-fived the shit out of him too. 🙂

  8. I’m a new reader, found you in the WordPress FreshlyPressed page. Pretty awesome entries you have & I saw Thomas’ pic shared on FB! So funny & awesome you found him. I’m searching my brain to remember if I’ve seen your shirt at a race before.

    I’ve slogged through my share of marathons too. I’m guessing we’ve crossed paths at more than one race. I did Bataan this year too.

    What’s your MM#? I’m 674. What’s on your race calendar this season?

    1. Thanks so much! I am MM #4674…exactly 4000 after you…weird! I just started doing the shirts about a month ago so you may not have seen them yet, but you will…oh you will 🙂 Coming up next I’ve got Mississippi Blues, then the Iron Horse 50 miler in Florida on February 9, Columbia SC Marathon March 9, Southern Indiana Classic the first weekend in April, and then the Wisconsin/Kalamazoo double the first weekend in May. What about you?

      1. Wow. That is so weird!

        We have ‘similar’ schedules, but no overlap yet. Bummer. I’m doing the New Years Double in Dallas (NYE, NYD). Feb I’m doing a 50miler outside of Houston, my first. (unfortunately, not a new state). I’m looking at another 50k/50mi in Kansas at the end of March.

        April/May, haven’t decided yet. I’m thinking about Flying Pig again. My hubs is from there. It’s the 15th anniversary this year, and we did it on the 10th. One of the few races I’d like to repeat! They give great schwag.

        I’m toying with New Orleans & AL in Feb, depending how I feel after my 50miler.

        Cool about the WI/MI double. Great idea. I already have WI though. :/

        1. I definitely want to go back and conquer the Pig at some point, but I think I might finish my 50 states there so I can kick that race’s ass once and for all. I did Mercedes this year and I enjoyed it a lot, randomly. Definitely one of my more fun races!

      2. Ohhh, that’s good news. Mercedes has been on my list for several years now. I will make that call after the 50. If I feel good enough that I can walk the marathon 2 weeks after the 50, I’ll do it. I don’t want to come back too soon and get an overuse injury.

        There’s some big hills at the start of the Pig! I wasn’t expecting them, that’s for sure. I might look into the MS Blues. It’s a week after my double, but logistically easy since I can drive. If I survive, I might think about it!

        Good luck!

  9. My PW was just a few weeks ago at Thunder Rd in Charlotte. It was first marathon a year ago and then my fifth one when I did it this year. You’d think I’d have shown some improvement. Sadly, you’d be wrong. 34 minute PW, 20 minutes slower than last year at the same race. At mile 15 I stepped off the course, stopped my watch and started removing my number while asking my husband (who follows me along the course on a bike because I enjoy an entourage and he likes his bike a lot) to figure out how to get back to the car. That’s right, I threw a tantrum at mile 15. And I threw it at my husband.

    He somehow convinced me to keep going to mile 18 because “the course is closer to the car there”. So I did. And then at 18 he taunted me about it only being 8 more miles. And I fell for that too.

    Enjoying your blog!

    1. Ooooh your husband is sneaky! I like it! I was at Route 66 that weekend, but Charlotte is close to where I live and I hear that is a good race! It’s pretty great that he is able to bike along with you. I have seen that at some races but I don’t think it would be possible at all of them. Your husband must be a very patient guy 🙂 Were you glad he made you finish or mad at him at the end?

  10. My first half took me 3:31:18. Not AWFUL, but I was aiming for at least 3:15. I ended up walking miles 9-13 and only running that last .1 in (though I REALLY wanted to try & pull a T-Rex).

    I’ve said it before, but I love your blog. It got me registered for my first half, and now I’ve decided what the hey, I’ll try and hit all 50 states… and become a half fanatic in the process. 🙂

    1. ANNE!!! That is amazing! I didn’t know you were deciding to do all 50 states! You MUST let me know when you come to South Carolina and please tell me if we will be at any of the same races. Yayyyy I’m so excited! When is your next race?

      1. My next two are in march. One in NJ, one in DE. Theyre two weeks apart, so whether I finish both is a different question. I already have PA under my belt, but Im doing Pittsburgh in may too.

        I have family in Charleston, so I see that happening sooner than later because I only have the transportation expense. 🙂

        It’ll take a while because it’s a lot financially, but I’m gonna do it. It’s a lofty goal, but I’m excited!

        1. That’s fantastic! Once you join the Fanatics, you will have access to some good discount codes that will help with expenses, plus a whole bunch of new friends that are happy to share rides, hotels, etc and keep the costs down. Let me know when you come to Charleston for sure!!

  11. The picture of the cute house? just makes me want to pick up a book and sit there and read. When you mentioned Tiger Stadium I thought of MI LOL even though I’ve never been to Tiger stadium ever. lol Keep me updated on the stomach surgery that worries me. Any plans for your birthday? 🙂 I will not remind you you are getting older as I’m a lot older than you. and the people there 1.5 hours early? That would never be me in this lifetime! oy. no way no can do. ever. Though Dad is trying to convince me to get to appts 15 mins early in case I have to do paperwork. Haven’t made it yet lol. Much love always. I’m very proud of you. What are your Christmas plans? Have you started shopping? Though I know FL is warmer I think you should go to Jersey.

    1. AJ is planning something for my birthday, but I don’t know what it is. We will see! We are going to Florida for Christmas and then celebrating with AJ’s family when we get back. His parents don’t even go to NJ for Christmas so we definitely won’t be, although I’m not opposed because I like cold weather. I have started shopping and I see you are almost done! Much more organized than me. Love you!

  12. I would have to say my PW was when I wasn’t really thinking and ate half of a box of tabasco cheez-its the night before a half. I always have “difficulties” due to the excitement of the race, and the cheez-its just made it that muccch worse. I thought I was all cleaned out when about mile 2, my bowels let me know I was not…I did not resort to using and discarding my socks in the middle of nowhere, but it was a close one ( I had some tissues since my nose tends to run in cooler weather). Then again around mile 6-who knew those stupid cheez-its could formulate so much….stuff? I actually ended up running with a triplet who was going to be on a TV game show and she kept my mind occupied for a few miles. Needless to say, I was convinced I smelt terrible at the end and tried to stay downwind of everyone until I could get to my car and sit on a plastic bag for the ride home!

    1. Oh wow. That sounds absolutely horrible. I bet you have never looked at a box of tabasco cheez-its the same way again! I’m still wincing from reading this.

    2. I am crying as I read this, how wonderful to hear someone else has thought about using their socks and suffering from exploding bowels generating impossible amounts of sh!t!!!

  13. Great blog, so glad I found it. Talking a bout PW’s, I ran my 3rd marathon recently which ended up being my PW. Legs were feeling dead by mile 17, had to result to the run/walk theory (not my style), by mile 20 my calves were cramping, I was just zoned out, and being the asshole that I am(must be related to your stomach) made a wrong turn. There was a group behind me but not one of them yelled out “hey asshole, you’re going the wrong way!” Obviously it was their fault that I ran and extra 8 minutes or so, adding to my toruture. I was bound & determined to catch one of them out of spite, so I ditched the run/walk & stepped up to run/shuffle walk. There was no chance that I was going to catch up to anyone at this point, but I sure as hell was going to try. Well, you guessed it, coming up on the 25 mile marker, shuffling my legs like Franenstein because my calves were so cramped, I saw 2 women posing for a picture in a sprinter’s stance next to the 25 mile marker & I said “hah, I caught up to someone!”. Yes, thank you for taking the time to stop for that picture. It made my day & allowed me to finsih the BRBM at a full out shuffle!

      1. No, I blew by that guy too! At that point, had I stopped, I would have collapsed!
        Keep up the blog, I have enjoyed reading.

  14. I haven’t attempted a marathon yet, and I’m not sure I really have it in me. My PW was my first 10 Miler. I ran the Annapolis Ten Mile Run in Annapolis, MD. It’s a challenging course and run at the end of August, which in the mid-Atlantic as you know is humid and HOT HOT HOT. It was Summer 2010, which was a scorcher. It was 85 degrees at the 7:45AM start and I’d been so nervous leading up to race day that I didn’t eat for 2 days. So I tried to run 10 miles in 85-90 degree MUGGY heat. I was walking every hill by Mile 4 and was miserable. I finished in 2:05 which isn’t terrible but is much slower than my current pace. It scarred me so badly that I have been since afraid to attempt another 10 miler. I’d like to try the Army Ten in October 2013.

    I love your blog and am sorry to hear you’re plagued by such stomach issues. I have a nervous stomach and I let it hold me back, reading about what you run through makes me want to push a little harder at the thoughts that make my stomach start to churn. Thanks for the runspo! 🙂

    1. Dear God, I can not even fathom WHY a race of that length would be held in Maryland in mid August. That sounds absolutely horrible…and on no food? Oy. I don’t blame you for being scarred. I would think the Army Ten Miler in October would be much more agreeable. It’s so sweet of you to say you’re inspired – all of y’all inspire me! Can’t let my readers down, after all.

  15. You are amazing for running through that stomach pain! And it sounds like in spite of it all you still had a fun time! I know so many people who would be like “ef this, I’m done” and I think that says a lot about you that perservered!

    This isn’t a PW story, but I definitely peed myself around Mile 22. It was less of a choice and more of “oh…so this is happening now. No point in trying to stop it!”. Also at this point I thought I still had a shot at a BQ so hell if I was going to stop to find a place to pee 😉 I do feel bad because a kid was walking with her Mom right near me when it happened. Uh, sorry kid, you can’t unsee that…

    Like you always say “there’s no dignity in marathoning!”

    1. Wow, you peed yourself? I have never done that before. That is FAR more dedication than I will ever have to running. You win. And you traumatized a kid in the process? Double win. No dignity in marathoning for sho.

  16. Another great story! My PW I have to say, well, I got a DNF at Route 66. Does that count for a PW? That was supposed to be my 4th marathon and only made it about 3/4 of the way. I suffered through miles 14-19 and reached a point that I could. not. go. on. In order to avoid the embarrassment of passing out on the course, I opted to walk off – luckily a friend was close by. I too have issues with my stomach, however, it is not vomiting – the other end – i so wish it were the upper end! I do fine in my training runs and then BAM, race day it hits, so I totally feel your pain. I just have to be really careful about what I eat for the day or two before the race. I totally admire your determination and drive to finish. Scenery so completely helps. Way to suffer through it and finish! Can’t wait to hear the next story!

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your DNF. I DNFed at Flying Pig this year, and I’m still mad about it. If it makes you feel better, I have issues with both ends of my stomach…I just only talk about the upper end because I have yet to figure out a humorous way to write about everything else 🙂 Thanks for following along!

      1. I am so sorry about Flying Pig. I was there and I didn’t know if I would finish or not! It was certainly HOT! I would do that one again tho, if it were cooler. The scenery was beautiful and great crowd support! I’m currently gearing up for Houston on 1-13-13. Hopefully that one will go better than Rt 66!

  17. I love your blog, just found it last week a few days before I did my first half marathon. Between this blog, the excitement at the race, my goal is to do a full in 2013. Keep writing!

  18. So, my PW really sucked. I got talked into running a metric marathon, 26.2 KM (16+ miles) and thought it would be awesome. I could say I ran a marathon… It started out great, though I ran behind someone listening to gospel music, which was NOT inspiring me that day. then we get to the switchbacks. Up and up we go…. Finally we turn around and I’m feeling kinda crappy. So, my legs aren’t moving like they should… And BAM, down I go. Tore up my knee and hand in the process. I sent my friend on as I really needed to walk a bit. I did finish and sort of just jogged the last couple of miles. But to add injury to insult, my name was announced as being the third lady in… So, then I had to explain they had their numbers mixed up as I was DEFINITELY not a leader for this run. Embarrassing…

    1. Oooh that is rough! I have never fallen and gotten hurt in a race (yet) but I had a similar experience in Flying Pig when I crossed the half marathon finish line with my marathon bib on and they thought I came in 3rd and tried to put a full marathon medal on me…talk about awkward!

  19. Since I haven’t done a marathon yet (next year!) I checked out my Athlinks for the worst pace – 13:26 in an 8.4 mile race. This was the Midnight Madness portion of the Back On My Feet 20in24 – an ultra marathon where people just run laps of this loop for 24 hours. The winner did like 154 miles. Anyway, this thing is in July and the year we did it, it was still over 90 at 9:00 p.m. At midnight it was down to 85 degrees and about 2 miles in I started getting chills so we had to slow down. My friend Deb ran with me since it was at midnight in Philly and this was her PW too – all because of me – Sorry Deb! Two years later, my pace was 10:08 and she probably didn’t have to run with me that year since I was with the pack this time. That PW time, we were all ALONE! It’s a fun one though. What could be better than to run 8.4 miles around Philly at midnight and then hang out by the Schuylkill River at 2:00 a.m. eating pizza and M&Ms?

    I love that the fast runners were not amused with your antics when you tried to run with them. I think that makes it even funnier! Enjoying the blog and finding a lot of inspiration from you in anticipation of my first marathon. The fun you have makes me look forward to it even more! Thanks!

    1. Somehow, PWs aren’t so bad when you have a friend to share your misery with you. But seriously…over 90 at 9 pm? Absolutely not ok. T-Rex doesn’t appreciate heat.

      I can’t wait to hear about your first marathon! Keep me posted! And yeah, fast people don’t really have fun. Too busy “focusing,” I suppose. This is why I keep my eye intentionally off the prize.

  20. I was between this one and the Louisiana Marathon (also in Baton Rouge) and you’ve nudged me towards this one, possibly for 2013. Sorry to hear that your stomach didn’t cooperate this time around either. But I have to ask: how has your back been? I keep coming back to that dreaded Flying Pig experience, noting that the majority of your woes lately have involved your stomach, but not your spine. Has that gotten better?

    1. My back was actually REALLY bad right after Chicago for about 2 weeks. I guess the whole “3 marathons in 8 days” thing was not appreciated. I took some time off and saw my therapist and took a hell of a lot of muscle relaxers and we are back in business now. I think cross training from doing the tri training has helped a lot. And yeah, BRBM is awesome. Do it!

  21. Hey there! I love this blog. I’ve been reading it for a while. My co-worker/friend/fro-yo companion Glenn of told me about it. I ran my first marathon in October. (The Marine Corps Marathon). I did a Tough Mudder a week before that. I was hooked. I’m pretty much a medal slut and have now already signed up for 3 marathons in 2013 and have 4-5 others that I want to do. Yep, my brain completely thinks that my super-advanced runner self, having completed one big bad marathon, can totally whip out 8 in 2013. I’m saying all of this because your posts give me hope. Thanks for that. I am not fast and do not have any illusions of capturing any prizes. Ever. So I love that there’s someone else, that loves to run them for the fun of it and stops to see all the crazy sights and crazy people and just have a good time. So thanks so much for writing about the good times AND the bad moments.

    1. Glenn is awesome! So is froyo. It’s funny because I used to really be all about the medals, and to some degree I still am, but now I am oddly obsessed with the race bibs too. If I get one of the generic “Road ID” bibs, I get real upset. What races are you doing next year?

      Thank you so much for your compliments. There is no reason you can’t achieve the goals you have set out for yourself as long as you take care of your body! I am admittedly not the best at that, but I’m working on it. If you keep focusing on just having a good time, there’s really no such thing as a bad race. I try to be as honest as possible because I hate reading race recaps where everything is just sunshine and roses for race after race. That’s just not reality for most people – it’s a marathon, it’s supposed to be hard! Tell me why it was hard, you know? Anyway, sorry for my rant. Let me know what races you will be at, and keep running!

      1. These are the races I’m doing and why…
        2/17 – Ft. Lauderdale A1A Marathon. – Because it’s A1A and on the beach and the medal is a giant double seahorse. I’m staying an extra day to lounge on the beach with frosty beverages.

        4/7 – Xenia, Ohio Marathon – Because it’s $25 and I can stay with a friend of mine for free.

        5/7 – Flying Pig Marathon – Because that was the 1st one I actually signed up for and several of my running group are running it also.

        6/8 – The Hatfield and McCoy Marathon. – That’s right. A marathon celebrating the most famous feud in American History. I am doing this one for no other reason than S&G’s. You run through their lands and over a swinging bridge and there is a big party afterwards. It just sounds like a hoot. A hoot I tell ya!

        10/13 – Chicago Marathon – My son will be going to college there next year and Glenn is doing this one.

        11/9 – OBX Marathon – This one is actually your fault. I read your recap and was sold the second I saw Pirate themed. I will probably be doing the Blackbeard Challenge to get THREE MEDALS. ::sigh::

        After marking up my calendar, I realized also that IF I complete the spring/summer leg of this adventure, I will qualify for the Marathon Maniacs. WOOOOO!!!

        1. Ok, I grew up in South Florida and I totally want to do A1A. Were it not for the fact that I’ve already run several marathons in Florida, I would. That’s a good call.

          You know I did Hatfield McCoy, right? I’m totally obsessed with it. Check out my race report on it under the Race Reports tab. It is one of my top 3 favorite marathons.

          Loved Chicago. Did that one this year too. I will absolutely go back.

          OBX is AMAZING and the Blackbeard Challenge is totally doable. I actually felt pretty good the second day besides my stomach!

          Can’t wait to welcome you to the Maniacs!!

  22. Glad you have the same internal dialogue that I do, but I haven’t named mine yet. My PW was actually a fun one, so I can’t complain because it was in Athens for the 2,500th anniversary of the marathon and we finished in the Olympic stadium. Good for you for toughing it out. Really hope you get your stomach issues resolved. You obviously have way too many races to do next year to get sidelined by that. Me and my run buddies do a lot of American races so hope to see you at one of them some day. Sending you some Canadian love.

    1. WOW! What an incredible experience! I don’t even think I could be mad about a PW in Athens. I think that’s the one (2500th) that Amby Burfoot did in a Spartan outfit for Runner’s World. Let me know what races you’ll be at! Thanks for the Canadian love 🙂

  23. I LOVE LOVE your blog……….and your attitude, and, and, and………..I feel not so crazy when I read it. I think that I almost want to cry because you are so much like me and sometimes I think my brand of crazy is special but NOPE there’s plenty of us out there, running, walking, struggling and FINISHING. My PW? When I ran a 5k and because my time was 69 seconds slower than the last year I walked off to pout and cry…………….WTF?? Needless to say, it was a “runner changing” moment, and I won’t be caught pouting or crying over ANY race I finish, unless they are tears of joy and thankfulness (my norm, I swear, I’m not normally a spoiled brat). Happily subscribed to you!

    1. It honestly means a lot to me that you feel not crazy when you read my blog, because I feel crazy half the time when I’m writing it. It’s nice not to be alone! I used to be much more of a spoiled brat about running than I am now. I’ve had plenty of humbling experiences this year for sure! Thanks for reading along and yeah… a 69 second PW in a 5k is nothing to cry about 🙂 And you’re not crazy! Or maybe you are, but so am I, so it’s fine.

      1. I never want to hurt my ex husband by what I say…………but I’ll say this. It was running that helped me find myself and extricate myself from an irreperably broken situation. Through running, whether directly or because I participate in the sport, I’ve met so many amazing people. I was very time focused for a couple of years but now I am simply focused on the social, physical and emotional benefits of the sport. I hope that you find your way to better stomach health soon.

  24. I have had that same internal dialogue on all my long training runs, I’m not sure why I even keep running? I’m not very nice to myself while I’m doing it.
    My own PW was a 3+ half marathon, and it was not the race I had trained for. I was with a friend who may have misled me about her own level of training. I was NOT prepared to walk 13.1 miles with a few minutes of running sprinkled in. It sucked my love for running right out of me.

    1. Haha Steph, sometimes I wonder the exact same thing to myself! And I had a very similar half marathon experience, except ours took exactly 4 hours. We came in dead last and didn’t realize the course had a 3 hour time limit! The race director rode her bike out to bring us in, but my friend and I were determined to finish! I was more sore after walking that half than after the marathon I had run two weeks before (my first)!

  25. My first marathon was last March. And it was a 6-hour-plus experience. My husband and I are trail runners and love off-road, hilly challenges so we signed up, and trained for, the Catalina Island Marathon. It was a tough one, definitely, but so beautiful. We were mentally and physically prepared to be on the course longer than a flat, paved marathon course. But what I didn’t count on was getting the flu before the event. Except for a couple of attempts, prior to the marathon, I hadn’t run for 10 days. Add to this, the accommodations that an island “friend” reserved for us was freshly painted on THE DAY of our arrival, and we couldn’t sleep the night before the marathon due to fumes. During the marathon, I had such coughing fits when stopping at the aid stations that I couldn’t eat or drink enough. I hit the wall at mile 18. Quitting was never an option, but it was certainly a challenge to complete it. I’ve got my second marathon coming up in January (a sea level, flat one in Hawaii — we like islands?). I signed onto this basically to get past my dismal performance at my first marathon, but the amnesia hasn’t really set in yet… I’m still remembering the low points, am sure it’s going to happen all over again, and am extremely apprehensive. On the other hand, I am doing this to conquer these fears, knowing way down deep inside that it can’t possibly be that bad again. Thanks for sharing your experience. I’m glad to know I’m not alone in this! 🙂

    1. My friend did a marathon on Catalina Island last month and it was a PW for her also! She said it was the hardest thing she’s ever done, but absolutely gorgeous. The pictures were incredible! That sounds like quite the combination of bad luck for your first marathon, but at least your second one can only get better, right? You are definitely not alone. By the way, you have excellent taste in travel choices!

    1. Nope. I haven’t taken ibuprofen, aleve, or any pain killers (or most other medication for that matter) in years because of how much it upsets my stomach. I wish it was that simple! Thanks for thinking of me 🙂

  26. Ahhh, the old stomach issues. Same reason for my (legit) PW. Although yours sounds way more persistent than mine. Kick your stomach in the ass and tell it to get its shit together! My PW was at the Country Music marathon in Nashville back in 09. This was my 8th marathon. Naturally I had a couple local beers the night before. Race morning I woke up and had to stay in the hotel bathroom for way too long. Made it to race on time and was able to run the first half with dad, then he left as I started walking. This one is run in April so I had been training in cooler temps, but this day the sun was out and it was freakin hot – high 80s I think. I couldn’t hold down water so I was really dehydrated and every time I tried to run I felt sick. I basically walked the last 12 miles. Finished in just over 6 hrs but managed to hold it all in. Well, until I crossed the finish line. I went straight to the fence and my throat exploded. I am truly very sorry to the lady that was standing on the other side with a look of horror as she caught some of the explosion. O well. Dad still claims this as his only victory over me. Once I made it back to the room the only thing that helped was Coke. I think I drank a whole 2 liter.
    It was great seeing you at BRBM, tho I’m sorry you felt so bad. It was part of my titaniumness last year and I liked it so much I went back this year. I would love to make it an annual thing. You should plan on going again next year and get revenge on that f’r. I am still plotting revenge on Country Music.

    1. I know, right? Only problem is my stomach is kicking me in the ass. I have heard Nashville has been so hot for the past few years. I am absolutely terrified to do that race as a result – the time of year would mean I wasn’t super prepared for heat, as you obviously experienced. I think you traumatized that lady forever! She has never watched another marathon since, I’m sure 🙂 You and your dad are hilarious.

      Yeah, I will definitely go back to BRBM. Plane tickets were cheap, I love New Orleans, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to let that course get the best of me. Let’s plan for a reunion in 2013.

  27. Good for you for toughing it out!! That’s hardcore.

    PW: Mt. Lemmon Marathon in Tucson. You run up a mountain….Yeah, it sounded cool when I signed up. I attempted a 7:1 galloway method but at Mile 14 my brain was running, my legs were not. Cue 1 minute run and 1 minute walk for 12 miles….6+ hour marathon and the medal SUCKED. (I’m a total finish line hardware whore). Whatever.

    Close second (by a whopping 6 minutes) was the marathon leg at Ironman Arizona. I got so sick on the bike that my stomach got all distended and when I was in the aero position; my knees were playing it like bongo drums, so the marathon turned into Le Tour de Porta Potty. I felt sorry for myself for a little but then told myself to embrace the suck and keep going. Bottom line: unless you’re being forced from the course by medical or race officials, keep going! Nothing feels worse than quitting.

    Fun Fact: A friend recommended Pomegranate extract pills- she gets sick during marathons as well and swears by it. You can get them at a health food store like Whole Foods.

    1. I can deal with a so-so medal, but not a horrible medal – especially after a total suckfest! I would be mad too. However, this comment did NOT give me hope for my hypothetical Ironman attempt next fall! Funny you used the phrase “embrace the suck” though because I literally told Amanda during the race that I was just going to embrace the suck and keep going one way or the other. Having DNFed once before, I can honestly say nothing feels worse than quitting, even when you really should quit. Hmm, pomegranate, eh? I wonder if that would help my stomach all the time? Unfortunately this isn’t just a race thing.

  28. Hi! Are you an ADPi? Me too! How about that! Well I wanted to know other ADPi runners – I always thought it would be fun to meet at a race. My alum group here in Albuquerque —- no runners. I got my shirt – thanks! Patsie Potvin

    Sent from my iPhone

    1. Hey Patsie! Yes, I am an ADPi! So exciting to hear from another ADPi runner! There are a few in our local alum group, but unfortunately we don’t have very many alum activities at this chapter. I’m glad you like the shirt! OBIC

  29. My PW was my very first marathon — Traverse City in 2007. I was 40 lbs. heavier than I am now, and I signed up because 3 of my college buddies were running it. I told myself that signing up for this marathon 5 months in advance would be a GREAT motivation to run myself into shape….and that just, uh, didn’t happen. My longest training run was less than 5 miles, and I had to start taking walk breaks about 10 miles into the marathon (and I don’t know how I made it that long). I walked damn near the entire second half of the race, and I’ve only been more sunburnt on one other occasion in my life. A gentleman dressed as a Christmas tree and wearing combat boots passed me somewhere around Mile 21, and it was only an inspirational chance encounter with a Team in Training coach that kept me from quitting.

    Anyway, every mountain range worth paying attention to has its peaks and valleys. It sounds like you’ve stumbled across a low-laying valley here, but the good news is that after another short (but potentially grueling) climb, another epic peak beckons your arrival!

    1. Aww, look how encouraging you are! Thanks Otter. I will note that if your PW was your first marathon, it sounds like you’re actually doing it right. I think you’re supposed to get progressively better as time goes on, not worse…but what do I know?

      That drunk birthday text was one of the best presents I got today. Thank you.

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