Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ogden Marathon 2008: It takes a special kind of idiot!

Friday morning Jodi and I ran down to the expo center to get our numbers and timing chips and shirts.  It wasn't really crowded yet and the stacks of t-shirts told of how many more people would be coming to get their stuff.  It was fun!  We talked to one of the race officials and told her of our plans for Jodi to wait at the half point until I got there, which would mean she would be starting over 2 hours later than all the other half marathoners.  There was some confusion, but they told us it would be o.k. and that her timing chip would start when she crossed the pad.  (Which later turned out to be not true and poor Jodi's time looked really bad for a while.)

We saw Jeff Galloway, who was speaking all afternoon on different subjects.  We listened for a bit about his walk/run theories and then he gave tips on carbo loading that night and hydration for the next day.  He and his wife would both be running the full marathon the next day.

We then went to Jamba Juice to have lunch!  Yum!  That is THE place to go when carbo loading!  I had a really yummy blueberry oatmeal muffin type thing that I would eat every day if they were already made for me!

The night before we went to the Temple again with Heather (who I ran with last year who is VERY pregnant this year!) and Rob, Jodi and Dave, and Marilyn and Mont.  It was so good!  I ordered a mozzarella and tomato sandwich that came with a salmon pasta salad!  The salad was so good and so big that I didn't even touch the sandwich and couldn't finish the pasta.  I drank plenty of water and was pretty excited and not so nervous as before!  When I got home I still had to get everything ready for the morning.  I had boughten a disposable camera (since I ruined my new digital camera last year!) and got my Accellerade drink ready in those little plastic bags.  That was one of the hardest decisions that I made.  I really don't like Powerade (which is what they were using in the marathon) and I have trained with Accellerade, which I love.  But what a pain carrying all those little baggies with me.  I had my sunscreen, chapstick, knee band, timing chip, phone and watch all ready to go.  The only real problem would be if I got pulled over driving to the marathon and having to explain to the cops what the powdery stuff in the little bags was for!

The morning of the marathon was beautiful!  I loved running up the street to catch the line of busses going up the canyon!  I sat by a really nice lady that talked to me pretty much the whole time.  She had run Ogden last year too and we talked about similar problems we both had.  It was fun hearing about her other marathons and her experiences running.  The running community is so great about sharing and helping each other out!  

Once we got off the buses, it was COLD!  I got in the porta potty line so that I could go through twice and it probably looked like I was doing a potty dance I learned from Logan, but I was really just trying to stay warm.  That was a long line of potties!

There were fire pits to keep people warm.  Everyone was doing something different to occupy the time.  Some were running up and down the road trying to warm up.  Some were getting stretched out on the table, other were eating, but it was so fun to just see what everyone was doing.  

When we finally got started, I was once again just amazed by the amount of people there!  It's interesting to see what everyone is carrying on them and what they're wearing.  Maybe Janzen is right, it's just a big fashion show.  

The canyon was very cold, but so beautiful!  It really is one of the most gorgeous runs I've ever been on!  The river was sure running!  Guess all that snow is finally starting to melt!  I left my i pod out for the first 5 miles or so and just took in all the scenery and tried to pace myself.  I really didn't want to go out hard and regret it later.  I still ended up doing the first mile in about 9:40, so I slowed down.  It took about 4 miles, but I settled in and did between 10:15 and 10:20 miles up until the halfway point.  I had certain phrases in my mind that I repeated over and over from the temple the night before and I planned on them getting me through.  

Really, does it get much better than this?  It was so beautiful and the temperature finally warmed up so that my hands weren't frozen!  There was a cool breeze going that constantly kept me feeling good.  Just before the halfway point, there was a nice little crowd and cute little girls giving high fives as we ran by.  There were also some cute signs.  My favorite was "Any idiot can run, it takes a special kind of idiot to run a marathon!" and "Toenails are overrated!"
I also saw a policeman get hit by a big truck and a trailer as he was directing traffic.  He was really lucky and could have been killed.  Luckily, he was able to catch himself from being hit twice and was o.k.

Right before the halfway point I got a jolt of adrenaline and had to really control myself because I knew I'd be seeing Jodi soon!  In fact as soon as I could spot her I screamed out her name before she could even hear me and the runner in front of me laughed.  I just couldn't help it!  I was waving my arms and it was fun to see her spot me!  Julie had brought her up to the start line and waited there with her.  What a great friend especially since it was on her birthday!!!

It was so fun running together.  We were doing a conservative pace especially on the big hill and it was fun to talk and enjoy the beautiful scenery.  About mile 18 my stomach started to not feel so good.  I just pushed on through but felt very off.  As we progressed my stomach just got worse and I was feeling very nauseous.  It had started to heat up, but it didn't feel like it was overwhelmingly hot.  I had been drinking at every drink stop, but didn't do any gels.  That may have been a mistake, but I figured as long as I was still drinking my Accellerade I'd be fine.  The worse my stomach got the less I wanted to drink.  I got double side aches which made it really hard to run through and then I started getting the chills.  

By about mile 21 or 22 (I really lost track of where we were) I got big goosebumps and the chills and then started feeling lightheaded.  Jodi kept encouraging me and kept me going.  But the last few miles I couldn't do anything by walk and even then I had to just stop a few times and crouch down to try to relieve my stomach pain.  I thought if I could just throw up I'd feel better.  Good thing I didn't because I would really have gotten dehydrated.  I could feel despair creeping in.  I didn't want to go back to the place I was in Salt Lake.  So I tried using my phrases that I used at the beginning.  But as my brain was not functioning, I couldn't string together the words to make the sentence, "Run and not be weary, walk and not faint."  It just wouldn't come no matter how many times I tried rephrasing it.  I knew I was ruining Jodi's first 1/2 marathon and that was overtaking my thoughts more than thinking about my time.  I was really doubting myself and my faith and had decided that I just wasn't made to run a marathon.  Jodi kept talking me through, taking me to happy places, like the beach and kept reminding me to do Lamaze breathing.  I was having trouble breathing the last 3 miles.  I felt short of breath and was in so much pain.  There were times that the only thought I had in my mind was that with every step I took, I was that much closer to the finish line.  At the last aid station a really nice volunteer came to help me.  She could see I was not doing well and had me lean over and she poured cold water all over my neck.  It felt so good.  I had a couple of orange slices and felt a tiny bit better.  We ran the last couple of blocks to finish and it was very bittersweet.  I was so glad to be done, but so disappointed that I had done poorly again.    

Reflecting back, I am just so glad I was able to finish.  I am so glad Jodi was there to help me.  I really don't know what would have happened if she wouldn't have been there to help me.  There was a beautiful spot of grass in the park during the last few miles that was begging me to go lay down on it and just never get up.  If she wouldn't have been there I just may have taken it up on the offer.  My doc (Jodi's hubby) was there at the finish line and thought I may have been going into shock.  I really think I had a bad case of heat stroke and just didn't catch it in time before I started feeling really bad.  I should have been dumping cold water all over myself when I first felt it starting to warm up.  After that point I didn't feel hot at all and felt like I had the flu.  I think I got past the point of feeling it.  We really haven't had any hot days of training and I think it was a shock to my body.  It was 85 degrees, the hottest day of the year so far.  

So the question is:  Now what?  At the time I was ready to give up on running a marathon ever again, thinking that I was just not made to do it.  It's been kind of a cry fest over here the past few days.  Mostly feeling bad about Jodi.  I should never try and run with someone in a race.  I need to just do my own race and let them do their own.  I also think that running a marathon 4 weeks before as part of training wasn't so good.  I need to stick to the training schedule and not do over 20 miles.  Maybe after the full training is in then it would be possible to do another one close together.  But I probably need to do more long runs to get my body used to the distance more.  I also need to take it easy when I'm supposed to.  In reflecting, I don't think I do very many easy runs.  I like to push it, but I don't think it's good for me or makes me a better runner.  Maybe I shouldn't have done 16 miles the Saturday before.  Or maybe none of that really makes that much of a difference.  Maybe I just need to accept my limitations and realize that everyone has limitations and can't do everything they would like to do.  I don't know.  It's been a hard couple of days and I'm sure it will work itself out.  For now, I've been walking a mile or two each night.  There is one good thing:  I'm just barely sore.  I can't believe how GOOD I feel.  And I'm still excited to run.  That in itself is a miracle.  So who knows, there may be another marathon for me after all.  Like they say, "It takes a special kind of idiot!"  Maybe that idiot is me!


Tall Girl Running said...

You weren't the only one who struggled out there that day, Jen. It was a tough course on a tough day to be running at all... let alone 26.2 miles. Don't let yourself feel too discouraged. We can second guess things we might have done wrong 'til the cows come home, but in the end, it just wasn't our day. To have finished the race anyway in the face of such adversity is what makes us marathoners... not just the fact we ran 26.2 miles.

On a side note, I think I might've seen you and your friend during the last few miles on the course (although I didn't realize it at the time). I was terribly delirious then, but you both look familiar. :-) Also, it was my family holding the signs on the course that caught your attention. We'd made them together the night before in the hotel room. I'm glad you enjoyed them!

Chin up... you're a marathoner again!

Lindsay said...

I loved reading your story. You are amazing for finishing, I admire you for sticking it out and finishing. Shows how strong and determined you are. Thanks for your nice words of encouragment about my crappy day. It really helps. Also, what is the "Lamaze Breathing" your friend was telling you to do? I am trying to figure out my breathing while running. Thanks and Congrats again!!

Michael said...

Jen, I wrote the following in my family blog last year. I'm hoping the words will ring true with you and help you come to grips with what you have just accomplished. Think of the accomplishment, not the disappointment. Man, you just ran two marathons back-to-back... how amazing is that! Any how, chin up, don't plan the next one just yet :>) Michael

Dear all,
Yesterday I ran a marathon. It was the hardest thing I have ever accomplished in my entire life. The “exit with dignity” signs were calling my name at about mile 22 and every mile thereafter. It seemed so easy and inviting, two words, “exit”, “dignity”. I was holding the vomit in my stomach from mile 24 to finish. My legs were dead weight. I drew from deep in the well. I went to places in my mind I did not know existed. The desire to walk in the last mile was overwhelming. I was cognizant of my time. I needed to beat 4:30; it was my goal set 18 weeks previous in the dead of winter. I pursued. I heard the drummers. I heard the cheering. I heard my name announced. I was out of body. I pumped it up on the blue track. I saw the line and the buddies cheering. I pumped it up more. I crossed the line.
I - Crossed - The - Line.

Thank you Max for the simply incredible playlist. It motivated me and made me think of what a wonderful, and caring son I have in you. It reminded me that success is not measured in increments of money, but rather degrees of love and pleasure with which we bring one another. This is life. This is family. This is success.

Thank you Jennifer for nurturing me (spoiling me) with hot meals late into the evening. Coming home from training runs at 8PM and finding a table with hot food and a loving family waiting is a pleasure like no other. This house has a foundation of love strong like granite. You work hard to help me achieve my goals. I am indebted to you always.

Thank you Laura for convincing me years ago that I am capable of running a marathon. At the time I scoffed, but your words enabled me to take some baby steps. You gave me the confidence to try and for that I am eternally grateful.

As I was recouping on the couch yesterday evening I received an email from Miranda. It included these words:

He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.
~Clarence Budington Kelland

Thank you Miranda. It seemed fitting and made me think of the role models in my life and the role I play for my son, my nephews, and my nieces.

Cheers, Michael

anna jo said...

jen, you just ran two marathons within a month of each other. that alone is more accomplishment than most ever attempt! you should feel very proud.

and we all have off days. we can't gage our success by them. we just need to learn the lessons so we can apply them to the next go around.

and it sounds like there will be a next go around for you. you're still excited to run. that's the most important thing.

I am so happy for you and your accomplishments! you are a runner. and you are a marathoner. now go out there and do amazing things!

ps. I've been dying to hear how your ogden experience went... my fargo race report is coming soon...

Jodi said...

And here I thought I already left a comment! Who is the delirious one?

I can only echo what the others have said. You ran a flippin' marathon and there is ONLY room for a feeling of accomplishment just in that alone. You need to just relish in the fact that you finished and how many people can say that???? Not many! Focus on the good of the day and erase totally the bad. You will have a better experience in the future. Just don't even go there yet. Focus on THIS one and the good that came from it. I just want you to know you are an amazing person. Most would have quit and thrown in the towel, but not you! You are an inspiration!