Half Marathon #4 Race Recap

by Danica on August 26, 2013

It’s Monday evening, and I’m just now feeling like I can sit down and write a recap of this race.  It just wasn’t a great experience and I already received a few (negative) judgmental comments just on my post yesterday.  But this blog is kind of like my scrapbook, and even though this wasn’t a great experience, I want to remember it anyway – I want to learn what I can from it and grow from it.

I also want you to know that I’m proud of this race.  Though it wasn’t what I’d hoped, my time was still great and I’m so thankful I can run.  So while this post may seem like a big complaint, I don’t intend for it to.  I’m just honestly sharing my experience.

*****

On Friday, I made sure to eat my regular “carb-loading” diet I have each pre-race day, plus eliminated dessert-like foods and drank even more water than on a “normal” day.

I got a decent night’s sleep – about 7 hours – so not necessarily ideal but enough.

On Saturday morning, I ate the same breakfast I’ve eaten before every other race: 2 slices of whole-wheat toast topped with peanut butter, cinnamon, chia seeds, and banana slices, plus the rest of the banana on the side.

pre race breakfast

The race started at 7:30a.m. – before I knew it, we were off!

half starters

half marathon 4 start

It rained for the first 2-3 miles, which was fine.  I was just so glad the sun wasn’t shining on us yet!  I did, however, start to rethink my decision to wear a white tank top…

half marathon start

I felt really good the first 4 miles.

Gotta love running pictures, right? :)

half marathon 4 running

Around mile 4.5, I got a terrible stomachache.  You know that “joke” about marathoners pooping their pants?  Well, I didn’t (thank God) but I certainly felt like I was going to (tmi??).  That has never happened to me before – not in a race, not in a training run.  Whoofta.  It caused me to walk a couple of times in that 5th mile.

running half marathon 4

By this point, once the stomachache was hone, I was past the one hill (this course was awesome!), and heading into the 6th mile.  My stomachache was gone and I was feeling alright!  I picked up my pace just a bit but was still careful because I didn’t want to risk upsetting my stomach again.

running half marathon 4 water

As I was approaching this water station, the woman looked at me and said, “Water!  You look like you could use some!”  Um, well, that didn’t sound particularly polite but you’re right, lady!

This is where I accepted the fact that this was not going to be a PR race.

Miles 6 – 10 were okay.  My legs felt extremely tired and my body was just dragging, but my time was still alright.  During this time I was reminding myself “Mind over matter, Danica!  Mind over matter.”   Plus I was repeating each of my favorite running mantras to myself.

half marathon 4 water break

In the 11th mile, I felt like I had just hit the wall…another race-running cliche term that I experienced here for the very first time.  I was stopping for sips of water at each station (though there were only a few on the course), and I decided to walk and eat the raisins I had with me.  I could only eat a small portion of what I brought before my stomachache came back.  Whoo. hoo.  I jogged this mile slowly, as you can see below.

From the mile 12 marker on I just did my best to take whatever I had left all the way to the finish line.  I felt awful, but I didn’t quit.  I listened to this song on repeat for the last mile and a half.  I tried to remind myself that I’d made it too far to just stop now – I owed it to myself to keep going!

finish line half marathon 4

Chip Time = 1:51:06 

This is where it got really fun…

Usually a big smile comes across my face as I cross the finish line…not on Saturday…

As soon as I started to slow down, my legs started to buckle and I had this huge rushing feeling come to my head.  I was extremely dizzy/light-headed.  Two of the medical team members immediately grabbed my arms and brought me right to the medical tent.

half marathon 4 medical tent

and my husband snapped pictures of the whole thing. #husbandofablogger

I was told to lay down on the bed/mat thing.  They took my vitals and pricked my finger to make sure my blood sugar levels were okay, which they were.  I told them I just needed water and food (I though this seemed obvious haha), so one of them went to get that while the other 2 packed ice bags all around me.  The ice felt fantastic and soon I felt well enough to sit up and eat/drink.  Once I drank some water and ate half a banana plus a few salty chips I felt fine.
I stood up, walked around (I had to go get all the food I could carry from the finishing zone, of course – everyone else does this too right?), and then took some pictures with my family.

half marathon 4 with jesse

It was such a bad feeling – I was more embarrassed than anything – but I had a smile on my face by this point.  I just figured – so it wasn’t a great race, but you still ran 13.1 13.28 miles!  And it may not have been your best time, but it was still a great time!

post race with mil and bil

This was a really small race (just 296 participants), but it was still cool to see these stats:
31 out of 137 females
3rd in my age division – fun!
and 103rd overall

splits:

mile 1
8:00

mile 2
7:53

mile 3
8:21

mile 4
8:15

mile 5
8:40

mile 6
8:09

mile 7
8:19

mile 8
8:22

mile 9
8:26

mile 10
8:23

mile 11
9:10

mile 12
8:38

mile 13
8:16

last .28
7:32

Average Pace was about 8:21/mile

Half Marathon #4 Finisher

Official Time = 1:51:06

******

post-race meal  :)

post half marathon meal

made in-house quinoa/mushroom/veggie burger with mozzarella and sweet potato fries on the side, plus some nachos before this plate came out…I was so hungry and this whole meal was fantastic.  I want it again, asap.

Unfortunately, I then spent from about 3:30 – 9p.m. sick in my bed  :(  I ended up getting a terrible migraine (the kind where you’re so nauseous you nearly puke, your head feels like your brain is trying to escape out of your eye sockets, any light makes you want to bury your head under the covers for the rest of your life, and you’re praying nonstop for healing plus crying out of pain.  UGH.)   The stress my body went through that morning was the trigger, I’m sure.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Saturday was one heck of a rough day.

I don’t know what I did wrong.  I don’t understand why this all happened.

I believe that my body was trying to tell me something.  I don’t know what exactly, but I have a few ideas and I’m experimenting with some changes already.
I’m still recovering from the migraine and just feel so dumpy about the whole deal.
I don’t think it’s fair to blame myself (especially since I don’t know what I should’ve done differently), but I’m certainly going to have to change something.

*****

Thanks to every one of you for your well wishes this past weekend.  Whether it was on my instagram picture of my crackers and soda sick person dinner, tweets of good luck, a text, a hug, or kind words after hearing it didn’t go as I’d hoped, thank you <3

m4s0n501

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Courtney @ Don't Blink. Just Run. August 26, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Wow, sounds like a tough day! Great job on finishing though!
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2 Danica August 28, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Thanks, Courtney – I knew that not finishing really couldn’t be an option!

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3 Laura @losingrace August 26, 2013 at 8:21 pm

You fought through it all and still had a great race, congrats on half marathon #4! I love that you are smiling in the race photos, nothing like a happy runner even when things are not so great! :)

Here’s what I can tell you, races like this happen. Your body may have been trying to tell you something, or you seriously just could have had a bad day and need some rest. I know it’s a crappy feeling (I’ve been there) but don’t beat yourself up. You are an active, healthy person and should be proud of yourself. I also don’t think that anyone has ANY right to leave negative comments or give you reason to doubt yourself. If YOU feel you need to make changes then by all means give it a go, but don’t let naysayers have an overbearing influence. You make smart healthy decisions daily- and you have to have faith that you know what’s best for you.
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4 Danica August 28, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Thank you so so much for this comment, Laura. Just what I needed to hear!! <3

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5 kendra August 26, 2013 at 9:10 pm

oh man, that sounds awful. i’m so sorry your body reacted the way it did. i’m still impressed by your time though. you still rocked it. but the dizzy thing at the end? hmmm, anemic? whatever it may be i hope you are able to get it figured out.
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6 Danica August 28, 2013 at 12:15 pm

Yeah I’m still not sure exactly what caused it, but I’m sure the nasty humidity didn’t help any. Hopefully I’ll be able to prevent it from happening ever again!

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7 Melinda Buss August 26, 2013 at 10:10 pm

My dearest girl,
I watched you run this race. You are an amazing woman! If you hear one negative comment, I want you to tell me who so I can beat em up for you! You did everything that has worked for you in the past. Things that go differently than we plan and intend are great opportunities to learn more about ourselves. I’m confident that you will find answers. In the meantime, CELEBRATE! You ran 14.2 (stinking) 8 miles, in one day, at one time, in One Race! THAT IS AMAZING!
With much love, admiration and total support, your favorite MIL :)

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8 Danica August 28, 2013 at 12:16 pm

you’re the best :)

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9 Alyssa @ See This Girl Run August 27, 2013 at 12:18 am

Poor Danica :( Girl, you still ran a great race!! That time is amazing! What is your PR?? Sorry you felt sick and got a migraine though. That’s no fun. At least these kind of races don’t happen very often. Now you can only go up :)
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10 Danica August 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm

My PR (from my third half in May) is 1:45:19!
I’m hoping I can come back from this and PR in October :)

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11 Alyssa @ See This Girl Run August 28, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Wow that’s awesome! You are speedy! If you can get that on a “bad” race, you can totally PR by October :)
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12 Danica August 29, 2013 at 7:33 am

haha thanks Alyssa, I hope so :)

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13 Jamie August 27, 2013 at 5:07 am

you did AWESOME! I know it kind of stinks when you don’t get the time that you wanted, but just remember, there is always the next race :)
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14 Danica August 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Absolutely. Thanks, Jamie!

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15 Rachel @ Undercover Diva: A Sitcom August 27, 2013 at 6:20 am

It sounds like such a tough day, but it seems like you have such a positive attitude about the entire thing. I hope you feel 100% in the near future! Good luck figuring out what went wrong! And congratulations :) You still rocked it.
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16 Danica August 28, 2013 at 12:17 pm

Thanks so much, Rachel :)

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17 Jessie August 27, 2013 at 6:47 am

Danica, first and foremost never and i mean never listen to critics. You ran that race with not only mental toughness but with heart. The fact that you never gave up just shows what a strong person and runner you are. Sure you may not of PR’d, but there will be another race. For now, concentrate on your health and take it easy for a couple days or even a week :) Proud of you, hunnie

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18 Melinda August 27, 2013 at 10:05 am

AMEN!

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19 Danica August 28, 2013 at 12:19 pm

ah! I don’t even know what to say…thank you so so much…you’re absolute right – as much as I love feedback from my readers/friends/blends, I can’t take the negativity to heart because I’m doing the best that I can!
And yes, this week is definitely a full rest WEEK. I can tell my body needs it and I’m making of major point of listening to it!

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20 Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat August 27, 2013 at 8:20 am

Wow…what an experience! I’m super happy and proud of you that you got through it and finished despite not feeling well! I think that is truly amazing and shows a great deal of perseverance and determination. Again, congrats!

Also, I’m sorry to hear that you got some negative comments. People can just be so inconsiderate sometimes.
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21 Danica August 28, 2013 at 12:20 pm

I know – I mean, I love feedback from readers, suggestions, advice, etc. but the negativity just isn’t necessary.
Thanks, Holly :)

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22 Emily @ Perfection Isn't Happy August 27, 2013 at 9:02 am

Your time was still amazing! Congrats, again, on finishing!

I’ve never had that sick feeling from running, but I passed out twice a few years ago when I was really into HIIT workouts. I didn’t realize my workouts were triggering it at the time, but I went to the doctor, and apparently, my low blood pressure doesn’t like those types of workouts, because I get too overheated too quickly. It’s definitely a scary feeling!
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23 Danica August 28, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Yikes! That would be really scary – I felt like I was going to pass out (I think, I’ve never actually passed out before), but I’m so thankful I didn’t, of course!

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24 Melissa @ Freeing Imperfections August 27, 2013 at 11:46 am

Thanks for sharing this honestly, Danica. I am so sorry that this race was the pits. Seriously, all of that the stomachache, hitting the wall, and the after-affects… I am sorry you had to go through that and on a day that you were probably expecting a lot of good things to happen!

I am so glad you shared this from a real perspective, though. My last half marathon was something like this. I was expecting it to be a PR, thought it was going to be no problem, and it was the worst race I’ve ever had. I had a hard time blogging about it because most race recaps are happy. And I hate being a downer. But really, it sucked big time. I also hit the wall and then felt HORRIBLE after. I didn’t go to a med tent, probably because I ate and drank like a minute after crossing the finish. I feel like I know why it happened (not prepping right the week/night before, not enough sleep, what I ate, etc.) I’m glad to hear that you have some ideas why it happened for you too.
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25 Danica August 28, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Yes! That’s exactly how I felt in terms of blogging about this race – race recaps are usually so exciting but I just couldn’t act like I was in love with this race, you know? Just had to be honest :)
Here’s to hoping I overcome it and do much better at the next one!

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26 Stacey M. August 27, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Amazing that even with everything that happened, you were still able to run a very good race. I mean an average 8:21 per mile? That’s fantastic! I know you put your all into your runs and preparing for this race was no different, so you can’t really put the blame on yourself for not doing as well as you had hoped or expected. Just revel in the fact that you did accomplish this half, which is not something most people can do. And, I hope you take it a little easier the rest of the week to recoup and regain your strength. After all, you DESERVE it!

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27 Lindsay @ Lindsay Weighs In August 27, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Congratulations on your 4th half-marathon! I’m sorry you didn’t have a better race, but you still finished :) P.S. your post race meal looks amazing!
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28 Danica August 28, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Thanks, Lindsay!! :)

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29 Katie @ running4cupcakes August 27, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Man, what a tough race. I totally know that stomache ache feeling and it is not fun! I ran the whole second half of my last marathon with that feeling! Good for you for not giving up and powering through – you are stronger because of it! And that post-race meal looks perfect. :)
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30 Danica August 28, 2013 at 12:24 pm

The whole 2nd half?! ugh. Congrats to you for finishing that!
Have you run a race since then?? I’m already nervous about running another race for fear that this could happen again…any tips for overcoming that anxiety?

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31 Lauren August 27, 2013 at 4:23 pm

UGH. I can relate to stomach issues during a race. My first one was the Broad Street 10 mile run and I ended up having to use the bathroom 6 times (!!!) throughout the race! Yeah, terrible. What do you think was the cause of it?? I hope you’re feeling better and, hey, you finished!

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32 Danica August 28, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Oh no! That does sound terrible :( Have you raced since then?? I have anxiety already about the next race ending up like this – any advice for overcoming that?

I really don’t know what was the cause of it, which is certainly the most frustrating part of it.

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33 Lauren August 28, 2013 at 12:28 pm

It sounds like you might have had a severe case of dehydration especially since you had some tummy troubles. Did you drink enough water the day before the race? The way I overcame it was adjusting what I ate before my race. I had oatmeal for dinner the night before which was digesting during my race because of all the fiber. I stuck to macaroni and cheese for my half marathon and did MUCH better. In fact, NO potty breaks :D
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34 Danica August 29, 2013 at 7:36 am

Yeah I drank a LOT of extra water the day before. I’m actually wondering if I don’t have enough sodium in my diet? Maybe all that water I’m drinking isn’t “sticking to me” ? Something I plan to experiment with…
I had homemade (cheeseless) pizza the night before – it was the exact same thing I had before my race in May, which I PR’d in, so I don’t think that was the problem?

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35 Lauren August 29, 2013 at 10:25 am

You could try getting some kind of sodium tablet to take before the next race and see how it goes! I always drink one Zero PowerAde every day because of the sodium. I do feel like it makes a difference but maybe it’s in my head :-P
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36 Jen Teichroew August 27, 2013 at 10:01 pm

So proud of you for doing and finishing the race, even if it was not your best time, you did it! You are such an inspiration, So sorry you have been feeling sick, hope you are back to normal very soon! sending hugs!

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37 Danica August 28, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Thanks, Jen!

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