You know when you run a good race and you can't wait to get home and post a report to all your running buddies while its fresh in your mind. You want to list all the things you did right so you can remember to do those things again. We form little pre-run rituals, chants in our heads to repeat on hard parts of the course, only wear certain socks or a certain outfit to guarantee success. All those things have been thrown out the window for me this year.
I got a bad strep infection on my skin in March throwing me out running the Shamrockin' in Sacramento. Heavy and long term antibiotics stripped my strength and my speed and its been a long time coming to get it back. Whiskeytown Relay last month was hard and I didn't realize I had some sort of virus when I ran it. I was in bed for the next 3 days.
Nike was something I was so looking forward to. The hills were going to be my weak point but if I slowed down on them and kept a good steady pace the rest I would be OK. That didn't happen. The start line was warm. 30,000 or so people (mostly women) crammed into Union Sq early Sunday morning was a telling tale from the beginning. Although it only took us just over 4 minutes to cross the start line it was pretty crowded. I got hot fast and my long sleeve shirt came off before mile two. I was running in my tights, compression socks, sports bra with my other shirt around my waist. That shirt was SOAKED and my pants were so sweaty that my waist belt kept moving around. We hit the first big hill by Chrissy Field up to the Presidio and the wind started blowing. It was really cold and the fog was hanging around. All of the sudden I was freezing. At mile 6.4 I put my long sleeve shirt back on on the way up the first long hill. It was still damp and made me colder. I started to shake and just wanted to be done.
At mile 6.7 my stomach started knotting and I got sick on the side of the road. Not a pretty site I tell you. I had a really hard time getting my legs moving again. Everything was cramping up. On the way down the hill (that same hill we walk up the first day of the Avon Walk before the rest stop at the Presidio for those of you who have walked it before) I thought I could get my legs motivated but found that my regular low 8's were no where to be found. I had a hard time maintaining 9:30's. We came out back into the city and it warmed up some but another hill was in front of us and more cold wind. I had to stop and walk a few times here and was nauseous every time I drank any water. My tummy had had enough and revolted against me again but this time just puking water was easier than the first time. I was cold again and at the next aid station I found someone with a space blanket. I sat down for a few minutes and waited for my lips not to be so blue.
I struggled here. I can't lie and tell you that I just got up and ran for the finish. I really balanced my idea on whether I should quit right there or not. I cried a little and it felt like a hundred years when looking back it was under 4 minutes of contemplation. I really didn't want to leave my friends behind. I really didn't want to get a DNF. I already have a DNS on my record from March. I really really really wanted that Tiffany Necklace from the hot Firefighters in tuxedo's at the finish line but that was still 5 miles away. For two miles I walk/jogged with the space blanket around my body. I stopped and took pictures, I motivated another lady to keep going by walking/jogging with her until she could go off on her own. I enjoyed the rest of the run... or tried to. Those last three miles were the longest ever. I don't even hardly remember them. I just thought about being done. I was crying when I crossed the line... by then it was out of disappointment and just thankful I was done. I caught up with the girls and cried a little more then. We had to round up our clothes which ended up not being so easy but we got back to the hotel, showered, packed and ate lunch at this cute little bistro/cafe downstairs. I got my necklace and I finished the race but it wasn't pretty.
I love my friends. They say that I more than EARNED that Tiffany Necklace after the race I had. I don't believe that so much since they ROCKED it but I do believe that I am super lucky to have friends who try so hard to make this race easier to swallow. CIM better rock.