Mr. Poy never gave up, and neither will I, despite my DNF (did not finish) this past weekend.
My piriformis was bothering me for the past few weeks, as in aching even when I wasn’t running. It seemed to be worse when I was sitting. But I was determined to run this thing despite being slightly undertrained. I decided I was going to run through the pain. And then . . . on Tuesday I came down with either food poisoning or the flu or something. I was completely drained and wasn’t able to keep anything down except Gatorade and Pedialyte.
The rest of the week I felt very weak, I wasn’t able to eat much nor drink much. Which was a bummer because I was in California for a work trip. I wondered if I was going to make it to the starting line at all. I processed through those emotions. I’ve worked so hard for so long for this.
Friday I flew to Tucson to meet up with DH. On Saturday we went to the top of Mt Lemmon and although I wasn’t having stomach cramps any longer, I wasn’t able to get much food or water down. I decided to give it a go anyway and take in as much water and Nuun as I could on the course.
Marathon morning came and I was not feeling crampy, yay! We boarded the bus from the hotel and rode to the starting line. We had been told that it would be cold at the starting line, and it was! Not Michigan cold, but I was glad that I had an old sweatshirt with me. It was very windy at the top of the hill. I was hoping for a five and a half hour time (the cutoff was six) so I lined up at the back of the pack and kissed DH as he headed towards the front. I was surprised that it seemed like there were so few runners.
I had been told that the route was all downhill, but this turned out to be a lie. It had a number of rollers with an overall downhill slope. Around mile 2 I ditched the sweatshirt and donned my sunglasses. A coyote the size of a German Shepherd ran across the road in front of me. I could feel it was going to be good day. Except . . . I was so thirsty.
There were a good number of aid stations, but little crowd support otherwise. I made sure to take a glass of Gatorade or water at each one. In between I sipped on my Nuun. It was quickly gone, so I started asking the aid stations to refill it.
The sun blazed hotter and hotter (at least that’s what it seemed like for this Michigander!) and it was so very dry. It seemed like no matter how much I drank (remember, I have a bariatric sized stomach so I can’t take in much more than a couple of swallows at a time) I was still thirsty.
A number of people asked me who Mr. Poy was. It was fun explaining the story and gave me motivation to keep going. Micarulously, my piriformis wasn’t bothering me at all.
Around mile 9, though, it started to worry me that there was a tightness in my chest. Not from running too hard, but it’s a symptom for me of dehydration. It was then that I thought I might be in trouble. I kept drinking as much as I could, but by the time I got to mile 11 I realized that I was starting to get dizzy and lightheaded and that I really should call it quits at the halfway mark.
I didn’t want to. I mean, a DNF sucks! Mr. Poy never gave up, but I was going to! Worst of all, I wouldn’t even get a medal for doing half the marathon because I ran the wrong half haha. What would DH think? What would all of my readers think? But as I continued to feel lightheaded, and the sun continued to blaze, and I realized that if I continued I would be walking for three hours in the hot, dry, Arizona sun, I knew that if I tried that I would be in the Emergency Room. It wasn’t worth risking my health.
So I asked for a ride back to the starting line at the aid station. My time wasn’t too bad, but I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have finished in time. The sweep was already hovering.
A kind woman and her daughter drove me back to the starting line. I saw DH running towards the end. I was so proud of him. And so disappointed in myself.
And then I remembered that Mr. Poy didn’t succeed the first time. In fact, one of the things that I love about his story is that the first time he tried raising chickens, they all died. But he didn’t give up. And I realized that this race was my first batch of chickens. No one can take away all the training miles that I put in. I decided then and there that I would build my base over the winter and try again.
Just like Mr. Poy.
The marathon saga will continue.
Note: The Tucson Marathon had beautiful desert views. I would recommend this race for someone who is used to running in that climate or hills. There is little crowd support though, and it is a smaller race so the pace groups are small and not reliable so I don’t recommend it for beginners.