I've bonked in a race before. CIM 2005 actually. It was at mile 20 and it was awful. Yesterday, I would not necessarily say I was bonking ... whatever it was though it beat me up physically and mentally.
The weekend started out happy enough. The girls and I were off on Friday for Veteran's Day. We ran a lot of errands together which was nice. Both Squeaker and the Peanut started showing signs of runny noses, hoarse voices and fussiness. I also was starting to feel the twinges of a sore throat and just overall tiredness.
Still smiling even though she is not feeling well.
I tried keeping things low key on Friday which means letting the Peanut watch a little more tv than usual. She did not watch tv all day though. Thursday was Crazy Hat day at school and she spent all day Friday wearing her "crazy hat" that she made which is really just a sparkly "crown."
She put "jewels" on it.
Vans had a soccer game on Friday evening so it was just us girls well into the evening. Talk about an exhausting day but these two were just laughing it up ....
Saturday morning I attempted to go out for a short run to shake the legs out. Due to work issues and a terrible commute ... I basically had 3 treadmill miles on my legs all week long. Not a good thing when you are training for a marathon AND have a 20 miler that weekend. My run on Saturday was okay. Things were achy but it felt good to get outside.
Later that day we went and watched Biceps run the Folsom Point 50K at a spot over near our house. The course ran into the Salmon Falls area which I have never run but looked quite pretty. I might have to go explore that area some time. Regardless it was a mile plus hike in the woods with a 3.5 year old and a 5 month old, both who were sick. That's a recipe for disaster and tears if I ever heard one. Biceps did great though and finished second in her age group!
Vans then took the Peanut to see Grandma while I tried to get Squeaker to take something that resembled a nap. Poor kid cannot breathe out her nose to even settle herself. While she napped however, I also napped. I needed it. I've been burning the candle at both ends and with a sore throat looming I just wanted to rest.
I cannot imagine how Sunday's race would have gone had I not had two naps on Saturday (yes, two mini naps but they were heaven).
I bailed on my plans to stay at a friend's house in Elk Grove because Squeaker was sick and needed me. I ended up waking up quite a bit that night (3 times total) but when I left the house at 7 am I felt okay. Fairly rested and anxious to just get to Clarksburg which is about 45 minutes from the house.
I arrived, parked in a great spot and ventured into the high school to get my race stuff. The porta potty lines were already getting long so I jumped in line. Then I went back to my car to take care of my mommy stuff, change out of my compression socks and into my shoes and basically get focused.
It has been a few years since I have done the Clarksburg Country Run. It is a great race that has a 5K, 10K, Half-Marathon and a 20 Mile (and relay) option. The race falls 3 weeks before CIM which is great because almost everyone doing the 20 miler you can bet is running CIM in three weeks. It is a great training run. If it wasn't for the 20 miles in Clarksburg I probably would not manage a 20 miler before running CIM. It forces me to run at least 20 miles and that is why every time I run CIM, I run Clarksburg.
They changed the starting location from when I ran it last but I didn't mind. It was actually easier. The first few miles I spent shaking out some twinges in my legs but I felt okay. My garmin froze on me before leaving the car and I realized that it had been frozen the entire time it sat in its charger so it started beeping at me at mile 4 that the battery was dying. Somewhere between miles 8 and 9 it died completely which in hind sight, was probably a good thing otherwise I might have died watching how slow my miles were getting as the race moved on.
Yet, miles 1 through 8 were between an 8:30 and 8:40 pace and I felt okay. I even felt okay at mile 10 where you essentially "turn around" and head back. The only downer at that point however was the fact that we (it seemed) were running straight into a head wind. If it wasn't hitting us straight on, it was hitting us from the side. This run is on old country roads that are not evenly paved and very concave making it quite the problem for people who suffer from knee and ankle issues. It also is like a wind tunnel in some areas with the wind just blowing straight across. Brutal.
Around mile 10 though you pass a lot of runners as it is a loop and I saw Miss P and a few Buffalo Chippers out there and that made me smile. Miss P looked super strong.
I, however, was starting to fade. I had taken a gel at mile 8 and then again at mile 13 and was planning on taking my third at mile 18. I also at mile 12 took a salt tab as I started to feel some twinges in my calves and quads. It felt as if at any moment, they would seize up into massive cramps. I have never had this happen in a race but I have seen it happen to many. It does not look pretty. The salt seemed to help a little or maybe it was mental, who knows.
However when I hit mile 14 things started to fall apart. I had taken a gel at 13 and then I also took another salt tab around mile 14 because again, my legs started to cramp ever so slightly. The weather was glorious but it also started getting a tad warm. I had Smart Water in my water bottle that I had been drinking all race. Not sure if that "electrolyte water" is a hoax or not but I figured why not, water is water at least.
I told myself I could have another gel at mile 16 instead of 18 just to play with my head. Mentally I was starting to lose steam. A few girls that I had passed, passed me on this stretch and that deflated me. I was not out there racing anyone, including myself but just being passed no matter what the situation, is rough. Physically, I was shot. Tigger T passed me too some where in this horrible stretch and bless her heart, she yelled "C'mon Trailmomma!" but I was too far gone at that point. I wanted to run fast with her. She looked strong.
Mile 16 I took my gel and walked. I tried so hard not to walk but I did when taking my final gel. Just as I had suspected, it was hard to start again but it was also too painful to walk. I kept going. I just kept telling myself "you can do this, you can do this" and I trudged on. Mile 18 I walked again. I actually took some Gatorade from an aid-station because I was grasping at straws even though I know it was just too late. My legs were d-o-n-e. Mile 19 I took the earphones out of my ears afraid that my play list would repeat one more time. I also thought that if I could hear the crowd, the announcer, anything that it would help propel me to the finish line.
I crossed the finish line at 3:08 with a 9:26 average pace. Ironically, that is the pace my training plan said I should run ... if I was still following my training plan. I have never thrown up from a race before but I was very very close at the end of this race. My legs seized and I just kept moving. I knew if I stopped or sat down, it was bad news. Tigger T found me post race and reminded me that there are going to be many CIM's down the road.
She is right. After yesterday's race I had pretty much decided that I might not run CIM in three weeks. As painful as yesterday was, there was no way I could manage another 6.2 miles without walking most if not all of that. However, I also remember saying this the last time I ran this race ... but my pace was way better in 2009 despite a real injury.
I am sort of in a holding pattern right now. I came home to an unhappy family. The cranky sick kids and the stress of dealing with that was a bit much for Vans. I don't feel like I have much of a support system right now and that my running is not only causing family stress, I am stressed. Running is not fun right now. I have a few big decisions to make about my running future in the next few weeks but I am putting off making anything final until after December 4, 2011 ... the California International Marathon. I realize now that even though I have three weeks until CIM, I need to spend it running even if I am in taper mode.
After the race I stood in our ice cold pool for quite a while to ease off any pending aches and pains. It seemed to help as I am not that sore today. I will probably take today off from running and then try and resume my training hopefully doing a better job than I have this past month. My scratchy throat seems to have returned although it could be because I am constantly surrounded by sick kids....
with lots of snot....