Olivia's Marathon Misadventures

Monday, May 01, 2006

Stubborn Mule, Or How I Ran A Half Marathon With The Flu

(ok, RR is totally wearing make-up! I could barely drag myself out of bed!)

The planning of this post has been fairly long. I didn't know, really, the story I wanted to tell. Was it going to be optimistic? Or pessimistic? I try to let the story tell itself and my attitude usually comes through to give the facts some color. So in this case, I will let my ambivalence about the run be known and my successes or failures stand on their own. Now, folks are going to say, "You finished! That's a success!" and it is, but this is also sad story that takes away from a big win in my book.

Friday, I was so excited about the race! I had finally gotten over being bummed out about not doing the full (and was WAAAAAY ok with it) and I was going around work telling everyone to look for me on TV! I hit the expo and signed up for the 2 hour corral, aka number 7 (ok, I knew that wasn't going to be my time, but I didn't want to have to weave in and out of people - I DIDN'T know that it would be a mob scene!!) - it was cool! Running Skirts had a booth there and it was STRANGE because I thought this trend was something that existed only in the blogosphere vacuum (here and here and here). WRONG. Not only was there a booth at the expo, but I saw a bunch of girls wearing them during the race!!! Weird...I didn't think the blog world and the real world actually intersected.

When I got back to work, I wasn't feeling too hot. But I figured it was stress and hunger. I ate my lunch and my life went downhill fast from there. Vomit! Fever! Aches! The trifecta of terrible-ness! I was up all night fighting the fever and nausea. I finally fell asleep around 4a. FOUR IN THE MORNING. I wouldn't have heard my alarm, but somehow I heard my phone ring. A good friend called to see if I was up. Good thing too! Checked my temp: 99...well it was down from the day before, so I decided it was go time. Got dressed, washed my face, got dressed, and tried to eat (unsuccessfully), and tried to drink pedialyte (quasi-successfully) and headed towards Centennial Park. It was a great morning for running, the temp was cool, a little humidity, no glaring sun - perfect!

We got to Centennial Park and, MAN, I wish Boyfriend would have taken some pictures of the masses of humanity. I clearly was out of my mind, so photography wasn't a priority. Lines for port-a-potties were miles long; runners were getting massages, drinking coffee; camera crews were everywhere; news helicopters circled overhead! I was shocked at my busy West End Avenue buzzing with humans instead of cars!! Frankly, I liked it. The energy in the air was palpable. I think I must have been drafting off of others mojo because I didn't have a drop of my own to sustain me. I was dry, dry, dry and couldn't even go to the potty. But by-golly I sure as hell was going to run this half marathon.

I finally found some of our running group and we slowly assembled. I was pretty sure I could do this run. I mean, heck, I ran 14 miles hung over at Grassland (I am not even going to link you to that). Somehow, we got organized into our corral, somewhere I kissed Boyfriend good-bye, someway we found ourselves shivering with anticipation of the starting shot. The national anthem was sung, that always makes me teary-eyed, and the race began - in waves. The wave start was not anti-climatic at all, unlike my assumption. Finally, corral 7, "GO!" ARGH! I was being trampled! RR was running so fast! It felt like we were running for our lives! It seemed like there were a ga-zillion people in front of us, but when I looked back - YIKES! - more were coming (18 corrals more), like a tsunami wave of people coming to trample me!

Mile 1, 9:40 - whoa! Mile 2, 9:50 - whoa! Mile 3, 10:0-something - CRAP! Mile 4 - barf. Literally. No food, no water, no potty and I could still vomit. I was seeing stars and wasn't sweating. I sent RR packing and told her to save herself. Seriously, I do not think I was sick because of the fast start. I was sick because I was sick. So I walked and then ran until I felt queasy and then would walk again. I ran into my fans right about that time. But in my book: NO STOPPING! NO TALKING! AND NO F'ING POWERADE!!! Powerade made things worse - too much sugar. Water was only ok.

As I was struggling down Belmont, my buddy who had called me that morning passed me (with his cute wife and one of his [very] cute brothers). He asked how my knees were...Fine thank you, better than my tummy. "Didya go out drinking last night?!" I could have put my Saucony right up his ass. And I would have, but I was starting to have serious legs cramps - which must have been the dehydration rearing its shriveled head. Never have I ever felt my quads cramp up until this day. What a unique feeling. If I ever feel it again, I might have to stab myself.

We rounded Clifton - happily this route was familiar. The familiarity was the most comforting thing - considering the hecklers on the sidelines.

"I wouldn't even sign up for this if I couldn't run it" --> I was walking at this point.
"Here have some OJ" --> spiked with Jack Daniels.

Some poor, good runner grabbed a cup of OJ from this Vols loving douche bag (this is not hate on the VOLS, in fact, I doubt this guy even went to college) and got a shot of JD as a freebee. Gross. Poor guy. It wasn't even 8 in the morning. I was so discouraged to see all these people passing me. People from corral 10 ran past, corral 11, corral 15...[sigh] All this work for nuthin'. My shoulders ached and my eyes were pounding. I didn't want to pout and cry in front of all of these strangers so I kept going, mostly walking, but running when I felt my ego stab me.

I don't remember it very well, but after trying to run some more, I got sick again! AGAIN! SERIOUSLY?! I mean, what is left inside there? Mile 6, I am for sure walking at this point. Mile 7, I walk over to where my fans were camped out. Sick, tired, delirious, I asked for an IV. I was offered a mimosa. Hm. I realized things must be bad when a voice turned it down, the voice was my own. O'Hizzy mentioned that there was a medic station 15 feet away...how did that escape my ever darkening view?! I wobbled over to the medic station and explained that I had been vomiting and was probably dehydrated. Asking for an IV, they simply offered me a cot. I accepted. Boyfriend and Mr. Medic Man exchanged worried glances.

[to be continued...]

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