Half Marathon #12 or how to survive a half marathon with a raging virus.
Oh yes, since it seems running truly is a journey for me, and each and every time I go down this half marathon road I seem to find a different challenge, this time it had to be a flu bug. In about 12 hours I went from an expected DNS to a finishers medal. So that counts the same as a PR, right?
But first, let’s back up a bit. One week before the race, I ran the best 12 miles I had ever logged in training. They were on the faster side and I felt great during and after. Except for the fact that I was seriously stuffy, with what I thought (at the time) was just a little cold bug. I seem to pick up a lot of these little bugs thanks to my chronic respritory issues, but normally they just work themselves out. I was feeling well enough for a few shakeout miles on Sunday, but then things started to go downhill and fast. Fast forward to Monday night, when I retreated to the couch, where I would stay, for the NEXT 4 DAYS. Not exactly the pre-race week I had hoped for.
(My diet for pre-race week, hot toddys and soup. Not exactly fueling like an athlete)
When it was time to fly to Florida on Thursday night, I tried to convince myself (and my friends) I was feeling better. But on Friday morning I was clearly still out of it. I honestly don’t remember much about the Expo at all, and I have only fuzzy memories of a trip to Whole Foods that ended with me purchasing the most random set of ingredients EVER that then Noel somehow turned into a great dinner. I continued to feel worse through the day, and in desperation on Friday night swallowed a whole assortment of pills that Nurse Roz gave me. I really thought I was going to not start the race.
(Robyn’s Magic Tea. It got me to the start!)
But somehow, I felt better when the alarm went off at 2.15 the next morning, so I decided to make a go of it. I even had some energy! I went to the corral feeling hopeful that maybe I could put in a decent time, even if I couldn’t hit my original 2 hour goal.
I started off strong with two on pace miles, but quickly faded. Turns out it takes a lot of energy to hold a pace and not eating for a whole week pre-race leaves you with not a lot of energy. By mile 4 I had decided to walk a tenth of every mile and through the water stops, and by mile 9 it was taking all of my will to finish and not peel off at the closest med tent. This was some of the hardest running I had ever done in my life, and I wasn’t even going that fast. I’m not sure that last bit through Epcot has ever felt so long!
I’ll be honest, I have very mixed feelings about this race. On the one hand, I’m happy that I started, and happy that I finished. I’m also happy that completing the race didn’t seem to set me back in my recovery, so I was able to enjoy some of the rest of my vacation. But it’s always disappointing to have a performance that’s less than your best, and in this case, is actually now a personal worst. But, all things considered, I’ll take it. DNS to a finish in 12 hours isn’t too bad!
FU Flu Bug!