Monday, September 15, 2008

Preferred Care Rochester Half Marathon

This was absolutely by far the worst run I have ever had in my life. Seriously. It was even worse than the Barktober Fest 5miler last September in 90 degree temps (with no shade or breeze) where I began to lose control of bodily functions when I crossed the finish! What is going on with these mid summer days in September in Rochester, NY. It is just craziness!

I had a feeling when I stepped outside at 6am yesterday morning that this was going to be a very tough day to run and I was absolutely right! The air was already so heavy and there wasn't a breeze to be found. After picking up my timing chip, I found my friend Diane in the half marathon crowd and we prepared for our sticky and sweaty 13.1 mile journey. The start siren went off at 7:45am and it was just getting warmer. It was still overcast, so we were just dealing with the 3 H's and not the sun beating on us. However, by mile 2 I knew the day was not going to turn out particularly well for me. I was already feeling fatigued and feeling tightness in my chest. I felt really bad because a poor women in front of me actually wiped out on East Ave by Wegman's b/c there was some water on the road from the rain and there was a divot in the pavement. She was OK though, we were not far from the first water stop, so volunteers were at her side almost immediately.

So, I ran for about 5 miles before having to take a walk break. My legs felt so heavy and fatigued for most of the 13.1 miles, so it really was a tough day for me. However, I was so determined to just finish, I pushed through it! My friend Adam and his girlfriend Sara were out there cheering and both times I saw them, I took a little break! The second time I wasn't feeling so hot and it was just before mile 8 maybe or 9, I can't remember. They were standing with a cop and he started asking if I wanted him to call someone to get me off the course and I said absolutely not!! I've come this far, might as well finish the last few miles! Although, my fingers had swollen to the point of looking like that might actually explode and my wedding band was cutting off the circulation to my ring finger! I couldn't even feel the cups they were handing me water in b/c it just felt like little pin pricks on my finger tips. That was definitely not a good sign at all!! At that point I was way way off my pace and basically was just hoping to finish in under 3 hours. I was actually doing a pretty consistent walk/jog and pacing the guy in front of me who was doing the same thing. However, he eventually fell back pretty far as he was visibly struggling and I was left to my own walk/jog schedule.

I think it was just before my mile 9 (fulls mile 22), the officials began to come out and started posting signs to slow down your pace due to high heat risk. I knew that wasn't a good sign at all! So, at that point, I dropped the walk/jog pacing and went with a 'run only in shaded areas' idea. That seemed to make sense to me at that point! Once I got off the canal path though, it was totally open and no shade could be found anywhere. It was miserable! Ugh!!

As I dragged on and kept checking my time, I realized I probably wasn't even going to finish in under 3hrs b/c I couldn't get my legs to run at all! They felt like cement blocks. Seriously, as if I was dragging stones around with me. I have never had that feeling of heaviness. The worst was when my body started shutting down around 11.5 miles. I was really struggling at that point and starting to have real concern about actually finishing....which was starting to piss me off because I was approaching 12 miles and I was so close to the finish!! I decided I had to suck it up and just walk the rest. It was pointless to try and force myself to run. I speed walked for quite a while, occasionally jogging a teeny little bit b/c I was so close to the end!!

It was just before I reached the corner of Frontier Field that I saw Alex walking toward me looking rather concerned! I had told him I would cross between 10:15 and 10:30 and here it was, 11am! He tried to get me to fake a run for a picture, but I just couldn't even muster up that, so he took an absolutely pathetic picture of me just walking. He walked with me until just before the final turn that took me to the finish. I sucked it up just before the corner and ran it in for a good finish! The best part was when Ellen from Fleet Feet was announcing (actually yelling into the microphone) my name and welcoming me to the finish line! Loved it! They put the medal around my neck, took my timing chip off and then I asked which way to medical so I could get some ice or something to bring the swelling down in my hands. Of course, the finish line volunteers were about to drop everything to take me over to make sure I was OK, but I assured them I was good and just needed to get something to bring my body temp down.

My friend Diane also did the race and we started together, but I told her to go ahead after a mile b/c I was already beginning to feel spent. She had an awesome run yesterday, despite the weather! Congrats Diane! Also, her daughter Heather did the full marathon and had a strong finish as well. Congrats Heather!

All in all, as I look back on yesterday's experience, I am happy that I did it and happy that I was able to finish in one piece. My hip held up, only some minor pain yesterday and today, I only had 2 blisters, and I am not terribly sore today! Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who volunteered for the Rochester Marathon yesterday! You all rock!! Without the encouragement and constant checking in to make sure we were all OK as we ran by, many of us might not have finished! I especially loved the XC team just after we (half) joined the canal path. They were shaking jugs full of coins or rocks or something, but it was so loud and exciting that I couldn't even hear my IPod over their encouragements! Thank you Thank you Thank you from a back of the pack runner who probably wouldn't make it through these things without people like you cheering me to the finish and telling me that I'm looking good when I know for a fact I look pretty beat up! Thank you to all of the Rochestarians who came out to cheer for all the runners, every runner out there greatly appreciated your support! And a huge thank you to the finish area volunteers who did an amazing job of making sure every runner who crossed the finish line was OK and got me over to medical to get some ice, the massage chair volunteer who gave me an amazing massage that got my blood flowing in my arms again and allowed my fingers to stop swelling, and everyone else who simply was there to make sure the runners had a place to decompress after their hours on the course.

Thank You Rochester!

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