Tuesday, July 31, 2012

fall down nine times...

ok so now that ive taken a deep breath (or a few hundred thousand), talked myself back down off the bridge (or ya know, more like the arm of the couch), drank 6 lbs in a water/gatorade/coffee/bud light mix, realized "its ok, things were out of my control, i trained hard, did everything i could...." (blah blah blah) ill try to blog about what actually happened in marathon #6 this past friday night.

if you dont know what im talking about, this should explain it:

and just incase you missed it, go back and check out mile 26. now THATS a party.
(official time: 4:30:27. i forgot to shut my garmin off at the end)

(so i can end the blog here, right?)

earlier ideas that i sent out for review and got shot down for this entry:

title: huge massive failed marathon #6, aka the day i retired from running
around the lake marathon can suck it. i ate a lot of bugs. puked from mile 23 on. mile 26 lasted far too long. lost 6 pounds. never running again. ate a lot of french fries on sunday. the end.

title: im done.
here are my splits, no words necessary. lots of puking. i retire.

title: barf tastic
felt great til mile 17. puked from 23 to the end. mile 26 blew. done.

(you see how this is going...)


friday morning was great. i got to sleep in, eat breakfast, paint my nails (a necessity, obviously) and i really wasnt nervous at all. a night marathon is a really different feeling than a morning one... i actually got a good nights sleep and could relax without having to rush around in the early morning hours. i was still unsure about what to eat so i just did what i normally would do on race morning (oatmeal, granola, peanut butter, coffee), had some plain spaghetti for lunch, and drank a LOT of water. we left the house at 2pm and i had another coffee on the way down. about two hours before the race i realized i was starving. i knew this was not a good thing, but i was nervous about how my stomach would feel if i ate something so i ate half a wheat bagel and some pretzels.

ha, no kidding. (the first part anyway...)

i felt pretty confident

we had a LOT of time to kill before the 7pm start so i decided to take a nap rest.

we also decided to model (and yes, SB is wearing shorts under there, dont worry)
SB and i sporting our not so stylish/oversized shirts
(wow. my feet are WHITE)

after gathering around and not listening to the man with the mega phone (per the norm), we headed to the start line. there was no timing mat for the start, so we started about 4 people behind the line. the announcer blew his whistle a bunch of times but no one really knew if that meant "i want your attention" or "GO" so everyone just started running. organization at its finest.


we did a small half mile or so loop around a parking lot before heading back to where our support had set up camp before the official "loops" started. i had forgotten my piece of gum (i always start races with gum) so i had yelled to eric before the race to make sure ty had one for me. i didnt know we would go by them so soon (i was planning on not having it until after 3 miles) so i was thankful to see eric holding that little blue stick when i came around.

at the start of each loop we ran through the parking lot of the clarion hotel, through the finish line tent, over the timing mats, and then past support tents before reaching a gravel/grassy part and then onto the road. the first loop was great. i felt awesome, i knew my times were solidly consistent, my head was clear, my legs felt strong. there were people cheering in random places around the loop and an aid station situatied about 2 miles in. there was a "1" "2" & "3" sign along the way so that you knew where you were in proximity to the end of the loop (3.2 miles).

what i wasnt (yet) worried about was the fact that at the end of this loop, i replaced my 10oz handheld water bottle for a full one. in those first 4 miles, i had drank the entire thing.

mile 1: 8:18
mile 2: 8:33
mile 3: 8:35
mile 4: 8:35

onto the second lap, i took my first fuel: espresso love gu. delish. truckin right along, thinking these loops arent going to be too bad (mind you i was on my 2nd of 8 haha). about a mile into this loop we started running through legit walls of little gnat/bug things. oh my god it was so gross. you had no idea they were coming until you were hit with them, and you couldnt open your mouth or really breathe until you were through them. and i was so sweaty they all were stuck to me. grosssss. i ran through about 6 of these and started thinking it was going to be a long night if they were going to be out on each loop... luckily this was the only loop this happened on. weird. i again drank my handheld and passed it off to ty as i went through, replacing it with a full/cold one. (water intake: 20oz)

mile 5: 8:24
mile 6: 8:36
mile 7: 8:27

the 3rd loop seemed to go by so fast. i knew my hard training was paying off. the sun had gone down and there was a beautiful sunset over the lake behind us, things were quiet and calm. i was excited to go onto loop 4 and for ty to soon send out my speedy halfway time to a few people who were tracking me. another handoff of an empty water bottle, picked up another espresso love gu for the next loop. (water intake: 30oz)

mile 8: 8:30
mile 9: 8:41
mile 10: 8:43

the 4th loop went by just like the previous one, took my gu, got lost in my music. i knew i was slowing down by a few seconds but overall i felt great. i was getting thirsty though, and i was HOT. i dumped some water down my back at the aid station half way around. the cup was almost full so i was soaked. i contemplated taking my tank top off when i came through as it was heavy, but i decided to keep it on as it was nice to use the front to wipe off my face. i was sweating like i have never sweat before. coming in to the end of this loop i again switched handhelds. halfway point at 1:52 ish. (water intake: 40oz, plus a stop at the water fountain)

mile 11: 8:41
mile 12: 8:59
mile 13: 8:50

so now it was dark. really dark. there were parts of the course that were lit but a lot of it was not. and runners were spread out, so i was all by myself for the majority of the running. i dont know why this bothered me so much, im used to running alone. but i was really lonely. and i started to feel sick. i kept drinking water and it was sometime on this loop that i realized i had been drinking a LOT of water. a lot more than i am used to. but i was sweating it all out, so i knew i probably needed it.

about a half mile before coming in to the end of the loop, i started crying. i havent cried in a race for a long time (this used to be a huge problem for me). its tough to breathe when running and crying so i tried to stop, but the tears wouldnt stop. i dont even know why i was crying! i came in and saw ty and he was like "whats wrong?!" i just lost it. i bent over, stretching, and bawling. i couldnt talk. he handed me a new water bottle and a gu, encouraged me, and i walked off. julia came up beside me and tried to cheer me up ("ITS SO FLUFFY!!") and i blurted out "im... just... so.... lonely" through my tears. she asked if i wanted her to run with me and i said no, that i would be alright (despite knowing i wasnt ok). (water intake: > 50 oz. each lap i drank the 10oz handheld, and i started taking cups at the aid station and stopping at each of the two water fountains along the loop....)

mile 14: 8:59
mile 15: 9:03
mile 16: 9:14

the 6th loop went better mentally than the previous, but physically i was breaking down. my stomach hurt bad. ty had given me a few pretzels at the last transition and as i tried to chew them they turned to paste in my mouth and i spit them out. i decided to at least chew them all up and keep spitting them out, swallowing them was out of the question. i opened my 3rd gu, tried to eat some of it and immediately spit it out, thinking i was going to throw up. i knew this wasnt good, having all this water and now not being able to eat anything but i didnt know what to do. id heard terrible stories about the "heed" product they had at the aid stations so i definitely wasnt going to try that for electrolyte replacement. i significantly slowed down over this loop min/mile wise, but i knew i was still on pace to go sub 4 (i had built a solid base through the first 14 miles). i think i did some vague math at this point (while i was still thinking clearly) and knew if i did 10 min miles i was still ok. (i dont know know if thats true or not and im not going to try to figure it out now, but it kept me feeling happy about what i was doing out there at the time.) another transition and water bottle hand off. (water intake: > 60oz, more or less closer to 70oz at this point im sure).

mile 17: 9:53
mile 18: 10:07
mile 19: 9:38

shortly after going through the transition we hit mile 20. i knew this was the point where i should step it up. a 10k was all that was left. but i had nothing to give, and my body showed it. instead of switching off for another handheld at the previous transition, i had ty give me a 20oz poland spring water bottle. somewhere along the way a woman was throwing up next to a telephone pole and i asked her if she needed any water which she declined. a little ways further a woman was on the ground with two people, waiting for the ambulance to come. people were having a tough time, and little did i know i was not far behind myself. i drank the entire water bottle. (water intake: > 90oz)

mile 20: 9:50
mile 21: 11:08
mile 22: 11:09

when i came in for the final lap, things felt really bad. i handed off my water bottle and didnt take anything with me. i just wanted to finish. i walked for a bit, talked to ty (still encouraging me that i could make it sub 4... the clock read 3:30 something as i ran through...) but i knew i wasnt going to be able to do 10 min miles for the last loop. i was ok with that, but i really thought a PR was still in the cards (4:15). i kept thinking "PR or ER" thanks to eric and andys little mantra. little did i know that if i tried to PR i would have ended up in the ER for real....

i walked through the transition and headed out for the last 3 miles. i felt like i needed to use the bathroom but figured that i would be ok. whoa was i wrong. once it was too late to turn around, i really felt sick. i knew there wasnt a port a potty until after the aid station at mile 2. trouble. about mile 24, i threw up. what was happening? i felt a little better so i tried to run/shuffle. i felt light headed and walked along the path holding onto the railing. i couldnt stand upright. i walked a little ways with two guys (one doing the 12 hour ultra, one was his friend there for support) and we talked a little in between me thinking i was going to be sick or crap myself (running a marathon sounds so fun, doesnt it?!)

i finally made it to the port a potty at mile 25.6. i wont describe any more, but i felt better. i came out determined to just get this damn race over with but within not even 100 yards from the port a potty i knew i was going to throw up. i took a little detour off the path and stood there puking for like 10 minutes. it was awesome.
mile 23: 12:45
mile 24: 12:50
mile 25: 16:54
mile 26: 22:28

have i ever had a 22 minute mile? cool.

i actually felt really good after i was all finished getting violently ill. everyone that went by was really nice asking if i was ok... yes im ok, just embarassed. carry on. i was able to run to the finish, but it wasnt record time (approx 12 min mile). when i came around the corner and saw ty i had a huge smile on my face cuz i was freaking done. he and the crew had been pretty worried, especially when they could see the ambulances heading out onto the course so they were happy to see me. ty ran me in to the finish and as i came through there was no fan fare, i didnt really know what to do. i walked up to a lady holding the medals and was like hey im fucking done, medal now please k thanks. dutch and julia were there and i chatted with them for a second, but i needed dry clothes and a blanket, i was freeeeezing.


we headed back to the car and SB was all bundled up eating goldfish. i told her congrats on her BQ before wrapping myself in a blanket and curling up in a ball on the pavement feeling like i was going to die. SB ran away to throw up in the bushes and eric took her to the med tent, and we all decided it was best if we took off for home. i had seen maddy throughout the race who was not feeling well either. at least i wasnt the only one.

on the drive home i went from feeling alright, to bad, to omg pull over im going to be sick right this very moment. we visited rest areas throughout I-95 north and i couldnt hold anything down. at one point the emergency room discussion came up, and i declined. (i think this would have probably been the best idea, but alas im still alive...)

we got home around 2am and i went straight to the scale. the number i saw was not what i was expecting after weighing myself earlier that day:

i weighed 126.4 on friday afternoon
then refueled the best way i know possible on saturday, thanks to an awesome friend

it took me two days to get back to my original weight (and mental status). what a mess. according to the results, 14 people didnt finish. it was definitely a tough night out there, i cant imagine how people ran 12/24 hours. i learned a lot from this race that i can take with me, and despite being all grumpy pants the last few days, i know i did the best i could and this is more than some people can do. so im not really retiring (obviously) and i want to run mount desert island in october & enjoy running it.

i still dont know what happened out there, but i know the humidity had a lot to do with it. i usually drink about 20oz for a half marathon (if that) and i take in 5 gu's during the marathon.... so the 100oz of water and only 2 gu was not what i was used to. hyponatremia at its finest. but i know theres nothing i could have done about it, and i think thats what was most taxing on my whole mental breakdown about it all. 18 weeks of hard training is tough to stomach when the one night doesnt go well. but ill carry on....

the number of texts, tweets, messages on fb, etc that i have gotten is overwhelming, and i sincerely thank each and every one of you for your kind words. its funny that i should hang my head and be all upset over an arbitrary number/goal time. i finished the marathon. i didnt give up. and for that i have succeeded.

"fall down nine times, get up ten" - japanese proverb


  1. you absolutely succeeded! You finished....and went through hell to get there, but YOU GOT THERE! It was obviously a tougher experience than what many would have thought, but you kept at it, and will come out of the experience stronger for it!

    Good on ya....now, take some time to recover! You've earned it!

  2. 26.2 miles is a huge distance & you never know how your body is going to react. It's summer, it's hot. Just leave it at that. You are an incredible runner, NO you are not "retiring". Ha, now THAT'S funny! You'll totally dominate MDI. No worries there.

  3. That's so scary! I'm glad you're ok, and I'm glad you ended up finishing... for as sick as you felt, it would have been so much worse not to finish. Love from MM #3056 :)

  4. That was a tough one, but you did it! I'm glad you were ok. I wish I could drop 6 lbs like that.....

  5. Like I told you before, a lesser person would have just given up when it got tough. As for retiring...you can, but not until MDI :) You know you LOVE running though and would be lost without oopsing a marathon!

  6. Gah... What a long run of misery. Those bugs freaked me out too- what the hell was THAT about? Bottom line: I'm really glad you're ok and I'm completely amazed that you finished. That takes some serious balls, woman... I don't think I could have done it.
    I am glad there are no pictures of the hot mess that was "after". So not pretty on so many levels. (well, except for the fact that both of us are blindingly attractive even after running for 12 hours, hurling all over peoples lawns, stripping in the parking lot, and collapsing from foot cramps while screaming "MAKE IT STOP!!") UGH!

  7. Oh Danielle! I'm so sorry you had such a terrible race!!! :( Sending you big virtual hugs and I'm SO glad you are ok!!!

  8. Sorry about the violently ill part of the race. This sounds like it was a really tough race.

  9. Your pukey time is still 40 minutes better than my perfect marathon (4:10) way to finish....get an iv if it happens again! :-)

  10. Ugghhh, about as un-fun as I thought it would be. You're way better than that time — it just wasn't your day. Your day will come. You'll get it. Heck, you already have in training.

    Oh, you need to ask Andy and Eric where they got PR or ER from, because I've been saying it for years and they follow me on Twitter. Just sayin' ...

  11. Way to finish! Your marathon details remind me stories I've read from Boston 2012. Sounds like the heat got the best of you.

    Thanks to your MDI info I decided to go for it so I may see you in Bar Harbour. Training is going well...although I was ill after a 14 mile run last night...it was so hot and I over did it too. Thanks for your inspiration.

  12. Well I think that you are absolutely AWESOME. :) I know that it's hard to feel that way when you KNOW you could have done better. However, you toughed it out and that is CRAZY HARDCORE.

  13. just sending big hugs your way. you're a beast and we all know, now pick out another race and hop on! xoxox

  14. We all have terrible races and can learn from them and start fresh and try again. It is such a terrible feeling though to have trained so hard and to see your splits go up and up and up. I was right in your shoes when I ran Vermont City. I hit the wall at mile 21 and was so dehydrated I couldn't run in a straight line and ended up in the med tent post race being rehydrated by a team of medics. Total Fail! After I did a lot of thinking and regrouping from the experience I made a new plan to conquer the marathon and raced a much smarter race. You will recover and will be back at your goals before you know it. You definitely look familiar to me as well from Beach the Beacon Expo. Hopefully we'll meet up at another race. Happy running and don't give up on your dreams!

  15. p.s. If you haven't thought about it already your blog is fantastic and you should think about applying to be a FitFluential Ammbassador. Here is their website for you to look over:


    Good luck!