Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Rock N Roll San Antonio... Train Wreck!

Alright, so I realize that I have left you all hanging for a few days now without a race recap, however, right before the finish line I thought, "I wish I didn't have to blog about this".  So, that's your warning, this might get ugly.  For those of you who don't want to sift through it all, just know I finished- check back for better pictures.  For those of you who will read on... just focus on the fact that I did finish :-)  Iy yi yi... where to begin...

Well, I'll start on a happy note- we left from Houston to San Antonio Friday afternoon.  Our friends, the Philips were so generous to let us stay at their pad.  I really cannot thank them enough.  We had a lot of fun catching up with them and their family.  Food was good and company was even better. Thanks guys!  See ya soon!

Saturday hubby and I headed down to the expo.  I was so excited.  I was feeling confident and felt like I could strut my stuff I at least sort've belonged there.  Does that sound weird?  Anyways, I picked up my packet and my coral #.  I was in #6.  I was expected to break 4 hours this time around.  I was so psyched.  This marathon had about 30 corals and about 30,000 runners total (marathon and half).  So, it was craziness!  I picked up some swag and we looked around and had fun.  We headed back to the house to get ready for our bloggy dinner meet up.

We met up with Tricia, Adam, Dawn & Leah at an Italian restaurant right in San Antonio.  They were all really amazing. It was so fun to meet everyone but dinner ended too quickly. I wish I could've spent more time talking with y'all.  Make sure to check their race recaps too! Congrats you guys!

Sunday morning.  Where to begin.  Jon didn't want to drop me off at the listed "runner drop off" because he didn't want me walking through "the ghetto" alone.  I told him I'd be fine and the park I had to walk through was right by the race.  He insisted to bring me to the shuttle.  So, we went there and I shuttled in.  It was a little chilly, I won't lie.  All the corals made an L shape on two streets.  It was absolutely madness.  I am glad that I got there early to beat the last minute port-a-john lines!  I dropped my gear bag off and headed to the coral.  I was excited and confident.  I wasn't nervous like I usually am.  I was in it to break 4 hours.  It was going to be tough, but I knew I had it in me.

We had a staggered start which was going to help reduce congestion on the roads.  I finally got to the start and we were off.  There were still a ton of people and it was hard to get into my pace for the first mile, but I knew it would all balance out so I wasn't worried.  I had my music, muscles were getting warm and then we rounded a corner and I saw the very front of a freight train pass and hoards of runners just standing there.  I was in shock.  Seriously?  A TRAIN???  It was still cold out and my body was starting to cool off.  We hadn't even hit the first mile yet.

A runner in an article I read yesterday said it best, "..She says while she waited, she had to overcome some mind games inside her head. "It's tempting to go ahead and push and compensate for that time, but that might have consequences late in the race when you start cramping."  This was me in a nutshell.  I was freaking out.  I was playing every mind game I possible could.  I was totally sabotaging myself and I couldn't see it. We stood there for about 5 minutes.  During that time- the amount of runners felt  like it had doubled. 

Once the train passed runners were yelling "Go!!" and it was madness.  It was like I was at the start all over again- but with 2x the amount of people.  I felt like I had to make up time so I was going way too fast every time I got the chance to pass people up.  That was a very bad idea.  I repeat: very bad.  I pulled a few miles at sub 8mins! Seriously!  What was I thinking??  Hence the title: train wreck.

Once I hit 13.1 I knew I had a problem.  I knew my body shouldn't be feeling the way it was at only half way.  My legs were tired, I was ready to kick the bucket.  I knew I had to finish so I just kept on.  The areas of the race were really ghetto and just run down (scary stray dogs..).  I would never walk these streets by myself.  Want to know the most disappointing thing?  I knew we were running by the Alamo (I've already seen it before) but I didn't even notice it when I passed it.  Ridiculous.  Around mile 18 I was still on track to break 4 hours, but I was slowly getting away from it.  Then, my left leg decided it had had enough.  I was cramping up (enter girl's thought from the news article) and I felt all sorts of "tugs" in my left calf.  At one point I almost fell over because my leg just locked up.  Heh, nice.  I headed to the side of the road and stretched out.  This happened multiple times after that.

At mile 22 I began the walk/run.  I was just dying.  I had no more gas.  I felt defeated.  I was balling my eyes out (how pathetic).  At mile 24 I tried to kick it into gear because I just wanted this horrid thing to be over.  I wanted to find that train and spit on it or something.  I was just beat up and bitter. I was even more upset that I couldn't use all of this stress/anger to help me keep going fast. I think some runners were feeling bad for me because a few kept trying to take Gu from their belts and give it to me... I still had some.  Sadly, this wasn't something Gu could fix- thanks though!  I felt pain I've never felt before comparing to my last marathon and all my training.

At last I got to the finish.   I pushed all the way through the last mile and got through it.  I crossed the line, got my phone out, called hubby and started to cry my eyes out.  If you saw some pathetic little person in the Susan G Komen tent crying her eyes out while her husband was helping her put on her compression socks.. that was me.

Okay so really, was I being a bit over dramatic?  Yes.  Do I feel like I had carte blanche for acting that way?  Also yes.  I was really dreading writing about this marathon.  But, looking back on it- the main goal always is to finish.  I did just that.  I finished!  Also, before you think I'm crazy for not jumping up and down about my results... remember what I set out to do.. break 4 hours.  I didn't do that and that's why I was so down and out.. BUT!  I did get a PR by about 20 minutes.  So, that should count for something, right?  I'm still working on that.

The other reason for me doing this is in memory of my mother, Carolyn who lost her battle to breast cancer 14 years ago, I was only 11.  I kept thinking about her during the race and trying to tell myself that the pain I was feeling in my legs couldn't even compare to all the surgery, chemo and radiation she had to endure.  She is truly my hero and I hope that the fundraising that I was able to do will help others.  Thank you to all who supported my fundraising.  It really is an amazing thing to be apart of.

I have another marathon under my belt and I learned some hard lessons. Unfortunately they were learned during the race, but what can you do?  Next marathon is January 1st in The Woodlands, TX (Houston area).  I can do this.  I'm going to just shake off what happened this weekend and give myself a clean slate and go out there and give it all I have. 


racing dawn said...

Hey Crystal! It's pretty amazing that all of us had not such a great experience at the race. I had all the same problems you did - it must have been the water at the restaurant the night before! :) But how awesome to still get a new PR! Congrats! Good luck on your next race - I hope we meet up again! Come to Utah for a marathon - they're a million times better! :)

Vanessa said...

Oh Crystal, I am so glad you wrote this! What a roller coaster you've been on. I'm sorry you didn't make your goal time, but I am very proud of you for staying optimistic. Take some time to relax and rest before pounding yourself for the next race.

The Miguel Family said...

Crystal what a crazy race. That is not fun about the train. I totally know the feeling of trying to make up for lost time and then going faster than you should. And although it was a challenge for you I am so proud that you finished! It is wonderful that you are taking away a positive attitude and I am so amazed at how you set goals to run marathons and accomplish them! Go C!

Quix (Leah) said...

Sorry you had a bad experience, but congrats on your PR! I was way further in the back so I never saw the train... but was wondering why it was so dang crowded. :)

It was good meeting you, and hope your next marathon is much better!