I have tried to put on a strong face. I have said the things I know I need to be thinking but I am still having trouble accepting it. It’s hard swallowing the fact that no matter what fitness I could have been in prior to racing, it probably would have ended the same way. At the same time, I can’t help but think that yesterday’s short coming was more than just being sick. Maybe I wasn’t ready, maybe I burnt out my legs, maybe I tapered too much. All of these I will never know for sure but either way I must move on. I know I will be asked how it went and I will have to put on a brave face and relive what happened but I know from my past that I will get over this.
For the record, I dropped out just past halfway. My legs had been feeling heavy and dead since around mile 3 and I felt awful. Before the race I felt fine and I figured my chest cold wouldn’t bother me but just past halfway I suddenly felt like I couldn’t breathe. I panicked and it got worse. I couldn’t get air in and knelt down. I got back up but still couldn’t breathe. A lot of people told me I made a smart decision to stop but honestly, I would not have made that decision. I wanted to keep going and I would have if those spectators had not come to my rescue. They took me off to the side where a few of my Oiselle teammates happened to be cheering. They sat me down and got me water. Up until that point I hadn’t realized how weak I felt. At this point all I could feel was regret and disbelief that all the work I had put in had ended this way. All I could do was cry. When the medics got me, they checked me out and everything was fine so let me go as they left to attend to the numerous others who were dropping like flies in the LA heat. At this point I felt fine but was disappointed. My family headed back towards the starting area and my boyfriend and I left to collect my things and head back to the apartment. I worked my way through the masses until I finally got back to the VIP area where I picked up my bag from gear check. I watched the Women’s winners cross the finish line and then just wanted to be home. We were stopped on a corner in a mass of people unable to move any which way. I remember getting angry at a kid pushing people out of the way waving around his athlete assistance credential and that was when things went south. I told my boyfriend I felt really tired. Then I told him I needed to sit down and I collapsed. He caught me so I didn’t hit the ground and I never lost consciousness. I was positive I could get back up but before I knew it people were propping up my legs putting cold water on my neck and propping up my feet. Before I knew it the medics arrived and I was hooked up to an IV. I was shivering and cold and my part of my arms were starting to feel numb. The medic informed me I was having heat exhaustion and they would be transporting me to the hospital. After getting to the hospital and receiving fluids I began to feel better.
It still hurts to know I couldn’t make it to the finish line of the event I had been dreaming about since qualifying at the Indy Monumental Half-Marathon back in November of 2014. Coach Pete Rea of ZAP Fitness in Blowing Rock, NC made a comment that no matter what happens at the end of any race, workout, or run, you have to find your small win. Whether that be that you finished it, or that you didn’t trip, you have to find the positives of each and every day if you want to get better. My win for yesterday is that I still have my health. I am still strong and I am still the same runner. While all of the work of the past few months did not come together for this event it will come together for the rest of this spring. The marathon trials may not have been in the cards for me and that is all right because everything happens for a reason (thanks Tierney for these words of wisdom). I still have a shot at being in Eugene this summer and I will do everything in my power to make sure that happens! As for my teammates, I am incredibly proud of all of them! I am so blessed to be among 18 strong amazing women that were able to qualify and I know this is just the beginning for all of us. Oiselle has made created an atmosphere to help women thrive in both life and in pursuing dreams. If yesterday wasn’t evidence to that then I don’t know what else is.
As for the marathon, there will be a debut marathon (take 2) in my future, guaranteed.