ING Miami Marathon RR
Yesterday, I completed my 12th marathon and one more marathon needed in my quest for a second star on the Marathon Maniacs. Since I had just run the Goofy Challenge at Disney two weeks prior, I was not expecting a PR or even to attempt one. Last year, I had stomach issues during this race and I finished with a course PR after having nausea and retching all throughout the last 8 miles of the course. And guess what? History repeated itself and I repeated the same performance, doh!
I was dedicating this event to Karnel, a fellow forumite from the Women's Forum, who passed away unexpectedly late last year. There is a virtual event created by fellow WFers and I decided this would be the best event to dedicate to her.
Training has been going well. I recovered from Disney quickly and my runs were going really well. I have not used albuterol since the 5K at the end of 2012 that caused me an attack, so I was happy to be doing speedwork and faster runs without issue. Overall, I felt confident that I could perform close to Disney paces at this marathon and treat it like a good long run. Although I didn't have a goal for this race, I felt 4:45 would be reasonable.
I was very busy throughout the week but remembered to stay hydrated and ate my favorite marathon week "carbo loading fuel" item: apples. I've used them since Berlin (where I didn't bring anything and I wanted a source of sugar/carbs) and since they worked so well, I've used them for every marathon since then. Overall, I was well hydrated and fueled.
However, I made a mistake sometime last week. I accidentally switched my reflux medication to the low dosed ones, ending up with me taking 1/2 dose of my usual medication instead of a full dose every day. I didn't realize this until yesterday when I discussed the problem with my doctor but by then it was too late. What happened during the marathon ended up being my fault.
On Saturday, I was attacked by my cats when they hit my foot with our huge remote control. It left a huge bruise and a painful area atop the foot. I iced it during the afternoon and, although it hurt a lot, if I touched the area, walking and running were not an issue, which made my husband think it was not broken.
I arrived at the American Airlines Arena at 4:45am in order to get parking and at a sensible price (parking around this area varies from $20-30 but if you get to a certain lot before 5am, parking is $5--a little trick not many know). I had my coffee and banana in the car and went to find the maniacs for our group picture. I'm still waiting; I never saw anybody at the meeting point. I was not surprised because close to 25000 were on the same spot. Anyway, once they open the corrals, I got into mine and waited. We were off by 6:15 and I crossed the mat at 6:24am.
Miles 1-10: The miles went by really quickly. The weather was yucky but the humidity was not bad (80%). The weather was 65F at the start, 80F at the finish. Not good but not bad either. I looked at my HR during these miles and it was spot on MP pace with the miles being 10:05-10:15mm, matching the weather. I liked that the pace felt very easy and the breathing was good. At least until then. I was ahead of the 4:45 goal but my HR and paces were very good throughout and as usual, I run by HR rather than concentrating on the pace, and vary it depending on how I feel. At Mile 7 they were giving full bottles of water and since I had problems getting waters on every water station because of the crowded course, I stopped and waited until I volunteer gave me a bottle. For some reason, that threw my momentum off for a couple of miles. Once the sun came out, the weather turned from nice to HOT. I think it was above 70F since 7am. Up to this point, nothing appeared to be wrong.
Miles 10-13.1: At Mile 10, I had a reflux reaction. Those with reflux know what I'm talking about (that regurgitation response). I'm just going to say that I didn't retch but it was close. At Mile 11 it happened again. This meant I had to stop anything that was not liquid, so I switched from my gels to Gatorade and water. After that, the stomach calmed down. Last year, I had the same issue after Mile 17 and although then I thought it was a caffeinated gel, I now know it was this same issue that affected me. I considered dropping to the HM when the races split at Mile 13 but since the problem appeared to have been fixed, I decided to continue.
Among the sad things I saw at this point was two runners down unconscious and being helped by rescue. I am not sure what had happened to them but I hope they survived. The guy was down at Mile 11 and the girl was down at Mile 13. I was also told they performed CPR on a runner at Mile 25 but by the time I passed by that mile marker, the person was gone. Hope he made it. So, you can tell how bad the weather was. The marathon kept the green flag until Mile 21 and then it was yellow for caution. For those Miamians it was not that bad, but there were a lot of international and Northern runners and I could see all the suffering beside me even at this point.
Miles 13.1 - 20: After we separated from the half marathoners, my issues appeared resolved. My pace picked up again and my stomach appeared calmed. At Mile 16, I passed my coworkers' house and she was there waiting for me as last year. We said goodbye, she took a picture and we agreed on meeting after Mile 22 near her house. At Mile 17, I started feeling the reflux symptoms return and slowed down a bit and the feeling passed. At Mile 18, a guy had pulled out his hose in front of his house and was bathing anybody that wished to be hosed down. I was one of them. I thank him for that as it was shadeless, hot, and sunny. A little bit further, I started retching. Almost at the same place I retched last year. Nobody noticed because I found a potty and got in it. I wasted a good 2-3 minutes doing this. At Mile 19, it happened again, so I retched. My reflux had arrived with a passion. And at Mile 20, again.
Miles 21-26.2: At this point, I know I cannot continue running at the pace I had been. The faster you run with a reflux reaction, the worse the stomach feels, so I did a run/walk strategy that consisted of me running until the water station and then walking for 1/4 mile or so and repeat. Somewhere on Mile 21-22, I stopped to fix the shoe because it was bothering my huge bruise and all of a sudden I get hugged, LOL. It was a friend of mine from Sole Runners, Yahu, who was doing her first marathon and she looked strong. She gave me a bit of a push when I was feeling down. We ran for 1/2 mile or so until I saw my coworker again and she took my picture. I told Yahu to continue on and not wait for me and to kill it and she did. After that, I continued running for a mile or so and then had to walk to calm my stomach (this is close to mile 23-24). We went under the Rickerbacker Causeway and off again. I walked most of that bridge because my stomach was not happy. I was encouraging everybody that passed me, though. I started running again at Mile 24-25 and never stopped until I reached downtown. Most of the people there were very encouraging and they were yelling my name. Oh, I'm Miami Famous (their motto), and then I realized my name is in my bib. Crossed the mat at 4:56, 11 minutes slower than my goal for this race but hey, after all the retching, I don't think I did that bad.
This was a tough one (although I give Las Vegas and my anaphylactic attack the win). If it wasn't for Karnel who I was thinking of during the race, I think I would've thrown in the towel. But yes, she pushed me to finish when she can no longer run.
Thanks for reading!