Friday, January 23, 2015

Hangover Half Kicked My Sober Ass

I did the Hangover Half Challenge again this year. Last year I did the three 5ks, and this year was the first two 5ks and the half marathon on New Year Day. I was sick for these, the same respiratory crap that I may or may not have mentioned before. I made it through the first 5k without too much trouble until the end when I stopped running and was reduced to a hacking, wheezing mess of misery. The second 5k was slower, but less coughing. Now the half marathon...

Was utterly awful for me. I don't think I made it even two miles before I had to walk, and cough. The rest of the race, as I fell way behind, was a mixture of walking slowly and running probably even slower. People passed me - the first guy to finish passed me at mile 4ish and gave me a thumbs-up. Thank you, sir, but I hate you right now.

I ran along behind, in front of, back and forth, with two couples. I drank an entire bottle of water which I never do because then I get sloshy and nauseous, and it was beautiful even in the subfreezing temps. The race course was a two-lap, and I had decided that when I reached the end of the first lap/beginning of the second that I was done.. My very first DNF (Did Not Finish). It wasn't a question of "lets see how I feel when I get there" it was a "I'm fucking done. This is long, it's cold, I feel sick, and I'm not having any fun." If I had been carrying my phone, I'd have called for a pickup. No exaggeration. The race didn't suck. I sucked. And I couldn't get out of my own head.

I passed both of the couples in one of my (what must have looked like a wounded canter) running sprees and then started walking again. A few minutes later, a woman ran up beside me and started talking. I took out my earbuds to hear her ask "is this your first half?"

"No," I answered, "amazingly it's my fourth."

Her hubby had dropped out due to foot pain, and she had decided to continue on and "help motivate someone else". This was about mile six.

We walked/ran the next several miles, talked, passed the other couple that I had been competing with. About mile 9 or 10, we found her husband again who joined us for the next 3-4 miles.

We crossed the finish line together clocking my time at 3:15, which sadly and amazingly was only 9 minutes slower than my last slowest half. I get that nine minutes is a long time in running, but comparing that half to this one, it's amazing that this one wasn't a whole lot worse time wise since it was a whole lot worse in every other area.

This runner chick saved.. my.. day. I couldn't have finished without her. 

She was there at just the right time.

This race was meant to teach me something. Whether it be that I can't rely on the fact that I'm insane to pull me through things in that I do everything wrong. I didn't eat right, I didn't sleep well. I was sick. I hadn't trained. It was freezing. I had barely been running. And this race kicked my ass.

Or maybe it happened to show me that there are still good people in the world. That I don't have to do everything alone.

Whatever it is, I honestly feel like I earned this race finish. I can honestly say it was the hardest 13 miles I've ever done. The hardest race of any distance that I've ever done.

Now I have to focus on my Little Rock half. My supposed-to-be first marathon that my head got in the way of. Now I have to prove that I can. My Unicorn Race.

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