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Monday, March 28, 2011

Eastern States 2 miler

Yesterday I headed down to Kittery for the Eastern States 20 miler.

I want to rename this race "The one where runners drop like flies."

Our original group was 4. Then Emilie got sick. Then Christine got injured. So it was down to 2- Susan and I. THANK GOODNESS Christine drove us down and was our chauffeur because there was a lot of travel logistics with a race that ends 20 miles from the start. She was such a good sport being the support crew for a race she was registered for and could not run.

Allow me to say... I was REALLY excited about this day.  An ENTIRE day away from being a mom, leaving early, arriving home late, a 20 mile training run accomplished in race format with a t-shirt to boot, and the possibility of Susan and I really attacking the distance with some speed (a relative term for a runner of my pace, but speed is speed regardless) and dinner out with my friends.

I woke up feeling nauseated.  Not a common feeling for me.  I don't get nauseous when I'm nervous.  I run to the bathroom instead.  Red flag number one.

Red flag number two:  I felt nauseous the whole way down (a 3 hour ride) and didn't want to eat anything, including the super yummy cheddar apple scones Emilie had made for us.

Red flag number three:  my blood sugar was high and didn't want to come down and I was trying to assess if my forehead was hot (high blood sugar and hot head sure sign of fever in me.)

Getting ready in the gym among a fierce looking group of runners (many of whom were sporting all manner of Boston Marathon paraphernalia):

At the starting line- Susan, Christine and I.
We are always teasing Susan that she has a wide band of personal space.  When we take group pictures we say to her, "Good grief! Put your arm around me Susan!"  to which she replies, "Why do we always have to be touching?"

This is her proving me wrong. And likely contracting the flu I was still in denial that I had.

It could have been so fun.
I made it through the first mile hoping to shake off whatever residual blah I was feeling and trying to get my head in the right place for 20 miles in a brutal and frigid wind.  But by mile 2 I knew my body simply couldn't do it and that what I was experiencing wasn't long run jitters.  I did in fact have the stomach flu.  I implored Susan to go on without me and I tried in vain to run a little until I was certain.  Then I called Christine who mercifully came and got me on the side of the road.

It is hard to quit.  Even if you know you have to.  Even if you have no choice.  I wanted to make myself keep going but all I picture was me heaving on the side of the road, having a blood sugar crisis, ending up in the ER and having Sandi forbid me from running long races without her ever again.  I lost a long run, a race, an opportunity to run hard with Susan.  I lost the amazing feeling of accomplishment finishing a run like that, changing into warm clothes and the post-run buzz for the rest of the day.  Instead, from about noon until 7 pm when I got home, I lay curled up Christine's backseat, getting up to watch Susan finish and to pee once, shivering with fever, aching everywhere, trying not to throw up and wishing for my own bed.  I so rarely get full days away from mommyhood.  To spend it this way seemed beyond wasteful.  It was criminal.

Susan finishing!!  It was a long, hard run in the wind she said.  But she ran fast and we were so proud of her.

I said to Christine at the finish line, "I feel so awful.  And the only thing that would be worse than feeling bad would be if I felt good and knew I could have finished."

Even races like this have a favorite part. Mine was when we were a few minutes into the race and a woman ahead of us removed her windbreaker. A pair of middle aged men behind us commented, loudly, "I wonder what else she will take off." Susan, never one afraid of speaking her mind, said loudly enough for them to hear, "C'mon. Let's get away from these guys. Their expectations for this race are obviously way off base."

Here is the t-shirt that I am ambivalent about ever wearing.  Sandi said I should go ahead and wear it and just cross out the 0 in 20 so reads the Eastern States 2 miler.  Yeah, THAT won't be at all embarrassing.


Katie said...

Ohhhhh, Suzanne. :o(

It took a lot for you to stop running, but it was TOTALLY the right thing to do. Here's to a healthy remainer of the running season! (fingers crossed)


Emilie said...

love you...xo

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