After Cleveland, I took about a month off from training. I planned to continue using my 3-month plan because I felt like it prepared me pretty well and increased my pace (at least in training). I dabbled a little bit with the Vibrams in pre-training, but not a whole lot during core training. I didn’t want to risk getting injured again.
As a whole, I didn’t have much trouble this go around, but I did learn that quitting early on a long run isn’t the end of the world – even though it felt like it. There was a time or two when hydration, nutrition and/or energy factors got in the way and I knew I needed to quit, or I would set myself back even further.
My nutrition changed a lot this time. Instead of just water, I decided to try coconut water in one hip bottle and plain water in the other. I didn’t want to use anything like Gatorade/Powerade because I didn’t (don’t) think it’s the best option for electrolytes from a health standpoint. This was also part of the reason why I started trying a whole variety of bars, gummies, pureed fruit packets, nuts, honey, etc. instead of Gu. But also, I couldn’t stomach Gu anymore. After Cleveland, my body associated the heat exhaustion and how terrible I felt with the nutrition I was consuming (Gu). So just thinking about using it during a run made me sick. Carrying between 4-5 things in my fuel belt, I did have to use more nutrition than most to keep my ulcer happy. However, because it was a heavy pack to race with, I had planned to have friends/family at different mile markers to give me the food as needed on race day. For hydration, there would be plenty of water stations and my family would give me coconut water when I saw them at our designated mile markers.
A little over a month into core training, my mom got diagnosed with breast cancer. My mom is the reason I started racing to begin with, so I wanted to dedicate this race to her somehow. I found an organization called Crowdrise that allows you to set up an online donation site to a variety of non-profit organizations. Finding a cause for Breast Cancer Awareness based in Pennsylvania, I set up an account where people could donate money, up through race day, and started spreading the word. Family, friends, and friends of friends donated over $1,500.
When race day came, I put on my pink shorts and my pink ribbon race top with all the names printed on the back of the people who donated. The weather was perfect. I felt good, and I really wanted this race to be the one to qualify me.
The first 6 miles went by fast and I got my food from my family on the sidelines smoothly. I stayed on pace through the next nutrition stop (mile 12), but my hands were too cold to open the Buddyfruit gummy packaging. For a whole mile, I frantically tried biting and ripping the package, but with no luck (picture the squirrel from Ice Age with his acorn). Finally I gave up and tossed them aside. I would have to wait until mile 15 for my next nutrition stop. At least they were only 3 miles apart.
I was in dire need of something for my stomach as mile 15 came and went without finding my family. A few more miles, and I started to really slow down. I was feeling that awful, burning sensation in my stomach. Around mile 20, I saw my brother come running toward me with a whole bag of food. I quickly took what I thought would be best, but it was too late. Once that fire grabs your gut, it doesn’t let go. The food helped it from getting worse, but my pace continued to slow. I felt terrible. I crossed the finish at 3:46 with a vomiting finish photo and being escorted straight to the medic tent – again. They made me wait there for a while, but I knew what was wrong and I knew they couldn’t help me. I was able to sneak out with the help of my brother when the medics were busy immersing a runner (who was much worse off than me) in a big pool of ice.
Disappointed that I failed at qualifying yet again, I was also upset that my fundraising race for my mom wasn’t my best. I also aroused some questions about my diet from some family members who started thinking my inability to get faster race times and ending up in the medical tent were due to not eating enough. But despite irritating my ulcer, the training for this race and the race itself made me realize running Boston wasn’t going to be nearly enough. I would qualify and go eventually, but that would only be a milestone. I didn’t know why, how, or what, but there was a lot more to come from this running gig.
My next attempt would be the Rock ‘N’ Roll race in San Diego, California. I had planned to finish up school and move there by spring. The race would be the beginning of June.
David Crowder Band – Neverending