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That Time I Didn’t Finish A Race

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have already heard that I didn’t finish yesterday’s More/Fitness Women’s Half Marathon.

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Let’s start from where we left off yesterday morning.

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My cousin Amy and I did our usual pathetic selfie shot while waiting in line for the Port O Potties.

It was a bit chilly but not terrible; the sun was shining, the park was looking beautiful and everyone was ready to line up and get moving.

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I felt fine and loaded with that prerace adrenaline that keeps you bouncing in your corral ready to be let loose.

When the race began, it was crowded for the first mile. Like really crowded.

I did my best to weave in and out of the crowd; I had so much energy in my legs that I could hardly contain myself to run slow in the pack.

Somewhere after that first mile though, something got a bit weird. I can’t even fully explain the weirdness but I felt it.

The first hill really didn’t help me, that I can tell you.

I started getting hot which is normal since it was about 50 degrees outside with the sun shining. 50 degrees isn’t all that “warm” but when you run, you warm up internally a good 20 degrees.

Normally that isn’t so terrible but right now it is a new sensation for the season. It has been so cold for so long that I haven’t trained in warm in a while.

I had left my Lulu Run Swiftly long sleeve top on but it is so thin and sweat wicking that I can’t even say it was bothering me.

Something else was bothering me but I couldn’t full pinpoint it.

I kept up my speed to an extent. The hills were rough; rougher than I remember. I kept thinking about the fact that I ran this race last year with an injured shoulder yet didn’t recall the hills affecting me. Strange.

I began to slow a bit but not too terrible. I told myself that I would have time to make it up during the flat parts of the course.

Then the 1:45 pacer sign people bounced their way past me.

I wasn’t thrilled but I let it go. I figured that I would catch them later in the race.

But I still didn’t feel myself. I did my usual internal assessment of what was wrong somewhere after the 5K point I think.

Did my legs feel like lead? Nope. Did anything hurt? Nope. Was I injured? Nope.

So what the heck was wrong? I couldn’t decide but I didn’t feel myself.

I kept going. It wasn’t easy but what race is easy?

I stopped for water and even walked through the stops which I never do thinking the water would help me.

It didn’t.

I tried my jelly beans. They didn’t help me.

But what was wrong? I wasn’t sure. But something was off.

At mile five I remember feeling better. We had conquered two of the bad hills and this part of the race was a bit more flat so I gained some speed and I thought I would fall into my groove here.

Yeah, that didn’t last. At some point (maybe at mile six?) I started looking for water again to the point where I was going to die if I didn’t find some.

This might have been where the 1:50 pacer people bounced past me.

I won’t lie; that bothered me. It was not OK but was going to have to be OK because I didn’t feel well.

In fact, somewhere after that I decided I was dizzy. I stopped for water. Literally stopped completely to drink it. I didn’t feel better.

I didn’t feel as though I would actually faint; trust me, I know what that feels like because I have quite the history of fainting due to my low blood pressure.

I tried running a bit slower and told myself that perhaps I could just keep going at a slower pace and see if I could pick it up again when I felt better.

But I wasn’t feeling better at the slowed pace and another round of hills were approaching which is the exact point where I said to myself,

“You do not need to continue this race. You don’t feel well and something inside is telling you to stop so stop. You already know you can run this course. You already know you can run 13.1 miles at a time. Why continue? Stop. Just stop now.”

And stop I did. I hooked a right off the course and I didn’t even feel bad about it.

I did not feel the need to keep going, or even walking the rest of this course just to say I finished.

In my opinion, if you don’t feel well, you stop. There is always another day to run.

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I walked around the park waiting for my cousin. I was completely freezing at this point so I got one of the finisher wraps even though I didn’t finish and had no issue telling this to anyone who wanted to take my picture and hand me finish line bagels and apples.

I was proud of myself for knowing that my health was more important than finishing.

I called my mother while I walked around. As I told her I stopped because I didn’t feel well, her first response was, “Weren’t you awaiting the arrival of your monthly visitor?”

Do you know I had completely forgotten about it? Even with all my praying during taper week for it to arrive late?

That was exactly what was wrong. That was what caused me to feel all sorts of dizzy, lightheaded and just not right.

Did I not tell you I get this at the most inopportune of times?

I have never been so happy to see that visitor because it truly gave explanation and validation for how I was feeling. I have a history of fainting during this time of the month.

I had used the MayMyRun app for the race and didn’t shut it immediately upon stopping so who even knows what I ran or even what here is accurate.

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Maybe I ran seven miles? I don’t know. And it really doesn’t matter. What matters is that I knew to stop when I didn’t feel well.

Tragically, a 31 year-old man and a 35 year-old man both died yesterday during the Rock n Roll Marathon in Raleigh. Click here for the full article.

When I learned this terrible news, a part of me was once again proud of myself for stopping. Did these men know they didn’t feel well? We may never know.

I am never one to quit; never have I shortened a long run simply because I didn’t feel like running or because my legs were feeling like bricks with sneakers.

When you know something isn’t right inside though, when you feel dizzy or sick, it is a whole other story and I hope you will realize for yourself when it is truly time to stop.

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I still went out for my favorite salad last night and now, well, it is business as usual.

I do have a another half on the horizon which is in less than three weeks. I haven’t signed up for it yet but I do believe I will be running it.

In fact, I will be running again this morning. I feel fine now but will take it slow anyway and avoid any form of a hill.

The little boy is off from school this week for spring break and Passover begins tonight at sundown.

Happy Passover to my Jewish friends! I will have some fun kosher for Passover recipes for you tomorrow!

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Anyone else not finish a race?

Who ran with me yesterday? Were the hills super killer for you too? I heard a lot of people saying it was rough one yesterday!

What are you making for Passover?

 

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  • Theodora April 14, 2014, 7:09 am

    Sounds like you made the right decision, especially given the warmth. Can’t wait to hear what the next race you’re thinking is!

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles April 14, 2014, 7:17 am

      Thank you, I do believe I did the right thing. It was super warm right? I don’t remember this race feeling so tough last year, even without me feeling sick. The hills in the heat yesterday were kinda killer! I am thinking to do the Long Island half again this year. Have you run it before? It’s a bit boring at points but at least the course is flat!

  • Marina @ Lazy for Diet April 14, 2014, 7:58 am

    You made everything correctly! I never ran such long distance and I don’t represent as it is difficult… You are rock star at least because started running 😉

  • Davida @ The Healthy Maven April 14, 2014, 8:49 am

    Putting your health first is soooooo not quitting! So happy you did what felt right and aren’t dwelling on it. So many people push past pain and sickness and end up hurting themselves in the long run. You my dear are a total champion for putting health above pride!

    Happy passover. I’ll drink a fifth glass of wine in your honour!

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles April 14, 2014, 9:14 am

      Aw thank you…And a Happy Passover to you too! Love the Passover wine lol

  • Meghan April 14, 2014, 10:20 am

    Meredith – good for you for just bowing out so damn gracefully. That’s exactly what you’re supposed to do and you demonstrate such confidence and strength by doing it as wonderfully as you did. Thank you for sharing this experience. 🙂 And that article about Raleigh is so tragic – wow.

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles April 14, 2014, 2:23 pm

      You are too kind. Thank you. I just didn’t feel well, you know? Something just said stop, this is just not OK. I hope more people can learn to realize when something is just not OK…Isn’t that horrific about those men? So tragic. I do wonder how/what happened and if they didn’t feel well at any point. Running with a nagging injury is bad enough but running when you don’t feel well – not happening, at least not for me.

  • Frank April 14, 2014, 10:43 am

    Looks like those first three miles were fast; also looks like decent (or better) 5k and 10k times. All things considered, half a half at a good average race pace is a good day as you look forward to the next one.

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles April 14, 2014, 2:21 pm

      Thank you. I remember at the 5K point seeing my time of around 23:40 knowing I was doing decent, a little slower than I wanted but certainly not feeling well which kind of made it that much harder to push and envision the rest of the race.

  • Sarah @pickyrunner April 14, 2014, 1:28 pm

    This was really inspiring to read. Not many people can say they truly listened to their bodies and did what was best. I would have a hard time doing that in the middle of the race if I didn’t feel well. I give you MAJOR props for it and I’m really glad you realized that too. It’s a tough but important lesson and it sounds to me like you’ve already learned it.

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles April 14, 2014, 2:19 pm

      Aw thanks…I feel like if I was fighting an injury, I may have had a harder time stopping versus not feeling well. When I don’t feel well, when I am dizzy or just know something seems not right, I have an easier time stopping. Sometimes, you just kinda know. It wasn’t even the same as my usual first few miles where I question my sanity and swear I will never run again lol. That’s the normal thought process for me in a race when it’s tough. I can’t run through dizzy and certainly didn’t feel the need to complete just to say I completed. I know I can run and that is enough for me sometimes.

  • Amanda @ .running with spoons. April 14, 2014, 6:38 pm

    This is the kind of thing I like to hear. Well, not that you weren’t feeling well, but that you were smart about it and stopped running instead of pushing yourself too hard and ending up doing some serious damage. Hearing stories about people literally running themselves to death is a scary thing… I’d rather you didn’t go that route, if it’s all the same to you 😛 There will always be more races, hopefully at more opportune times 😉

  • Kim April 14, 2014, 8:17 pm

    Hooray for you for listening to your body and knowing that you needed to stop running. I think that is much harder to do than pushing on sometimes but it usually ends better!!!
    I hope that you are back to feeling 100%!
    I quit a race back in October and because they made some changes to it, I’m actually going to have a chance in just over 3 weeks to try it again!!!

  • Alison Smith April 20, 2014, 11:35 am

    Why to listen to your body! I’ve never ran a half so 8 miles is still awesome!

    • The Cookie ChRUNicles April 21, 2014, 2:07 pm

      Aw thanks! It’s not easy to decide to stop but it is best to always listen to your body.

  • jill conyers April 21, 2014, 4:59 am

    If I’ve learned anything in all my years of running it’s listen to your body even if that means stop. The salad looks yummy!
    jill conyers recently posted…Final Week of P90X3 and Menu PlanningMy Profile