I spent all weekend sick. Friday night my sore throat came back with a vengeance so I skipped my run with the group on Saturday (my last run with them in a month and I couldn’t make it…).
Saturday was a day of running errands (since Wednesday I leave for Brazil to do this). I finally got my hair highlighted, and honestly can’t see much of a difference, WTF. (And how the heck do women do this stuff with frequency? I was at the hair salon for about 2.5 hours!!!) I then hung out with my sister and her family for a bit, and they’re still devastated. I even went to the vet and picked up Luna’s collar, and promptly burst into tears (I’m just glad I got to do that — if I was that emotional receiving her collar from the vet, I can’t even imagine how hard it would have been for my sister or brother-in-law to have to do this).
Saturday night I was still feeling like crap. My throat was much better, but my overall well-being was not. Sunday when the alarm rang I knew I shouldn’t be running while I still have the flu. Sure, my fever had dissipated by then, but I was still very much sick, coughing things up (yuck). But Hugi was running the Veterans Day 10k with me and we had signed up together. Plus, it was going to be my last race of the year too.
I had given up on my PR, I was feeling miserable before the run, and I knew it would only get worse when I started moving (and I was right). I considered going and not running, but it was too cold to stand around. So I figured I would run with no time expectations. After a bit of a parking challenge, I ended up missing the group by a mere 3 minutes.
To add to my morning’s frustration, I also forgot to grab my Garmin on my way out of the house. I don’t run for a week and already have my whole pre-run routine out of whack!
It was really cold at the start, but because I was sick, I promised myself that no matter how warm I got, I would not take off my layers, with exception of my ear warmer. I had on capris, my long-sleeve running shirt, my awesome MCM windbreaker (I NEVER run with a windbreaker because it makes me too warm), gloves and ear warmer.
The race was very very very crowded. The course is perfect for a PR, since it’s an out and back course down Ohio Dr. into Hains Point — for those of you not from the area, this is 100% flat, except for a minuscule bridge over the end of the Tidal Basin. But this race is not a PR-appropriate race, because of the crowds.
It was super crowded from the start, trying to fit roughly 2,300 people on a 4 lane road, that condenses into two lanes after the first half mile. To make matters worse, since it’s an out-and-back course, as soon as the fast people start coming through, everyone is then squishing into one lane until the very end. I had to deal with people coming in the opposite way, taking more than their lane and had to dodge them around. (Seriously, folks, sure, you’re going into the incoming lane in order to pass people, but it’s YOUR responsibility to dodge the runners coming in the opposite direction, not the other way around! If I’m staying within my lane, get out of my way!)
I tagged along with Hugi for about a mile and a half, but I was feeling absolutely miserable. Not only was I considering walking until the finish, but for the first time ever, in any race I’ve ever done, I considered quitting. I thought: “I can go onto the side, rip off my bib and timing chip, and just walk back on the grass. No one will know I’m a quitter. And I don’t care if I’m one, I’m sick!” But somehow I kept moving along.
Instead, I told Hugi to keep pushing forward, that I was going to slow down a bit. I figured if I slow down first, I might not have to walk.
I was warm, removed my ear warmer, but just as I had promised, I didn’t take anything else off. I knew it was cold out, and having the flu, not having enough layers would just make it worse. I was having a really tough time, and felt like I was running super-slow. I didn’t have a watch, the mile-markers were not timed, so I could only guess how slow I was running. I figured it was probably a 12:30 pace, maybe even slower. I kept slowing down as the miles come by. I was truly miserable the whole time, and just wanted this to be over with. I was actually glad I didn’t have my Garmin, otherwise I know I would be more worried about my pace.
Once I hit the third mile marker, I knew I would have to finish, quitting was not longer an option (the joys of an out and back course). I didn’t want to walk, because I knew that would just delay the time I was out there on the cold, plus I knew I would start feeling cold if I stopped. So I kept slogging my way through, and only allowed myself to quickly walk at the water stops (there were two — at mile 2 and 4).
This was my third worse race experience ever (first being the Zooma Half Marathon, second being the Riverfront Revolution 10k from last year). This time, it was not the race’s fault though (while the other two experiences had all to do with bad race logistics and organization), this was absolutely my fault.
To sum it up: I really should not have run yesterday. It wasn’t just a cold, it was the flu. I was miserable the whole time, coughing and blowing my nose.
During the whole race people constantly passed me, I knew I was going slower and slower. When we finally passed the Tidal Basin bridge again, I could see the finish line, but had nothing on me to try to go faster (you know when it feels like you’ve been sprinting the whole time, even though you know you’re not? Ugh).
I told myself that I would push it after I passed the 6 mile marker, so when I passed it, I pushed as much as I could, and actually crossed the finish line on a true sprint, looking strong (but truly about to pass out).
I was surprised the time at the finish said 1:04:32. So I did get a PR after all, even if I didn’t break the hour mark. Later, when the official results came out, I was further surprised that my net finish time was 1:03:30 — a 10:14 pace. (Hugi kicked ass, by the way, finishing in 59:06 — a 2 minute PR from the MCM 10k two weeks ago!) So even though I was far from my goal of breaking an hour, I still took over a minute per mile off last year’s PR.
I guess not having a Garmin helped in a sense that if I had it, and knew how fast I was moving, I would have forced myself to slow down to a more tolerable 12 min/mile pace.
My breathing was a mess after I finished, everything hurt. I stumbled out for some water, then we grabbed a banana and bagel and headed home.
I got home and promptly collapsed into bed. I told Karl to wake me up in an hour, but I ended up waking up two hours later — he said he had tried to wake me up a few times with no luck (I don’t remember that at all!). I was up for a couple of hours, but had to head back to bed again with a horrible headache and dizziness.
To sum up? Sure, I got a PR, but I really wish I hadn’t run. I can file that under “Carla’s stupid decisions”
Sunday was a waste of a day off (I was supposed to be cleaning and packing, I leave for Brazil in 2 days!), and I spent the whole day feeling sick. I could have avoided it by taking it easy and staying home instead.