Race Report: St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon

I’ve been putting off writing this recap for a lot of reasons.  Honestly, I thought about not even doing a recap, but I kind of felt like I owed it to myself.  It’ll give me something to look back on as a reminder of how miserable I can make myself during a race.

You’ll notice the lack of photos.  I never even took my phone or camera out.  I just wasn’t in that happy picture-taking frame of mind.

I had been sick the week leading up to the race.  Not deathly ill, mind you, but I had one mother of a head and chest cold.  At least I guess that’s all it was.  My stubborn ass never went to the doctor.  But I seriously don’t think I’ve ever coughed so much in my life.  It interfered with everything I tried to do…running, sleeping, talking… but especially sleeping.  There wasn’t a single night in the week leading up to the race that I got more than 4 hours of sleep.  Every time I started to doze off, I would wake up coughing and gagging.  (The honey remedy I mentioned in a previous post proved to be effective in the very short-term only.)  And what little sleep I did manage to get was in an unrestful, uncomfortable sitting-up position on the couch.  I took off work Friday hoping to get a little extra rest before we drove to Memphis.  D was coming with me, and he couldn’t leave work before 3 or so, so that gave me all day to try to relax and rejuvenate a little bit.

I wish I could say that I did just that, but I’d be lying.

The plan was to get to Memphis, check into the hotel, go to the expo, and meet up with some friends for dinner.  None of that worked out exactly as planned.  We were later leaving than we planned and sat in traffic for about 40 minutes because of a wreck on I-40.  We knew we wouldn’t have time to get to the hotel, so we drove straight to the expo.  I ran in long enough to grab my bib and shirt and was back out the door.  We met up with our friends at Kooky Canuck’s, which was fun, but I just wasn’t feeling well, and I was soooooooo sleepy by the time we left there, which wasn’t until nearly 10:00.  I had planned to be asleep by 10:00.  Instead, by the time we got to the hotel, got checked in, got my crap together for the next morning, etc., it was nearly 12 before I got in the bed, and after 1 by the time I was able to go to sleep.  After waking up a couple of times through the night, when the alarm went off at 5:45, I had had another night of not nearly enough sleep.

Dressed, breakfast, walked to start line, blah blah blah… and then this race just almost didn’t happen for me.  The week of physical and mental exhaustion caught up with me and I started crying right there in the starting corral.  I did NOT want to run this race.  I wanted nothing more than to leave.  I told D if it hadn’t been for all the money wasted on entry, hotel, gas, etc., I would just say, “Eff it, let’s go.”  He told me he had been wanting to talk me out of running this thing sick for a week, but he told me he would support whatever I wanted to do.  After a lot of debating I decided to just suck it up and do it.  But then I told D that he had better just leave so that I couldn’t change my mind.  So he left me there in the corral in tears just a few minutes before gun time.  I was defeated before I even started.

I wish I could say that once I started running I felt better, but I’d be lying.  I was so fatigued, and I had no mental strength left to pull me through.

I wish I could say that I tried to make the best of it by soaking in the course and the emotion and everything St. Jude stands for, but I’d be lying.  Instead I chose to be a self-pitying little bitch.  I just turned up my iPod as loud as I could stand it and went inside my head and just did what I had to do to keep moving forward.  When I say I tuned everything out, I mean I TUNED EVERYTHING OUT.  I’m reading everyone’s recaps about the excitement of running on Beale Street, the power of running through St. Jude…  and I’m thinking, “Was I really even there???”  Because I honestly don’t remember any of it.  The most vivid memory I have of the whole 13.1 was running into the zoo and smelling the stink.  That was the first thing I’ve smelled in a week.

I wish I could say that I was so over the run that I ran it fast to get it over with, but I’d be lying.  I ran some, I walked a lot, I stopped to heave when I coughed to the point of gagging, I walked off the course to blow snot rockets in the grass.

When I crossed the finish line 2:38:36 later, I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.  D texted me to tell me where he was in the stadium.  I found him and we got the hell out of there.  I think I was asleep before we got out of the city limits and slept most of the way home.

I have nothing but regrets relating to this race.  I regret not training better for it.  I can’t help but wonder if trying to do too much in the couple of weeks before the race is what led me to get sick to begin with.  I regret running it when I knew I wasn’t feeling up to it.  I regret not going into it with a better attitude after I made the decision to go ahead and do it.  I regret missing out on all the things everyone else saw and experienced on the course.

I’m not posting this looking for pep talks or reassurances or anything of the sort.  I know that it all stemmed from sheer exhaustion and a piss-poor attitude.  But I’ve got a feeling that this one will haunt me for a little while to come.

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8 thoughts on “Race Report: St. Jude Memphis Half Marathon

  1. Well, damn. Shitty races happen, right? Sounds like it was the culmination to a couple crappy weeks. At least you can pretty confidently say that the next one will be better.

    I hope you are feeling better!

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  2. Hope you are feeling better now! Just try to forget about this one…the fact that you still did it without mentally and physically wanting to be there still says something!

    Like

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