Why I didn’t P.R. or How I Became a Die Hard Runner at Mile 10

Well, I guess I missed a post yesterday, didn’t I? Sorry about that, I had an excruciating migraine headache probably due to stress or worry or something, but in case you’re wondering, no, I didn’t get a P.R. at the Blue Moon half Marathon yesterday. I finished in 2:06:54, official chip time.

blue moon half medal

I’ll have a full recap and review for you tomorrow but in the meantime, let me tell you briefly why I didn’t PR.

Last week, Mom and I were running around a lot and even though I was able to run, I didn’t run as much as I would have liked and I ate sort of crappy. I didn’t realize just how crappy until Thursday or Friday of last week when I got stomach cramps while running and so I tried to clean up my diet at the last minute.

Unfortunately, on Saturday I ate 3 bagels because we were busy and they are quick and easy and hello, carbs! I just didn’t think about the fact that my bagels have 7 grams of fiber each…yeah, I know, but all I was thinking is carbs for the race and I didn’t eat anything after 9 on Saturday evening so I thought everything was good.

On Sunday morning I woke up feeling great. Because of the time change I woke up at 4:30 instead of my usual 5:30 and couldn’t go back to sleep. No worries, I got up and started to prepare for the race. About 6:30 I started to get worried when I realized I hadn’t been able to go to the bathroom but we had to leave, so off we went and at start time I still hadn’t been able to go. My biggest worry was that I would get cramps and have to slow down. Little did I know…..

I started the race strong and was holding a 9:05 pace all the way through the 8th mile. I was well on my way to a sub 2 and I felt strong and was ready to push harder and finish the last 5 miles.

Then mile 9 happened.

Mile 9 will forever be emblazoned in my mind as the desperation and countdown to humiliation mile. My lower stomach began to cramp, my hands became clammy and sweat began to form on my brow.

Two minutes to blast off, we are approaching Defcon 1, Elvis is leaving the building! IT’S GO TIME! Must find restroom NOW.

I ran to the next volunteer and then stopped and asked where the nearest restroom was. She wasn’t sure. I seemed to remember the pre race email stating there was a restroom at mile 9.5 or 9.75 so I continued on and slowly started to run to the next volunteer, where is the next restroom?

She told me but guess what? I couldn’t find it. Mile 9 was finished in 10:35 and I was now pissed. I was waisting precious time. My sub 2 was disappearing before my very eyes. Desperation was at an all time high!

As mile 10 began I knew I had precious few minutes left. I thought about running across 6 lanes of traffic to hit the McDonalds, or darting behind the homes along the course. I thought about the embarrassment of NOT finding a suitable place and what that outcome would be, and then I did the only thing I could do. I found a trail that looked like it led to a park or an area that might have had a bathroom and so I followed it, except that it only led to another road and a bunch of houses on the other side. Lucky for me there was a thick patch of trees in between.

And that, my friends, is when I became a die-hard runner. I pulled those shorts to the side and I Paula Radcliffe’d right there. Right there amongst the privacy of those trees, I spent 5 of the most uncomfortable moments of my life, and then I ran back to the race and joined the group as if nothing had happened.

When I crossed the finish line and saw the time, I was heartbroken because I knew I could have had a sub 2 finish and I didn’t.

Later, when I told MacGyver what had happened he laughed his head off but when he finally stopped laughing he said, ‘hey, look at it this way, You still finished with a good time and you beat a lot of people, and in reality you did better than a lot of the people who finished ahead of you because none of those people had to stop and take a shit.”

Thanks honey. I feel so much better.

Please tell me you’ve had an embarrassing moment during a race? Anything? Please share it with me.

18 thoughts on “Why I didn’t P.R. or How I Became a Die Hard Runner at Mile 10

  1. As I like to say, Shit happens. All my friends laugh at my frankness, but I have struggled for years with GI issues. So i am so WHATEVERRRRRRRRRR when this happens. In a race. On a training run. Once i pooped less than a kilometre from the finish. On another half marathon, i once got seriously sick and spent 10+ minutes in the porta potty bawling and crapping my guts out. (THERE went my personal best.) Its a running joke that before EVERY race I have a portapotty shot (usually me coming out of one!) For most of last year I had gotten it all under control . But this year again I have had issues again. Ah well….it is like a perfect storm…diet, stress management, hydration….it all has to come together. oh and as for your time! Goo for you….gawwwd. I so WISH i could come close to 2 hours! 🙂

    • Thanks Tina. Shit does happen. I’m realizing that it will probably happen again and again and again, LOL. Thanks for sharing your story and you will get close to 2 hours, you will!

  2. This is one of my BIGGEST race fears, however I am fortunate enough to have the opposite problem pre-race.. So far it has not been an issue.
    But, I have had disasters with hydration. I still cannot imagine how i finished my second marathon with as little as I had for drink.. Very scary.
    Thanks for sharing your pain. I am sure that sub 2 will come next time!

  3. Thanks for sharing your discomfort with us all, Flower, this post DID kind of give me the giggles!(although I missed the wildlife…) Good on you for persevering, though, and getting ‘er done! Oh yeah, and finishing the race, too!!

    • It would have probably made for a better read if a skunk or a deer would have come out in my moment of uh, you know, maybe next time, LOL

  4. I’ve been plagued with tummy troubles for almost 2 years now, but never experienced my tummy troubles until this summer during a half marathon. Just after the mile 4 porta-potty, I started experiencing some minor lower stomach cramping which I knew was a pretty bad sign that I should have stopped when I had the chance. I somehow managed to run another 3 miles but when I hit mile 7 I did not know if I would make it any further! Luckily, there was a porta-potty at around 7.25 miles and I hopped in there, and well, about 15 minutes later I finally emerged. It was pretty embarrassing considering my boyfriend had been riding his bike along with me for support while I ran so clearly he knew what was up. But it was even worse because when I emerged, one of the volunteer handed me a cup of Gatorade and said I should probably replenish my electrolytes. :/ So embarrassing!

    You still had a great time despite your woes, and I am certain you will be sub-2ing in no time!

    • Thank you. I guess I can look at the bright side and be glad no one handed me a gatorade when I ran out of the woods, I think I would have died! LOL

  5. I left this detail out of my recap, but at the Houston Half Marathon last weekend, I ran the last 3 miles with horrible cramps, and just barely made it to the porta-potties at the finish line – because every single aid station in those last 3 miles had lines waiting, and I was literally afraid to stop moving, because I knew something else WOULD move :O Sorry so graphic, but it is what it is…and for the record, I finished 2:06:38, so you stopped, I didn’t, and it still came out about the same – good on you!

    • Awe, thanks Nick. I’m so glad I’m not alone. I’m hoping I’ll get my sub 2 at the next one in 3 weeks or at the very least, the port o potties will be easy to find and wont cost me too much time, LOL.

  6. First off it was great seeing you! You are so much fun! Secondly You absolutely need to be proud of your time, poop or no poop it’s a super showing for a half. And last, I’ve absolutely had the same experience ….. Many times but not in a race… Yet. It usually happens to me on my predawn 7-9 milers before school. I’ve learned where dark open lots are or where there is a sewer (not under a streetlight) so I let it go and kick it in the sewer…. Ooooo so graphic ….sorry…..SO be proud it happens and it will probably happen again!!!

    • Thank you Cheryl, you are so sweet and I am so glad I got to see you too. And, if you ever wanna go run the causeway, let me know. I think we can run from Clearwater all the way to Tampa now so it might be a fun weekend long run. I’m gonna check it out this weekend and see how far I can go and if it’s blocked off at all. I’ll let you know if its open all the way and maybe we can run it sometime, (big bonus, I know where the port o potties are, LOL) and I cant wait to see you at the next race!

  7. I’ve never had a poop incident on the course, but I’ve had to pee plenty of times. Last time was during the Gasparilla 1/2 Marathon 2013. I just had to go and we were only at mile 4!!

    • I always have to pee and I was hoping that would be the worst thing that happened since I can always find a way to hide that, but the poop thing freaked me out. I’ve run 30 miles without having that happen before. I guess as we get older the bowels are one of the first things to go…oh well. LOL

  8. I’ve peed myself during a race before. I was wearing compression shorts under a skirt. I acted like I was tying my shoe and just peed. What saved me is that it was absolutely pouring, so I was soaked already!

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