The 2013 Florida Holiday Halfathon Recap AKA The Migraine Race


Let me first say thank you to all of you who wished me well and I am happy to report that sometime late last night, the migraine did go away and I am feeling much better now. I’d also like to say the while I did make it through the race unscathed, I do not suggest ever running with a migraine headache, it just plain sucked!

So, as I mentioned in my last post, I awoke at 4am and I still had a migraine from the night before. I tried everything I could think of but it wasn’t going away so I decided just to bite the bullet and go for it. I left for the race around 5:30am and arrived around 6am. There was plenty of parking available and I was actually able to park at the packet pick up location which was located at the start line, bonus!

Holiday Halfathon

Start Line

Anyway, from the start I knew this was not going to be a goal race. With a migraine and PMS raging, there was no way it was going to happen. Knowing all of that made it easier for me to relax and just run.

We started just about a minute after 7:30 and the first 3-4 miles were ridiculously windy. Fortunately the wind started to die down around mile 4 just after we ran over the first bridge. I walked for the first time going over the bridge. I’m so glad I did because I tend to take shorter, heaver steps on inclines and I knew my head would not be able to handle that pounding.

The next 3 miles were through residential areas and went by pretty fast. There were ample water stops and all of them offered Gatorade as well, which is what I took because the last thing you want with a migraine is to get dehydrated. The sun came out some time during these miles and I’m not sure if it was just me, but it felt really humid. My head really started to pound just after the 6 mile mark and just after I ate an orange slice, the nausea got really bad.

Just before mile 7 we headed through Seminole Park and right by the restroom which I immediately ran into and proceeded to throw up for about 5 minutes. I looked at my watch and realized that I was almost at mile 7 and only 1 hour and 2 minutes in and there was a moment of delusion when I though I could finish in under 2 if I ran the next 6 miles at a 9 minute pace. Yeah, I know. It only took me about a minute to realize that I just threw up, it was 70 degrees and humid, and I could very easily dehydrate myself and die!

I decided to do the smart thing and slow down. I walked and ran the last 7 miles and it seemed like it took me forever. We ran along the Pinellas Trail until around mile 12 when we entered Taylor Park. Taylor Park couldn’t have come soon enough because I knew this was the last mile and I was anxious for it to be over. The path around the lake was paved but turned into a gravel trail for half of the mile and then back to a paved surface near the finish. My body felt stiff and I knew my hips were going to be killing me after the finish but I was more concerned with the nausea which had returned with a vengeance.

Finish Line

I finished and didn’t even look at the time but I assumed it was around 2:20. Just after removing my timing chip and grabbing my medal I ran down toward the lake and lost my cookies, so to speak.

As a side note, I’d like to say, I’m sorry to anyone who finished just after me if you happened to see that because I’m pretty sure I ruined your after race meal. I just couldn’t hold it any longer and I hope you understand.

After about 15 minutes I made it to the bag retrieval and grabbed my jacket and promptly made my way to the rest area to clean up. I thought about putting some food in my stomach but I knew if I did that I would have to throw up on the shuttle and I didn’t want to risk it. But I should say, they had tables full of food and coolers full of all kinds of things to drink. I wish I could say it was awesome and I enjoyed all of it because I really wanted to but honestly, because of the migraine, the smell just killed me and I had to walk away.

food at the halfathon

Holiday Half

Holiday Halfathon Butt Shot

I made my way over to the shuttle and just missed it by about 10 seconds but fortunately a second one showed up less than 20 minutes later which I heard was a major improvement from last year.

I feel sorry for the poor gentleman who sat beside me because he seemed really nice but I was so nauseas at that point I didn’t want to open my mouth for fear of throwing up so we rode in silence all the way back to the start and it was the most awkward 25 minutes ever.

Once we reached the start and headed toward our cars, I found a little secluded area and threw up yet again. I then managed to make it all the way home without throwing anymore but when I got home, I took a Dramamine and went to sleep for several hours.

My actual chip time was 2:19:57, (obviously I’m a boss at prediction runs, ha!)

It may sound crazy but I liked this course a lot and I loved the fact that it’s a point to point and it’s the only race of the day. The organizers are awesome and they couldn’t have done a better job in my book. Everyone is exceptionally friendly and helpful and you could feel the holiday spirit right from the start. If everyone hadn’t been so nice and full of cheer, I don’t think I could’ve run this race. I know I couldn’t have so I am thankful for that.

Holiday Halfathon Medal and Shirt

I will definitely run this race again next year and if you are anywhere near the area, you should too! I’ll meet you there and maybe next year I wont have a migraine!

Have you ever run a race when you were sick? Did you finish it?

26 thoughts on “The 2013 Florida Holiday Halfathon Recap AKA The Migraine Race

  1. Pushing through with a migraine is an almost impossible feat! I don’t think I would have made it to the start line let alone the finish line. Congratulations on your race!

    PS – Dude in a Speedo? WTF?

    • Thank you. It definitely felt impossible. I wish I would have felt better and could have gotten more shots of speedo dude because it was a little chilly that morning and let me just say, it was not flattering in the least bit, bwah ha ha ha!

    • Thanks Rich. Once I made the decision to go through with the race, I knew there was no way I would let myself DNF. If I had known then what I know now, I probably wouldn’t have run.. but you know what they say about hindsight, 🙂

  2. Oh my goodness! You are tough! I’ve ran a few times while being sick and I have asthma so whenever I get sick it makes it harder to breathe and I sound like a wheezing smoker, but actually I think I would take that over throwing up multiple times! Yikes! I really want to do a holiday sometime, they look so fun 🙂

    • Asthma sounds pretty tough too! I hate running when it’s humid because I can’t breathe, I can’t imagine running with asthma, good for you. I highly suggest a holiday half or full, they are a blast…well, minus the migraine. 🙂

  3. I’m so sorry you had to endure this, yet really amazed at the same time. I would not have run if I had a migraine – and my migraines, tho getting more frequent, have been a lot less painful over time. You are a monster.. but in a good way!
    That race seemed well organized with fantastic views by the way you described it. I’ve been thinking about destination races a lot more often.. hmmm..
    Glad you’re finally feeling better!

    • If you ever decide to run a race down here, you let me know. I’ll be your tour guide, running friend, shopping friend, taxi, whatever you need. I think everybody should run a race in this area at least once. (I predict they’d all be hooked on Florida personally.) 🙂

  4. Great recap and Congrats on finishing! Never ran while being sick but I did (foolishly) run a 5k with a metatarsal stress fracture.. not so fun or smart.:-/

    • Running on a stress facture, bad girl. I hope it’s healed and you’re all better. My Mom broke her foot in a minor car accident a few years ago and we could not get her to stay off of it. It took forever to heal and she still has occasional pain from it.

    • They are worse than awful. My Mom and sister get them too. I usually get at least one a month and sometimes 2. Mine are usually triggered by hormones and stress. Definitely a symptom of PMS and pre race jitters. Unfortunately I have never found a way to prevent them and as far as I know neither has anyone else. But if someone has a solution, I’m open…because they suck! 🙂

  5. Wow I can’t believe you remember all those detail with a rushing migraine …. I don’t get them but my daughter does and I’ve seem how she suffers

    • I know, I had to focus and conentrate on the details to stop myself from throwing up so it actually helped. I would never wish a migraine on anyone, they suck, period.

    • I know right, I wish I would have felt better because I would have really had a chance to take in all the awesomeness of that ridiculous costume. hehe

    • Thanks Kat. I liked the race a lot and I hope next year I feel better. I’d love to do their half challenge. I really like the way they run their races, very organized and well put together.

    • Thanks Meghan, I’ve got several halfs and 2 fulls on the schedule for next year but I’m definitely spacing my races out a little more next year. Whats your next one?

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