The PF Chang Rock n'Roll Half race report. Hmmmmmm.....let me say that the phrase crash and burn doesn't even touch what happened to me. It was by far the worst I have ever felt in a race (and God willing the last). However, I did learn a lot and it was a great race.
My poor brother was coming down with a cold when we arrived 2 days before and the germs decided to attach themselves to me. The day before the race I started to feel the undeniable burn in the chest and tickle in the throat of a cold. I was hoping that the cold wouldn't come to full force until after the race. I had to hold out one more day. But by Saturday night the cough started. Shit. Shit. Shit. I didn't let it get to me because it wasn't bad and I was sure it wouldn't effect me on the course. Yeah, right.
Sunday morning we wake up bright and early to head out to downtown Phoenix. My brother's partner was our navigator and Nick was our driver. It worked out perfect because we managed to beat the chaos of the traffic and found a spot to bail out of the car and walk to the holding area. It was still dark and a wee bit chilly. I had my throw away long sleeved shirt on and felt fairly comfortable. My cough was only a tickle so I wasn't worried about that and I didn't drink the night before only water so I felt fairly hydrated. While we were hanging around I decided that since this is the Rock n'Roll Half there would be music everywhere so I ditched my headphones thinking that I won't need them. Boy could I kick myself in the ass. Off we go to our corral.
Uh oh. I have to pee. Of course. And I have to pee bad. The lines to the Porto's are insanely long. No way I would make it to my corral in time even with a staggered start. On my way to my corral I am looking for any place for me to dodge and hide, but damnit this is Arizona! Not a lot of shrubs, trees, and ground cover! Unless I want to get a few cactus needles in my ass. I think not. On my way I see there are Porto's along the way in front of some corral's. Right in front of my are a few and I managed to sneak in line to pee. Couldn't have timed it any better. Bladder empty. Check. Feeling pretty good. Check. Ready to run. No so much.
The sun came out and it was gorgeous. The weather was perfect. Blue skies, full sun, not a cloud in sight. Ah, heaven. At least for the first 6 miles. I started out strong. After the first mile I peeled off my long sleeved shirt and just enjoyed running in the warm weather. Hit mile 3 and I was happy. My leg didn't hurt and I was cruising at a fairly fast clip for me. Around a 9:30 mile. But I knew it was a little too fast because my tempo runs were between 9:00-9:15. But I couldn't bring myself to slow my pace. At mile five, I though okay, you are starting to get a little tired so you need to watch yourself. Hydrate. Hmmmm....something was wrong.
I don't know what happened. How it happened. But when I hit mile six everything fell apart. I stopped, took my gel, drank some water and some Gatorade. Instead of feeling better. I felt sick. It was like I couldn't process the water and it just sat there in my stomach. Heavy, sloshing around. Uh oh. This is bad. I still have 6 miles to go.
Of course it doesn't help I don't have my headphones. There are bands, but you are running in more quiet than music. Most of the course I am alone with my thoughts and the only thing I can think of is how dry my lips are and I want more water but I can't drink any more water without wanting to projectile vomit everywhere. Around mile 8 I noticed that I started getting the chills and chicken skin. Sure signs of dehydration, but every time I drank even a little bit of water I felt so nauseous. There was one point on the course when we came to a bridge and I thought for sure I was going to get sick. I was frantically looking everywhere for a place to throw-up because I didn't want to get sick on the bridge! There is no where for the runners behind me to go except...ewwwww....I can't even write it down. At this point it is sheer survival mode. My strategy was to walk for one minute and run 10. At mile 11 and 12 it was walk .25 mile and then gut it out. It. Was. Brutal. There were a couple times were I thought for sure I wasn't going to finish. The only thing that made me feel better was I wasn't the only one having a tough time out there on the course. Along the way I witnessed a lot of carnage. People walking, laying on the ground, looking miserable etc. It was a tough day for a lot of us.
My finish time was 2:16:00. 7 minutes slower than my first half in October, but I will take it. My thoughts are that I think it was a combo of a lot of things that came together to create a perfect storm. What I did learn was to have salt tabs with me and my headphones!
That night my cold came full force. Bill caught it the next day and then his dad. Sorry guys. But misery does love company.