I almost pooped my pants on Saturday.
Did I get your attention? Good! Excuse me for being so direct, but we’re all adults here, and I know that some of you have had the EXACT same feeling during a race. Let’s back up a little bit. On Saturday, I ran the AirBnB Brooklyn Half Marathon. I trained for 12 weeks and I felt pretty prepared. This was my third year running the race so I knew what to expect as far as the course layout, etc. You can read my recaps from 2015 and 2016. Let’s get into the details of my epic crash and burn half marathon.
I went to bed early on Friday night, but that 4:30 am wake up call on Saturday morning was rough! I live about an hour away from Brooklyn and this race starts early (my wave started at 7:45am) so we left the house around 5:20/5:30. I made a piece of toast to bring to eat on the ride there. I can’t stomach a lot of food before a long run.
You really couldn’t beat the weather on race morning. It was 60 degrees with low humidity and semi-sunny – it was just perfect! It took about 20 minutes to get through security and then we found our corrals. The corrals were hella crowded because the porta potty lines were spilling into all the corrals. This was the same complaint I had about last year’s race, but I guess there’s no easy alternative to this. I wished my mom good luck and left her with some encouraging words before we went into our separate corrals.
The beginning of the race is pretty cool. You get to run down Flatbush Avenue, pass the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Brooklyn Museum. This part of the race is an out and back so you get to cheer on runners on the other side as you run by. I told myself that I was going to run conservative for the first 3 miles. I actually knew this race would be trouble for me after mile 1. I clocked in at 11:06 and 11:12 for the first two miles. This was problematic because I felt like I was running faster. Nothing was wrong with the time per mile, but I was worried about my effort. I clocked in at 10:40 for mile 3 which was fine.
These miles are all in Prospect Park and it’s the only part of the course with substantial hills. This part of the race KILLED me. I’ve had some issues with sore knees the last two weeks and running the hills was putting a lot of pressure on my right knee. It was screaming at me to stop and walk, so that’s what I had to to. I ran pain-free when I could, but once my knee started talking to me, I listened. This was by far the least enjoyable part of the course for me. Also I had been dealing with a few GI issues since mile 4 and they kept getting worse as the miles ticked on. Little did I know that the real sh*tshow was just starting.
The remainder of the race is on Ocean Parkway and ending at the Coney Island Boardwalk. To me this is the best part of the race because there’s a lot more open space and usually a lot of spectators!
Between miles 7-8 I got a pretty bad calf cramp. This has never happened to me during a race so I was a little surprised. I tried to rub my calf as I was running but that didn’t help, so I had to stop and try to massage the knot out. Let me tell you, that wasn’t a fun experience. I walked a little more and then started back running, slowly.
My GI issues started to get really bad at this point. Every time I took a sip of water+Nuun from my handheld, my stomach would go nuts. In addition, my mom forgot her gels at home, so I gave her mine. This meant I had no fuel but there were PowerBar gels on the course, so I took one of those. I’ve had this brand in the past and it agreed with me so I thought it would be okay. Well they had these things called PowerBar Simple Fruit energy gels. I’ve never seen them before, but I had no choice and had to take one. I took in a very small amount and immediately threw away the rest – it was horrible.
After that, my stomach was in full “WTF” mode. I couldn’t even run because running made me want to do you know what. Finally I decided to stop at a porta potty because I just couldn’t take it anymore. I waited in line for a few minutes, got inside the port potty and froze. I just couldn’t do it. The smell was making me nauseous and it looked like a damn crime scene in there. I ended up shuffling and walking the next 3 miles and hoping and praying that I could avoid #poopgate.
But thank the sweet Lord Baby Jesus, I made it to the finish line without an accident!
So let’s just recap – knee issues, a calf cramp and a seriously angry stomach. Was it the race I was hoping for? HELL NO! After training for 12 weeks, this was not the race I wanted at all, but guess what? I didn’t DNF and I finished and crossed the finish line of my 31st half marathon, and for that, I am nothing but grateful!
I appreciate that goodie bags were offered after the race. There is nothing worse than trying to hold water and food items after a race. I also saw volunteers handing out apples. A bag makes it so much easy to carry everything!
This race puts on an awesome post-race party. Unfortunately it was a little cold, and raining, so my mom and I did not stay for the party.
Oh, and before I forget, take a look at the awesome race shirt and medal!
I still felt pretty crappy when I got home and finally started to feel better later on that evening. I have no clue why my stomach revolted on me like that. I didn’t eat anything out of the ordinary on Friday, so I shouldn’t have had any issues. This is a prime example of you never know what you’ll get on race day. I’m not going to dwell on it anymore. Not all races can be great, and that’s okay.
I don’t have too much time to focus on this race since I started training for the Chicago Marathon on Monday!
I’m looking forward to 20 weeks of training for this awesome marathon. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Chicago Marathon and I really can’t wait!
I’m linking up with Annmarie from The Fit Foodie Mama, Jen from Pretty Little Grub and Nicole from FitFul Focus for Wild Workout Wednesday.
I’m also linking up with Rachel from Running on Happy, Susie from Suzlyfe, Lora from Crazy Running Girl, and Debbie from Coach Debbie Runs for Coaches’ Corner!
What has motivated you to get through a difficult race?
Lisa @ Mile by Mile says
How frustrating to have so many issues pop up- and it sounds like they were all so random! Its awesome that you were able to push through and finish anyway. And at least you can start focusing on Chicago now!
Thanks Lisa! You’re so right, it was all so random. I just had to laugh at it to stop from crying!
Oh man. Sorry about all of it. At least it all happened in one race so hopefully its all out of your system. Sounds like you’re being a really good sport about it. Sometimes that’s all you can do and keeping a sense of humor about it is the best thing you can do. Love the medal and swag and totally agree it’s awesome when they give you a post-race feed bag. Congrats on pushing through!
Thanks Marcia. I hope that you are right that I got all of the craziness out of my system, lol. Having a sense of humor got me through the race, that’s for sure.
Wow, I’m surprised you were able to push through all those issue. You should be proud of that for sure! The shirt really is fantastic and the medal is cool too. But the shirt! (I’ve gotten so many boring race shirts this year …)
Thanks! I’m happy that I was able to finish because it didn’t looks to good there for a while, lol. I think the shirt is really cool too – I love the color!
Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home says
As you know, I’ve been there…many times. I feel like I prepare so well the week before a race and when that happens, I get so mad. At least you were able to stave off disaster and finish the race! Congrats and yes, that is awesome bling!
I knew you would understand, but you are SO right, it’s so darn frustrating! Around mile 11 I just had to laugh at the entire situation to get though the race.
Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner says
You know you can never know what might pop up on race day. Like I mentioned before, the real accomplishment in my opinion is the training and discipline.
I love your thought process about that because it’s so true – the training is the real accomplishment and the race should be the icing on the cake.
Kate @ Did That Just Happen Blog says
I just signed up for my first half – and it’s a destination one, and it will be a night race, and I always run in the morning. So on top of the fact that I can’t run that far, yet, I also have several other items stacked against me – BUT, reading about how every racer can go through unexpected issues, and how you power through and modify to fit what is up with your body, makes me feel better and feel like I can do it!
Congrats on signing up for your first half marathon!! You can definitely do it! So much of running is mental. I hope that you don’t have any unexpected issues on race day, but if you do, I have no doubt that you will power through!
Janelle @ Run With No Regrets says
Congratulations on your race! Oh man, running and having GI issues is the worst…but you handled yourself great and got that finish! I didn’t realize you’ve run 31 half marathons, wow! And congrats to your mom too 🙂
Can’t wait to follow your Chicago training!! I know I’m gonna have serious FOMO!
Thanks Janelle! I’ll pass the congrats along to my mom 🙂 GI issues are the most frustrating because it’s just totally out of your control.
Nicole @ Fitful Focus says
Oh man! I’m sorry you had such a rough race. That race was my hardest ever last year because I ran it with a fever. I hope your knees and stomach are feeling better. Redemption in Chicago!
Oh wow, I can’t imagine running that race with a fever – you’re a real trooper!
HoHo Runs says
I know it is not funny, but you had me laughing (Talladega Nights #poopgate HA HA). I don’t like it when they hand you so much stuff at the finish. You’ve already got your phone out on top of all that other stuff you’re juggling. Bags are a great idea! Was it humid? That usually causes my cramps. Or HILLS? Ugh. Great job in persevering! You definitely earned that beautiful medal. Congrats on #31!
Laughing is the only thing that got me through the race, so I needed to add a bit of humor to the race recap blog post, lol. I also laughed when I found the Talladega Nights meme.
It wasn’t really humid (50% humidity), so I’m still not sure why I got the calf cramp – oh well, just another mystery lol
Kimberly Hatting says
I did a 13.1 a few years ago and had a very similar experience. I had been on antibiotics for a couple days prior and thought nothing of it…only to discover AFTER the race (when I was back home) that a side affect was diarrhea AND loss of appetite. I had not eaten much (because I was not hungry) and my tummy felt like it was gonna explode for most of the race. Oh, and this race was on a trail in a park with NO porta-pots after mile 5 or 6. Yes. It also was a hot/humid day and my calves kept cramping…so I had to stop and walk…which just prolonged the journey to the finish line LOL But I made it with no accidents, though it was one of my most miserable (and slow) 13.1’s ever. Lesson learned? Read the fine print on the pill bottle LOL
oh my god, that sounds horrible! I’m so sorry you had to go through that! Kudos to you for getting through that race. I can’t believe that there were no porta potties after mile 6 – that’s just crazy!!
Sorry to hear about your rough race, but like you said, you did not give up and that’s what matters! Great job in your perseverance! I always like when races offer bags at the end of the race as well for all your goodies. You just got done exerting yourself so much and then they expect you to carry all this stuff they give you at the end.
Thanks so much Lacey. I was very happy to just finish this race – it was a struggle! I agree with you – I wish more races would offer bags at the end for all the post-race goodies!
It’s always maddening when sh*t happens (literally) after all of that training, but good job sticking to it and finishing anyway. Good luck on your marathon training!
It was definitely annoying, but I was happy to finish the race and avoid any accidents!
Abby @BackatSquareZero says
Oh my gosh sorry this has not happened to me at a race – but I could tell you a story about a long run once that is both hilarious and disgusting. We have all been there, again so sorry it was at a race.
I think we’ve all been there before – some cases more extreme than others, lol. I really hope that I never experience #poopgate again, but on Saturday I just had to laugh at a certain point because everything was so ridiculous.
Debbie @ Deb Runs says
Congrats on finishing the race under some pretty bad circumstances! I totally get the stomach issues and how they can derail a race. At the halfway point I was on course to PR the Baltimore Marathon one year, but after two miles of butt-clinched-walking until I could find a porta potty or bush so I wouldn’t poop my pants, I was thankful to finish the race in clean shorts.
OMG – it’s so annoying right?! It’s amazing how stomach issues can totally derail a race! Like you, I was so happy that I finished the race with clean pants.
As I mentioned on IG, I’m just so glad it was the poops instead of the IT bands! Pooping is so much easier to recover from!
Congrats on your 31st finish?! OMG. And also, this post made me LOL. For real. #poopgate
Yes, the one time I DON’T have ITB pain, I have the poops – I mean how comical is that?! I’m glad that you were able to laugh at this post 🙂 Here’s to never (hopefully) experiencing #poopgate again, LOL.
OMgosh, just getting to the finish line when I was about to pee my pants was my motivation in a race once. I thought I had made it, but then saw the line for the port-o-potties. I ended up around the corner in a bank parking lot…thankfully the bank was closed and there were cars parked there to provide cover! It was so embarrassing!!
When you have to go, you have to go! I would have done the same thing in your situation!
Oooh no!!! SO sorry about your stomach but your recap did make me laugh a little only because I can relate!!! We have definitely ALL been there!
I’m glad the recap made you laugh! It makes me feel better knowing that all runners have experience something like this at one point and time!
Elaine @myRUNexperiment says
Making it to the finish line despite all the issues you had is a big accomplishment! I’m running Chicago as well. This week is supposed to be the start of my 20 week training but my foot is not allowing me to run yet. Hoping it will clear up in 2 weeks so I can start at week 18.
That’s awesome that you are also running Chicago!! I hope that your foot feels better soon. You are smart to rest and let it heal properly before starting training!
Anna @ Pipers Run says
Stomach problems during a race is the worst and Porta pottys aren’t my favourite place to “go”. Sorry it wasn’t the race you wanted but wow 31 half marathons, you go girl!
Thanks so much Anna. I was never so happy to see a finish line 🙂
Sorry you had such issues, but congrats on finishing! I love the medal!!!!
Thanks so much Toni!
Jen @ SprinklesHikes.com says
I can’t stomach a lot before a long run either so I totally understand your GI issues! Sorry you had a crap-tastic race, but that shirt and medal sure are cool 🙂
I’m always at people that can have a full breakfast before a run. That would make me so sick!
Zenaida Arroyo says
Oh man, so sorry that happened and you had that awful bathroom experience!!! Have you tried Huma PLUS? They have sea salt with coconut water (very minimal) and are really good. Also, try UCAN. That is also supposed to be easy on the stomach. Girl, you got a marathon to train for and no time for stomach issues!!!
I have some UCAN products that I will start using because I’ve heard great things about them! I will also look for Huma PLUS at my local Fleet Feet store (hopefully they have it)! You are so right – I have NO time for these crazy stomach issues!
Kathryn @ Dancing to Running says
This definitely wasn’t the race that you trained for, but unfortunately we sometimes face completely unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances on race morning. The important thing is that you did cross the finish line. You’ll get it next time!
Definitely! I crossed the finish line and I was thrilled about that!