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!
What has motivated you to get through a difficult race?