Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The toughest race of my life

By Debi:

This past weekend my running buddy, Cecilia and I, along with some other good friends traveled to  run the New Orleans Rock'n'Roll Marathon. Excitement was in the air!

Not only did we travel with friends from Memphis, we also got to meet up with some blogger friends as well, it was so incredible to meet all of these amazing ladies!
From top to bottom: Abby, me, Cecilia, Sarah, Holly and Mindy


Race morning we headed out, nervous but very excited!! Since we vamped up training in December, I have been battling serious IT band pain, and it had been getting worse as we got closer to race day. Cecilia and I talked about how she needed to bring music just in case I needed to stop or turn in at the 1/2. Right before the start we entered our corral, to join up with Abby and the other girls we met at dinner.
The first four miles were amazing! Abby ran with us and we were able to see the other girls while on course. Even though it was humid and borderline misty/rainy, our pace was great, better than expected. Then Cecilia asked to walk, she wasn't feeling good. We kept moving forward until we saw a medical tent at mile 5. They gave her salt packets and gatorade, she was suffering from dehydration due to the heat and humidity. Even though she still wasn't feeling good, she was determined to keep moving forward. It is not my place to tell all that Cecilia went through and what she was feeling, but I can tell you that she moved forward with determination and will! In our training we talked through bad runs, and made the decision that we would stay together no matter, that's why we wore the Fellow Flowers orange flowers in our hair, it represents "fiercely united." I was prepared mentally to say goodbye to her if the pain in my leg flared up, but I was not prepared to say goodbye if she wasn't okay.
At mile 11, Cecilia decided it would be best to turn in for the 1/2 marathon, but she wanted me to continue since I was still feeling good. I was so torn, we've been together since day 1, how could I leave her? But I also knew that it would make her feel worse if I would have cut my race short for her. We had friends that were coincidentally just a few feet behind us at the time, who promised to stay with her, so we hugged each other tight, and separated. I can tell you now, looking back on the race, this is what broke me!

Abby and I continued on together until about mile 19, she had hurt her ankle a few weeks ago and it was really starting to bother her. She pushed me to keep going without her, she's run three marathons on her own, so she didn't need any support. So there I went for the rest of the race.

I do have to note that one of our friends that drove with us came not to race, but to show her support. Mile after mile she was there cheering, holding signs, taking pictures, offering hugs and water (and snickers). Thank you Daniela, your support meant the world to so many of us!

As those miles came and went I thought I was a bad friend for continuing on! But at some point we all have to run our own race. When you sign up for a race, you never know what will happen. Some days everything may go right, but others will test you mentally, physically and emotionally. This was definitely one of the tough ones. I had to remind myself there will always be more races, so instead of thinking of how sad I was that this race didn't go as planned, I concentrated on how strong I was and that I was not going to let this race get the best of me! I knew there was no record being made today, but I still wanted to give it my all. There were so many other people wearing their St. Jude singlets, and every one of them reminded me of why we were out there in the first place, for the kids of St. Jude!

While I am proud that I did it, I have not celebrated this finish.There was so much build up before this race, that the change of outcome still has me in shock. So what's next? I'm not sure yet, but looking forward to it!

Have you ever had a race not go as planned? What did you do?











13 comments:

  1. Races like these are tough....but what matters is you didn't give up. You are an inspiration love! xoxo

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    1. Thank you so much Michelle!! They are tough, but for some reason that's exactly why I love this distance!

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  2. You did the right think. We made sure Cecilia was set before we went on and I was good to go on my own, not feeling badly, just a bit slow and injured.
    Plus that way we all did what was right for us and could celebrate that night.

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    1. Abby, you were such a blessing that day, can't believe a friendship grown over the web could mean so much!! Yes we did what was right for each of us! And that night was a blast, we must do it again!!

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  3. I had trouble when I ran Chicago a few years ago...it was 80 and humid. By mile 8, I knew I was in trouble. Started cramping at mile 14. Called my husband to pick me up at mile 18 (he refused). I hobbled in on fumes in 5:20--a full hour longer than I planned or trained for. sigh.

    Follow me at Taking the Long Way Home (http://oldrunningmom.blogspot.com/)

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    1. Totally understand how you feel!! 80 degrees is about the worst! Can't imagine that heat for a marathon! Will be sure to follow you!

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  4. I saw several people getting sidelined by dehydration that day - that humidity was AWFUL!!! I'm glad Cecilia did what was best for her even though I know how hard it must have been to split off from her and keep going - but you are still a wonderful friend and supporter!!! My one regret from the weekend was that I didn't get to meet you in person :(

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    1. Kristen, I regret that as well!! We must make it happen before Nashville in April!

      That humidity was such a shock to our systems!! Hope you had a great race regardless! Thank you!

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  5. It was great meeting you and you were so sweet and concerned about Cecilia! I know it didn't work out how you planned, but there is always another race!

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    1. Holly, it was so wonderful to meet you too! SO looking forward to the possibility that we can all do a race together in the future!

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  6. You definitely did what was right girl! Cecilia wanted you to finish your race. And you did! I loved getting to meet you and Cecilia!!! We have to do it again!!!

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    1. Mindy it was wonderful to meet you as well!! Can't wait until we can all get together again. With you and Holly being so close, I am sure another meet up is in our future!

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  7. You definitely did what was right girl! Cecilia wanted you to finish your race. And you did! I loved getting to meet you and Cecilia!!! We have to do it again!!!

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