DNF

Well, that didn't go as planned.  I got my very first DNF (did not finish) at the marathon a week ago.  It was a surreal experience to train for months on end, and not even cross the finish line of my goal race of the season.  The one I wanted to possibly BQ at, the very least PR, and the first marathon I have had any ambitious goal to finish.  But it really was a disaster of a race day and I am retiring from REVEL MOUNT CHARLESTON.
I will say it again, I AM RETIRING FROM CHARLESTON.  Even though they moved the date up a month next year to avoid the wreck that the heat caused, I am trying my hardest to not be a sucker and sign up just because the marathon sells out.

I will do better on a flatter course.  I will do better on a course that has a better chance of decent weather.  Because I know I can run a BQ and I know that I one day will.

Once I saw the forecast for race day, I was extremely down about the race.  I lost so much sleep over it because I was so bummed!  What are the chances?!?  The biggest race of my life!  Also the worst race weather of my life! 
Ben kind of sat me down and told me I needed to be positive because at that point there wasn't a thing we could do about it.  But let's face it, you can mentally get through tough times in a race, but heat raises your heart rate, which means you expend your energy at a quicker rate.  But my hopes were to make it through to the final 10k at least, and survive from there.

The 24 hours before the race I kept a positive I WILL DO THIS attitude.  Onward we go.  Even though it was 97 degrees at the expo.  LOL

Race morning we got to the bus at 2:45am.  The temperatures were in the 70s at this point.  We got to the top/start and a lady got on the bus to instruct us about a few things (please stay away from the cabins, etc.) and she kindly said "the lodge is open if you want to stay warm, but luckily it's not even cold out!  It's gorgeous!"  Everyone on the bus was like.... *emoticon with big eyes*

To put it in perspective, at the start, the temperature was in the 20s the first year I ran this race, and this year it was 50.

But POSITIVE THOUGHTS.
I had Ben write SMILE on my arm so I would see it when I looked down at my pace band, and smile, which always puts positive thoughts in your head.
We were off!  There are a few hills in the first couple of miles that make you huff a bit, but I felt good.  My pace immediately took off and I pulled back per my race plan, to keep my effort a more sustainable zone 2.

Mile three we were out of the trees and into the open and the sun was directly in our face.  Where it stayed.  I noticed the temperature and I knew it was too early to be noticing it, but I still pushed the thought away because I GOT THIS.  IT'S GONNA TOTALLY SUCK, BUT I GOT IT.

I tuned into my music and it was fun!  The miles flew, I felt great.

By mile 7 my hair was drenched, I still felt good though.  But the next few miles everything changed.  My effort changed, I figured it was a tough spot and it'd pass, it was WAY too early to be in trouble.  But by mile 10 I was flinging my legs and my form was awful, and very reminiscent of the end of a marathon.  By mile 12 I was giving it my all and my pace was a 10:30.  It was like I hit a wall, which made NO sense considering all my training. 

At this point I couldn't even put one foot in front of the other.  I needed to walk.  So I did.  And I still couldn't maintain any pace when I started running again.

My goal at this point was to make it to the half.  Which I did in 1:46 (average pace 8:08).  I walked some more.  I ran/walked.  I knew there was no BQ that day at this point, but the most defeating thought was I didn't know how I would make it another mile, let alone 12.  HOW IS THIS HAPPENING???

I text my family it was looking like a DNF.  I tried again.  And again.  I decided to check in with Charlie, my coach.  He asked if I could get a ride to the finish line, just DNF, which made me feel better because that's what had been in my mind.  But I didn't want to "give up."

Sometimes fighting for the finish line isn't worth the stress on your body/legs, and the long recovery time (about a day per mile raced), unless your goal is just to finish.  At this point Ben was still on point to BQ, and theory was if I saved my legs, I could always fly somewhere to a different race and try again in a month or two, and just use this race as a long run.

Another runner was walking so I asked him if he was done, which he said he was.  We walked for a mile+ to the aid station and there was a line of people needing to get shuttled to the finish, so he called an Uber.  
While waiting, the aid station ran out of cups, and people were desperate and using cups off of the ground, or drinking directly from the gallons of water.  Then they ran out of water, and this was still for sub 4 marathoners and still with 10 miles to go!  Revel tried to be prepared for the heat, but when every runner takes four cups of water, they were not prepared in the least.  I felt so bad for the runners still trying, but at this point most were just walking.
Meanwhile, Ben ran the first 20 miles on pace, but he said that his effort was more than it should've been and he knew he didn't have it by 16 or so.  I was really impressed to see he was still on pace because I pulled up the weather and it was pushing 80 degrees in Summerlin north.  He handles the heat better than I do, so I was hoping he could keep it together at least until the final 5k.  He was cooked, and it was a battle to finish the final 5k.  He ran a 3:20
Ben was bummed.  His effort was considerably higher than in Chicago last fall, and his PR was only 10 minutes.  But yay for still PRing!  And honestly a 3:20 is awesome!
It was just a defeating day.  I had a few other friends going for their BQs, one finished 69 minutes late, another finished 74 minutes later than trained (she ran nearly a 5 hour marathon!). 

We showered up and were getting ready to head home and Ben looked bad, ashen.  He never complains of sickness, back when he had appendicitis he was like, "I think I'm going to go lie down for a few minutes."  :P  But after the race he laid down on our friend's floor not feeling good and it had been hours and he was not getting better.  He was sick and and the nausea wouldn't go away and he was super dehydrated but couldn't drink anything.  I was thinking I should take him in for an I.V., so I called my dad and he said we could try Zofran under his tongue to take some nausea away and allow him to take in some liquids, and if that didn't work then to take him in.  Luckily our friend is a nurse and had Zofran, and after a half hour or so it worked, and an hour after that he was able to get stuff in him and felt good enough to get in the car.  But that was scary for me.

So on the road we went.  And after this post, we're not looking back.  Surprisingly, I am doing fine and the marathon is scary, but this race didn't hurt my confidence.  I can do it.  And I will.  It's just a bummer way to end the racing season when I have been on a roll.

And the only way we'll be back to Charleston is for the 1/2.  (PLEASE HELP ME REMEMBER THIS.)

I want a 1:35.

And.

Marathons suck.



When's the next one??

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