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Aliens, Running and An Alien Angel

So I ran a half marathon on Saturday night.

Correction.  The half marathon ran me.

In my fourth stand alone half mary, the Roswell GA Alien 13.1 Half… a nightime half marathon… I not only had my slowest half marathon time… but also, the absolutely most painful run of my life.  Also, in four half Ironmans… this was the slowest and worst run.

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Coach Brett said I had “gone rogue” and that the run was “not approved.”  Me, in all my stubborn glory, decided that I would run easy and it would be okay.

For a few reasons, I think this run escaped me.

First, I was only 14 days off from my 140.6  – I felt recovered. But I wasn’t.

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Second, I was 10 days off from the Emergency Room, my diverticulitis announcement (yaaaay! Swim Bike Mom’s poop tales!), and the horrible ensuing 10 days of antibiotics.

I was weak, who was I kidding.

But “I just did an ‘iron’ distance race! What is a half marathon?”  (The idiotic thought process.)

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Met SBM friend, Courtney… who was finishing her 12th half mary THIS year. Wowzers.

Oh, let me tell you what IS a half marathon.

A half marathon is half of a marathon. It’s THIRTEEN POINT ONE FREAKING MILES TO RUN. And that is a stupid distance to run. I mean, really… all of us crazy tri people out there.

Think about how most people refuse to commute that far to work.  In a car. And we RUN that far.

It’s dumb.  Just admit it. You’ll feel better.

The run started right at dusk, and had a great crowd. I felt pretty good. My stomach has still been unsettled, but I go to the GI specialist this week, so I’ve been holding out.  I was feeling okay. Ready to get back on the horse.

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I felt pretty darn amazing for the first 8 miles.  I was running FAST!  I was going!

Then I actually looked at my pace.  I thought I was flying.  And I was going 12:30.  Then 13:00.  Then 13:30.  By Mile 10, I was still “running,” and my pace was 15:30.  Running.  That, my friends, is no longer a run. That is the death march shuffle.

And it was dark, which was weird. I liked it. I had my headlamp that Yoda gave me for Beach 2 Battleship. But I rarely run in the evenings (like, never)… so that was bizarre too.

Mile 11, my body seized up from the back of my neck to my Achilles.  I was one giant cramp.  And I don’t historically cramp.  I promise you, I would rather do the iron distance marathon over again, than that run on Saturday. It was just that painful.

And COLD.  When I was “running,” I was staying warm. But once the sad shuffle commenced, I got seriously cold.

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Then an Alien Angel appeared.

I don’t know who she was, but she walked me right home for the last half mile.  Don’t know where she came from, but maybe she saw my jacket and felt like maybe I wasn’t a complete fraud (or she did, and wanted to get to the bottom of it so she could report me to the M-Dot authorities) …so she just skipped along with me with way more energy than I had. Stopping when I stopped to double over in pain and stretch my hammies… she walked and talked and stopped and helped me along.

And just as quickly as she appeared… she was gone.  Not 100% sure that I didn’t imagine the gal.  Or maybe she was an alien.

Either way, angels or aliens… I dragged myself across the finish line.

I have never, ever, ever walked across any finish line. [Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just my thing… try to run them all in.] BUT of course,  I have done plenty of walking in a race. Plenty, but I always try and buck up and run the chute of any race.  I want to run. I want to finish, running… And I always do.

But…. I walked right on through this grand finish line, with a finish time of 3:13:00… at a 14:30 pace.

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And I was just glad to be done.

And yes, it’s true. I always smile at the finish, no matter what. (What’s not to smile about? You’re DONE. Finish deserves smile. You can quote me on that one.)

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I drove home, hobbled up the stairs, got into a boiling hot bath and could not stop shaking from the cold.  A tough race on an “easy” course.  A tough handful of lessons that I learned… and while I may not be the smartest tool in the shed (or is it sharpest? 🙂 ), I can say that as much as I wanted to call the sag wagon to pick me up… I grimaced through it, and earned my 13.1 medal… the hard way.

The Expert once said, “Mere, you know that you force your way through life.”  Because it seems that I never relax, I never stop, and I never slow down. I push and push my way through whatever walls, whatever is there… Boom boom.  Push right ahead. Relentless forward motion. Just Keep Moving/Pushing/Breaking/Plowing Forward.

But…

I think maybe I will take a breather… and stop forcing my way through life so much.  Just let life unfold around me for a bit.

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Maybe if I do, I will stop imagining aliens… and start believing in the miracles. 🙂

Have a great week, friends.

13 Comments

  • Me

    November 10, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    Wow -that is really hard core. Sorry you had a sucky run but so glad to read that you finished !!!
    Yes, for sure let life unfold around you for a while – you certainly deserve it !
    Have the best day !
    Me

    Reply
  • Heather

    November 10, 2014 at 10:06 pm

    Let your body heal. My hubs has had diverticulosisis for 17 years. Its a rough one. It is ok to take a break. Really, it’s kind of essential for you for now. I think you’re awesome for recognizing it and listening to your body.

    Reply
  • Courtney

    November 11, 2014 at 5:44 am

    Well that is a picture of two beautiful women ! 🙂 You did amazing just to even attempt a race so soon after. Time for a break and get ready for 2015’s endeavors. This race was difficult and I do my weekly long runs there! I think the darkness attributed a lot to that and the cold! My teeth chattered all the way home. Good job finishing and claiming that alien medal you deserve it! Swim Bike Awesome 🙂

    Reply
  • Elena

    November 11, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    I ran this as well and enjoyed it but I totally agree with the cold! I felt good temperature wise WHILE running but was dying after. I went home to look for the WARMEST thing I owned to put on before going out for post race food. I think with morning races it’s cold at the start but gradually warms up during the day so by the time you are don’t it’s warmer. This was the opposite! The last two miles were DARK too on that trail. But I figured darkness was good so no one saw the look of death on my face 🙂 Congrats on finishing even though you felt crappy – you did KEEP MOVING FORWARD!

    Reply
  • Linda

    November 12, 2014 at 6:08 am

    Wow … way to help the rest of us slow runners … I guess I mean death march shufflers … recognize that we are not in fact legitimate runners, just like we suspected.

    Glad you’re finding your true feelings.

    Reply
    • Natalie

      May 11, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      I know I’m a little late to the game on this post, but…this is why I always look sideways at people who wear their M-dot/Ironman/Boston/Olympics shirts at…the local race. So, I guess if you hadn’t been wearing that M-dot, that angel WOULD have thought you a complete fraud? Not sure how to interpret that comment. Thought I had landed on SlowTwitch for a minute there…

      Reply
      • Swim Bike Mom

        May 11, 2015 at 1:26 pm

        Linda… this is a race report with my experience. Two weeks post-140.6, and this was truly a death march for me. I was very much in pain and ill. You know if you spend any time on this blog, I am not one to criticize someone’s pace. I say over and over “if you run, you are a runner.”

        Natalie… wore my IM jacket because it was the only one I had that had pockets for such a run–this was cold… I don’t make habits to wear IM gear to local races unless there’s a necessity. At the pace and in the pain I was going in this half marathon, no one would ever believe that I finished an IM, or any race for that matter… that’s all I was saying. Any time you spend on this blog and you wouldn’t think this is slowtwitch. Sorry if it came off differently.

        Reply
        • Natalie

          May 12, 2015 at 1:51 am

          Thanks for the thoughtful reply, Meredith, and my apologies for the ST dig. I appreciate what you put into your race reports, and that you don’t mince words. The comment threw me off because it read so differently than many of your other posts. One of the things that I find disheartening to see at “branded” IMs and HIMs are the people wearing their shirts from OTHER IMs and HIMs. Intimidate on the course if that’s your thing, but not in the Athlete’s Village when people are trying to buy compression socks as a means to calm their nerves. Yet, I find it even more off-putting to see them wearing them at packet pickup at a sprint sponsored by a local “Y” (true story). I even went so far as to cover up my m-dot tattoo with a bandage at my SO’s sprint triathlon earlier this year.

          There’s a sizable (in my mind) contingent of participants in this hobby-lifestyle that feel like anyone that finishes behind the first quarter of the pack should be turned into Soylent Green, and God forbid ANYONE showing up with the lofty goal of finishing even be allowed to pick up their bib. Last race I ran, my Finsher medal looked EXACTLY the same as the fourth place finisher in my age group. For that reason, you’re spot-on about Setup Events vs. WTC. Spot-on about a great many things, for that matter…

          Again, my apologies for bristling. And thanks again for your reports. Super helpful, and super “real”!

          Kind regards,
          Nat

          Reply
  • Emily Doyle

    November 13, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    Congrats, Meredith! The death march is no fun (been there, done that), but good on you for getting it done after you found yourself in it. Enjoy your recovery – you’ve certainly earned it!!!

    Reply
  • Courtney

    August 25, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    ?Meredith, I did this race again this past Saturday…. Last year we froze this year it hotter than an oven and the route changed and it was harder!!!! Miserable. When the sweat on my feet started to make my skin slough off I thought you and soldiered on. I did a 56 mile bike in the morning and then this half that night in prep. for Augusta next month. Made me rethink my craziness ?? hahaha. Hope to see your smiling face somewhere along the way in Augusta I saw SB dad is registered.????

    Reply

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