This past weekend, I ran half marathon #5 in Nashville-- the St. Jude Country Music Half Marathon.
To put it lightly, the race didn't go as I had hoped.
Friday, we got to Nashville and picked up Amanda from the airport before going to the expo. We even saw Beth there! It was great to see her!
Amanda and I literally went to bed at 8pm the night before the race (after we laid out all of our gear, of course), so we could get up for our 4:15 wake-up call.
We walked across the bridge and caught one of the shuttles at LP Field to take us to the start line. There were SO many people. I think they said about 40,000 people were running. It seemed so much larger than when I did it in 2010.
We got to the start line and waited for our turn to take off. I was hoping to finally break the two-hour barrier (my previous best time was 2:04:45), but I'll start off by saying that didn't happen.
You may remember my post last week about dropping concrete on my toe. Well, I didn't run last week after the incident. I went to a PT who, without x-rays, couldn't tell if it was broken or not because of the swelling. Walking wasn't really painful, but honestly, I didn't know what to expect when it came to running.
Just FYI this was my toe the morning of the race. Not pretty.
And someone asked the other day what polish this is... it's Essie Turquoise and Caicos...with a side of swelling and bruises.
Amanda and I started with the 2:00 pace group, but according to my Garmin, the pace leader wasn't running fast enough to do a 2-hour half marathon, anyway. But whatev. By mile 2, I was in some terrible pain. Pain was starting to shoot up my foot. By three, I was in tears. We even stopped at a porta potty at mile 4 so Amanda could use the restroom, and so I could regain myself for a minute (I think she used the bathroom excuse to get me to stop for a minute and assess how I was feeling. Love her). We kept going until mile 5, with the 2:00 pace group still in sight. But I decided at mile 5, I was dropping out. I really didn't want to quit, but it wasn't worth risking more injury to my foot. I told Amanda to keep going, so she did. And I'm so glad.
I veered off the road at the 5-mile marker to find the aid station. Well, guess what? There wasn't an aid station at mile 5. So, I asked a cop (who had to fumble through all of his notes to find the information...glad I wasn't seriously dying or anything), and he said the nearest aid station was at mile 6. So, I kept running. Got to 6, and there wasn't a shuttle to take people back to the finish, and I didn't want to hang out at the aid station for hours until the husband came to find me, so I kept going toward the shuttle, which was supposedly somewhere around mile 7. So, I kept running.
By the time I saw the shuttle to take me back to the finish line, I thought, I've come this far in pain. I've pushed through it. I'm more than halfway finished. I'm going to chug along, and no matter how long it takes me, I'm crossing that finish line and getting my medal. So, I did.
By the time I was at mile 11, I was having to take walk breaks about every mile. I've never had to walk in a race, so that was a really defeating feeling. I was crying. Pain was shooting up my leg. It was honestly one of the most terrible experiences. Not to mention, I think I was trying to compensate for the pain, so I was changing my gait, and my right hamstring took a hit. It's super tight.
I hobbled across the finish line in 2:22:27. All I wanted to do was cry (more), get in a medical tent to see what they could do and see my husband (who, by the way, without training--which I don't recommend-- ran a 1:57.). I went to the medical tent where they took a look, said it was probably broken, and did the only thing they could do--tape my big toe to my next toe. I called the husband who came to meet me (he and Amanda both thought I had dropped out), and through the tears, I managed to tell him that I had indeed finished the race. He couldn't believe it. I really couldn't, either.
I love Amanda. So glad we could finally meet and run together. I'm not sure how I look so happy in this picture. Maybe just because the race was over. :)
Considering the bathroom stop, two attempts at finding the medical shuttle and hobbling on what appears to be a broken toe, I'm just happy I finished. There's always the next race.
I definitely don't advocate running a race on a broken toe. I didn't know if mine was broken or not before the race. It wasn't bad to walk, so I was hoping running wouldn't be too terrible. But I am proud that I finished once I started. More than any of my other race medals, I feel like I really earned this one.
I'm going to take at least a week (or three as the husband has requested) off from running (hello, biking and yoga), probably go see a doctor this week to get a proper diagnosis and get healed so I can hit the pavement again. Hopefully I'll be okay to run a 10 Nautical Mile (11.5 land mile) race in early June. Fingers crossed. Thanks for all the good luck and congrats messages on here and Twitter.
"Quitters don't run.
Runners don't quit."