This was a disaster.
Short version-I finished on two legs. And my time was slower than my last trail half in Colorado with hefty elevation. I’m not cut out for beach races.
Long version: I woke up with burning skin, dry throat, and a way too full stomach from the night before. I had a headache and just felt bad. One quick trip to the bathroom and I thought things would be better. I was so wrong. Getting dressed was agony. Every inch of my arms, shoulders, neck and legs were on fire. I didn’t have any lotion, gel or oil to ease the sting. I told you we have no idea how to pack for the beach. This is more proof.
We got there in time to see the sun coming up over the clouds. It was nice. The weather was not. Yesterday, it was breezy and cool and low humidity. The high was about 70. This morning, the temperature was already 72 and muggy.
We parked with 10 minutes left before start time and I needed a bathroom fast. I got in line, got finished and thought I would be able to NOT pee until after the race. Wrong again. I also made the grave mistake of trusting the aid stations so I did not carry ANY water or fuel. I had two bottles of water yesterday and half a bottle this morning. This is my own fault and I was about to pay for it.
Miles 1-3 I want to turn around and go back. The first two aid stations were overwhelmed by thirsty runners so I grabbed an empty cup and the water hose on the ground. I gulped it down and kept going. Same thing for miles 2 and 3.
Mile 4: The downfall starts here. I started throwing up my water. I know from previous experience what this means but that was during a 5K, not a half. I should have stopped and DQ. Then my hip started hurting just like at Twisted Ankle last year. Great. More uplifting news.
Miles 6-8 were on the thin strip of land between the bay and the gulf. It was a red flag day which means the winds are blowing sand everywhere. By this time, I was hallucinating. I thought we were in Desert Storm. I could see people ahead of me going up a slight incline. They had water packs on and through the sand storm and sea spray with the sun facing me, it looked like we were soldiers in the desert. I have no idea how I got to the turn around, but I did. I kept drinking a gatorade cup and a water cup at each mile station. These were the spit cups, so not much was going in but I knew I had to keep something going through me. I threw up about 3 minutes after each water stop. The hip was screaming by now.
By mile 9, I thought I saw Burt Reynolds in a hula skirt. At one point, I saw a sprinkler in a yard. One of those pop up and spray out things. I stood there in front of it and drank a lot of water. The lady on the porch came down and said “Honey, I can get you a bottle to take with you”. I told her thanks, but this was great. She said “I’m old and retired and rich. I can pay to water my yard and you can drink all you want”. She had a great laugh and made me smile. Later, another girl offered to spray me with her hose. I politely declined. I thought my skin was so hot and burning that the steam from the water would scald it more. I was imagining all kinds of torture from a water hose. However, if she had duct tape and a bag of ice, I would have named my future child after her.
Mile 12 Death crawl. I stopped at mile 9 to use the porta johns. I felt the need to pee, but it took forever to get things to work. Then just like at St. Jude, I felt like I had to go at every mile or I would wet my pants. My mile 12, I was just dying to get to some shade. And an ice bath.
Mile 13. I ran in the finish area. I saw Stephen and started crying. I told him I was sorry I made him wait so long but I was going to throw up again and I might not be able to walk normally ever. EVER.
Lessons learned. Hydrate well before the race. Hydrate even more if I drink carbonated drinks and eat heavy food. Don’t eat the house down 9 hours before a race. And when things go bad early, find a way to just stop.