Yesterday I ran a half marathon for the third time. I have run in the same race for the past couple of years and decided to make it a trifecta. The only problem? I didn't train for it. My initial intention when signing up for the race was to actually do well in the race, but somewhere along the line my laziness took over that motivation. The half just seemed like this "far away" event, something I had plenty of time to complete....but this past Monday I realized my time was almost gone. The race was in just 5 days. 

The Week Before: 
Throughout the week I battled internally on whether or not to even show up on race day. I had convinced myself on Tuesday that there was no way I would run the half on Saturday, and until Friday I had the same view. But on Friday morning I started to feel upset. I spent 50 bucks on this race. I wanted to at least attempt to finish it. Worst case scenario I would just show up, check-in, and take my t-shirt as a souvenir. 

The Morning Of:
I woke up after only 5 hours of sleep (oops), rolled out of bed, and scrambled to put on the outfit I chose the night before. I sleepily munched on a Blueberry Muffin bar while my boyfriend drove me to the race. I sipped some water in a last-ditch effort to save my poor body from the pain it was about to feel. And I kept asking myself why I would insist on doing this....

And We're Off:
I felt pretty good at the start of the race. This can't be too bad, right? And for a couple of miles I felt my pace was pretty solid. But somewhere in that third mile my stomach started hurting, and by mile 4 my back hurt too. I stumbled across a port-a-potty just before mile 5 and decided to take a pit-stop. 

Just Keep Running:
My boyfriend was waiting for me just after mile 5, with a smile and a bottle of water. I continued on towards the halfway point, struggling to keep any sort of pace. My stomach, my back, my right foot, my legs...nothing felt right. But I kept trudging along, with a few walking breaks along the way. After the 6.5 mile marks I felt nothing but misery. I no longer wanted to run. I wanted a bathroom, a shower, a meal, a car...anywhere but here, anything to free me from this horrible idea. 

The End is Near:
By the time I reached my boyfriend again at mile 8 I was a wreck. I was walking half of the time, trotting the other. My stomach still hurt and my legs were getting tired. I was frustrated and grumpy, but I still decided to go on. I took another pit-stop at the porta-potty and hobbled on my way. Somewhere around mile 9 my hips started to ache. I have never been so uncomfortable while running before in my life (and I ran competitively throughout high school with achilles tendonitis, shin splints, and even a trampling incident). Luckily there were a lot of other run-walkers around me, so I decided to push on towards the finish line. At this point I knew I had to finish. 

One To Go:
My boyfriend snuck in one last cheer-session before the finish. I spotted him just before the start of mile 12, sitting on a curb all alone. He jogged along at my tired pace for about 100 meters before sending me to the end of the race and the end of this misery. I trotted along, trying to run more than walking at this point. I had to avoid some traffic since roads weren't closed anymore and even got trapped on the opposite side of the street than the finish line...BUT...I wobbled my aching hips, my sore legs, and the rest of my miserable self across the finish line. 

The Immediate Consequence:
Guess what...my stomach still hurts and my legs can barely lift my feet of the ground, but I got a medal! All my non-training and nearly 3 hours of torture have paid off. I gobble down my free Subway sandwich and guzzle some water while my boyfriend and I take a rest. When we start heading to the car I have trouble keeping up with him. Each time I stepped up onto or down off of a curb my body trembled with fatigue. The ride home can't go quick enough because...I need a bathroom again. This is something people don't talk about too often, but running long distances severely affects your digestive system. For the remainder of the day I gulp down water between bathroom breaks and ice my legs and hips. I was passed out sleeping by 10pm. 

The Morning After:
This morning I could barely sit up because of the pain in my hips. I managed to climb into the shower and the hot water helped ease my muscles and joints. My mouth was dry, probably still from dehydration, and I was much slower than usual when we went to the store. It hurts to stand up. It hurts to sit down. It just really hurts to move. 

What I Learned:
There is a lot to think about after something like this. I should probably not run another half marathon without training. This pain can only get worse with age. I should also not spend money on something if I do not intend to use it. This forces me into these mind games where I have to choose from sacrificing health or money. This time I valued money more than my physical well-being. But, hey...at least I got a medal.

Published by Christie Scheer