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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Charlotte Thunder Road Marathon race recap

This wasn't my best race by a long shot. Everything went wrong. Allow me to itemize:
- I was too cold. I stayed too cold the entire race. When I finished I wasn't even sweaty.
- I tried new clothes. I borrowed Bj's shirt because my clothes weren't warm enough and it chaffed my head practically off my body, not to mention riding up constantly. And I bought a Spibelt off Ebay ($3.40 plus $2.50 shipping) to hold my oatmeal. Good thing it was cheap because despite all its claims, and how much everyone else loves it to death, it didn't work for me. It bounced like crazy and I spent 26 miles adjusting it.
Me in Bj's shirt with owner of said shirt (after the race)

- No bathroom break at the start. Racing with others is hard - my friends didn't want to do a port-a-potty run and I didn't want to lose them; I ended up with no bathroom break. That didn't work and I actually had to make a pit stop as early as mile 6! There was a line and I ended up wasting (haha! Excuse the pun!!!) over five minutes.
- I tried new fuel. The course provided shot blocks which I decided to mainly rely on. They seemed like slower energy to me and really felt like a gelatinous lump in my gullet!
- I tried new pre-race food. BIG MISTAKE. My friend Bj is a vegan, so I cheerily put agave nectar on my oatmeal and poured almond milk in my coffee. One or the other gave me a major stomach ache (probably the almond milk, since almonds give me a stomach ache). Misery.
- Hills. Honestly, the hills weren't killer. They were constant, but mostly gentle. However, if you don't run hills you don't run hills. My ankles seemed to take the worst punishment; they are still sore but started hurting early on.
- No ipod. My ipod didn't hold its charge and I lost in at mile 17. This might have been ok except I was already struggling, so I missed it much!
- Drama. You know drama follows me. Well, I actually had to stop and help a runner in distress! This was scary. I was running along somewhere after mile 17 (I know because I remember no ipod!) when suddenly, out of the blue, the woman next to me crumpled to the ground. Her legs buckled and she was down! I quickly stopped and pulled her shoulders up - I cold see that she was fading out of consciousness. Her lips and were white and her hands felt cold. I suspected low blood sugar. I quickly pulled out a Gu (I happened to have one because a neighborhood association was handing them out earlier. I stuck one in my bra and practically chaffed a boob off. TMI, sorry)...anyway, I squeezed some into her mouth and then propped her against a tree and ran to the next intersection to get the officer directing traffic. It turns out another runner had already alerted him and he was on his way with water; he had also called medical. By the time I got back the runner was sitting up by herself and could answer questions. The officer waved me on, but I worried about her the rest of the race. I couldn't remember her race number, and I was kicking myself because I could have looked her up later to see if she was ok. But actually as I finished I saw her being brought in by the ambulance and she was fine. Phew! Very scary, though!
Have you ever stopped to help another runner? What would you do if you were THIS close to a medal or a PR or a BQ and another runner needed help? Once before I gave a GU to another runner who seemed to need it, and actually once I didn't stop - but that's because a race vehicle had just slowly passed and I chose instead to catch to car and tell them a runner had fallen. I also wasn't as concerned this time because this was a slip-and-fall injury and didn't seem serious.


  1. Wow! Sounds like a rough race! Did you get your spibelt new or used? Mine is about a year old and I'm starting to notice that it bounces a little when I have a bunch of stuff in it (like cell phone, keys, and Gu). I just make it extra tight and pull it low on my hips, which helps a lot, but it probably less than flattering. It's just so convenient for me though!
    As for the chomps- I have mixed feelings about them. I love them when I'm running in the park and have ready water fountain access, they taste good and I like actually chewing something. But when I've used them during races, I feel like I have trouble swallowing the, b/c my mouth is too dry.
    That's really scary about the lady who fainted! I'm glad she's okay!

  2. Wow. This wasn't your trip. And it wasn't your marathon. that's awful!

    Well, BQ is never going to be in reaching distance for me and I would hope I would set aside a PR to help someone in need... Good for you for stopping and helping. how scary!!

  3. id like to think that id stop for someone and help them out. but then again, id like to think im a supermodel too...
    oh well, theres always another race.

  4. Gracie, you promised that I should read your Blog for good race reports :-) I'm telling ya, marathons are frigging hard. I'd help someone during a BQ attempt - no doubt in my mind.

  5. I was so looking for you inside the convention center. I told my friend Christi, I have a friend, but I've never met her, she's a blog friend and Christi laughed but got it. There were so many people all around and I know I didn't see you, I also didn't see my ex-bf who ran the 1/2, which that one I'm thankful for.
    What an experience and I'm so sorry it was so bad :( Hopefully they took you to some fun places around town!!!
    I would have stopped to help the runner too. I wouldn't have known what to do but I would have done something and then found a police officer or someone who could help.
    I thought about you at the split when you ran on for the full and I was turning for the 1/2. Hope your ankles feel better soon!!

  6. Omigoodness! That is scary!!! Good for you for stopping and helping her!! I think that is so great of you! I would hope I would do the same thing :) I Would be SO NERVOUS and scared though!!

  7. I think you are AMAZING to stop and help a fellow runner. So many are just out there to PR! I have never gone to that extent, but when I was running in VA (day after Thunder Road) a woman slipped on the wet asphalt and I grabbed her and helped her up. I'm sometimes guilty of being self-absorbed so I truly admire what you did.

    Excellent finish, that course was definitely brutal :D

  8. PS. Drama also follows me. My trip to Charlotte was also mildly catastrophic. LOL