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Philadelphia Half Marathon (1:27.57)

I wrote about 1000 words recapping the Philadelphia Half Marathon.  Then I forgot to save it…not the first time this has happened.

Most people know, but food poisoning prevented me from having the “race of my life”.   I raced with how I felt for the day, and that is all I can ask from myself.  I’m not disappointed, in fact, I’m thankful I finished injury free.

I should rewind.  For the last two weeks, I’ve been suffering from food poisoning.  I’m not violently vomiting, however, I’m often tired and I never feel “great” or like myself.  Occasionally at night, I’ll feel extremely sick.

I contracted it coming home from vacation.  The first night home, I spent violently getting sick.  It was bad enough, we thought maybe my appendix had burst.  After getting some tests done, I found out I had food poisoning.  As I mentioned, it isn’t the typical “24-hour bug” but can stay in your system for about 70 days.  Not violently vomiting for 70 days but more tired, just not feeling great.

The doctor told me I could run, but I might feel sick.  From that day until the Philadelphia half marathon, I had 13 days.  During that time period, I ran 2 5ks and a few runs.  I never puked during any runs, but I did feel like I was in a “funk.”

The problem was, I ran most of my mileage untimed and easy.  That’s not necessarily a problem, except running easy miles is very different than running a fast half marathon.  My stomach showed me that very quickly.

I didn’t have a goal at Philadelphia.  I’ve never run particularly well, in fact, my fastest time was from the only other time I’ve had food poisoning (a completely different strain). Then last year I felt like garbage.  I live about 10 miles from Center City, and while I can’t say I even “love” the race, I seem to just keep signing up.

And so here we are year 3 of running the Philadelphia half.

Like many race days, I slept in later than anticipated.  It wasn’t an issue, and my husband and I arrived to Philadelphia, parked, and stood in line at security around 6:30.  The security to get into the race is lengthy, and we waited about 40 minutes.  It left us with 20 minutes to drop off bags and use the bathroom.  It was probably not enough time, and we made into the corral at 7:28.  My good friend, Erin, thought I decided to DNS considering we basically had to beg security to reopen the corral.

The race went off, and Erin, my husband, and I started together.  Erin and I ran the Atlantic City half, and we had discussed possibly running Philly together.  The first mile went out fast. I chatted with Erin and my husband, and we hit the first mile around 6:45.  I felt decent, but I also wasn’t sure how I would feel later on.

The first few miles of the race are the fastest and easiest.  We ran mile 2 in 6:17 and 3 in 6:27.  The pace didn’t feel uncomfortable, and I was able to mumble a few words.

Around the 5k, I noticed my husband getting a bit antsy.  I knew he was going to drop me.  I also knew we would still be married either way at the finish line and I was happy he was feeling good.  He hasn’t raced a lot of half marathons since his 1:20 PR, so it was motivating to see him pick it up.  I had no energy to keep up though.

At mile 4, I ran into Alana who is gearing up for the CIM.  We ultimately ran a good portion of the race together with Erin.  I ran mile 5 in 6:37 and 6 in 6:43.  Around the halfway point, my stomach started to hurt.  Not like use the bathroom hurt, but like I might puke hurt.  I thought it might have been not interacting well the Gatorade (I’ve never had an issue before) but realized the doctor was right.

I began scanning the course for a restroom to vomit.  Then, of course, I saw no less than 5 of my good friends or people who have come into work.  I gave a wincing smile, while also not trying to puke on them.

Somewhere between mile 9-10, I found a bathroom and vomited.  It wasn’t a huge vomit, but breakfast and Gatorade came up.  For about 10 seconds I thought, should I just stop?  I stood straight and didn’t feel awful, so I quickly exited the bathroom.  I think the situation lasted all of 30 seconds to a minute.  I still saw Alana and everyone else ahead, so I knew I had not gotten that far.

I told myself if you need to stop…you need to stop.  No one cares if you cross the finish line.  No one cares about your pace, time, or speed.  We climbed a few hills and I didn’t feel as bad.  As weird as it sounds, after that stop I felt as though I was finding my groove.

Around mile 11, I saw Philadelphia in the distance.  I told myself 2 miles.  20 minutes and you’ll be chillin’ (a real thought I had).  Due to delusion and downhill, I crushed mile 11 in 6:25.  Somehow I found myself running entirely alone for the final mile.  I saw both Alana and Erin within the minute ahead, and I was just…alone.  I seem to always find the pocket of running by myself in big races.

I crossed the finish in 1:27.57 and I was shocked.  A week ago, I wasn’t sure I would run.  In the early parts of the race, I believed a 1:30 might be doable.  (I told Erin it was my goal).  While I know I’m in much better fitness than a 1:28, you must race for how you feel for the day.  Whether that is good or bad.  I’m happy I finished and even finished strong, though I know it was probably not my smartest move.

tim and I philadelphia half

That was my last planned half marathon for the year.  I’m looking forward to shorter things while my food poisoning clears up.  As I mentioned in my training log, it could last up to 70 days (I’m on 17 now?).

Questions for you:
Have you had food poisoning before?
Have you stopped during a race before?
Postive Question: How was your Thanksgiving?

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7 responses

  1. Food poisoning is the worst. Well done for running! I had campylobacter a few years ago, it took a good three months for me to feel better. Utterly grim. Hope you start to feel better soon.

    • I’m so sorry to hear that Laraine! It’s honestly crazy, I always thought it was just a 24 hour type of thing. I’m glad you are feeling better though.

  2. I hope your food poisoning clears up soon. I’ve never had it but it sucks that it’s impacting your whole life, not just your running. You had a lot of guts (no pun intended) to run races with food poisoning. A lot of people wouldn’t do that.

    I’ve seen a few posts from people lately about how others don’t care about their race times though, and I don’t think that’s necessarily true. Your loved ones (and us) are going to love you no matter what you run, but I feel like the people who love us do care in the sense that they know WE care. They care about us and know that running a time we are proud of (with whatever our bodies bring us on race day) means a lot to us. At the end of the day, though, no one is going to respect a runner less because they didn’t run a fast time, or DNSed or DNFed a race, or even just stopped racing. Because runners have that kind of respect for anyone who gets out there and gives it a shot.

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