This is part two of the recap of my running of the Las Vegas Rock n’ Roll Half Marathon. If you want to read the first part go here.
When I finally finished, I was 15-20 minutes slower than my first ½ marathon. Not the result I was hoping for. I put my hands up in the air in a semblance of the victory pose that so many runners do when crossing the finish line but it was pro forma at best. I was in so much pain I could barely walk. And guess what I had to do to pick up my medal, my bag I had checked, my chocolate milk and my foil blanket to keep me warm? That’s right keep on walking. At one point along the way there were photographers waiting to take the everyone’s picture with their medal and I just shook my head and said no way. One woman asked me where to pick up her gear and I think I snorted with disgust and said, “You are asking the wroooonnng person.”
Shandell had finished way ahead of me but had made the mistake of leaving the finisher’s area and once you leave they won’t let you back in. Her phone had died just as she was texting her husband and I to tell us she had finished. She had no way of knowing when I was going to finish because the plan had been for me to text as I got closer. Finally a kind soul let Shan call her husband who texted me her location. When I exited the finish area she came running towards me and we gave each other a big hug and I burst into tears. It actually surprised me how upset I was. I guess having to do all those miles in pain really caught up with me. I told her later I have never been so happy to see her in our entire 26-year friendship. She got me to the curb, helped me sit down and change my Vibrams to my running shoes and put my jacket on me to keep me warm. Once I felt well enough to continue she helped me back up and we hobbled off together in search of a taxi. There was lots of laughing and crying, and plenty of swearing (on my part). Every curb was a challenge of enormous proportions for my quads that were screaming in pain. For a city that seems to embody so many of life’s vices there was an awful lot of walking to get to and through the Cosmopolitan hotel to catch a cab.
All along our plan had been to go back to our hotel after the run, clean up and head out for a night of celebration and enjoying some of those open bars I previously talked about. Alas it was not to be. I was so tired and hurt it was all I could do to get back to the room before collapsing. And although Shan wasn’t in quite as much pain as I she was more than content to scrap those plans for room service and a warm bath. We ate burgers at midnight and couldn’t believe how amazing they tasted.
I’ve had a few days to consider my run and I am still not sure how I feel about it. It certainly wasn’t the feel good hit of the year. It was painful, humiliating and exhausting. But in one crucial way it was a success. I finished. I finished even though I haven’t had that much pain in a very long time. I finished even though it would have been super easy to quit. And although it was a much slower run it definitely took more mental and physical strength to finish this ½ marathon than it did the first. And in that respect I think maybe it had more to teach me about perservence and grit than any other run I’ve done.
I’ve also had time to think about why I did so poorly and I think there are several reasons. First there were only five weeks between my last half and this one. Although I felt well rested my body may not have had the necessary reserves to pull me through this one. Second I didn’t train very hard between the two runs and I will not make that mistake again. And third my beloved Vibram Five Fingers let me down. I have run many miles in them but I think in my case for my feet and body the longer distances are just not doable in them. I know this is directly contrary to the barefoot running philosophy. You should be able to run any distance in them but it’s also very important to listen to your body and in this case my body was screaming at me to stop being such a bloody idiot. I was so disgusted with them that I threw them away as soon as I had changed in to my running shoes after the race. Who knows which one was the key factor? They probably all played a part.
Now I have to decide what my next challenge will be. Should I do another ½ to try and redeem myself? Should I go down to shorter races and improve my times? Should I be audacious and try and run a full marathon? Or should I try something slightly different and try and do a triathlon? Who knows where the next adventure will lead me. All I know is that for the next two weeks I’m taking a break from running and I’m really really enjoying it.