Texas Hill Country
October 12, 2020
Run for the Water 10-Miler
I woke up on a cold morning at 5:30 AM to shove down a banana and Clif bar, then quaff some orange juice and Cytomax, hopefully ahead of time enough to have them settle in my stomach before the race. I put on some wind pants and a jacket, then headed out the door with Peyton as my trusty driver.
We arrived a bit before 6:30, still dark and cold out. Normally I go vegetarian the week before a race, but this week I'd had a barbeque pork sandwich for lunch and a Chinese buffet for dinner on Thursday. Not too smart. Since then, my stomach wasn't happy. So I headed to a port-o-potty and tried. And couldn't. Uh-oh.
I went ahead and stretched, then took my place behind the start line. Peyton took her place in front of it with a camera. I felt a rumble in my stomach. More bad signs.
For this run, I was hoping to get a time of less than one hour, which would come to exactly a six-minute mile. Under 1:02, however, would be a time I'd be perfectly happy with. The middle section of the race was quite hilly, so I knew I should pace the first few a little fast to make up for the time lost in the hills, but not to pace so fast that I don't have any gas left in the tank for the hills. Delicate balance.
I took off out of the gate strong and for most of the first mile, I was in third place. At the mile marker, I chanced a look at my watch. 5:25??? Too fast. Faster even than I ran my 10K! I needed to slow down a bit or I'd wear myself out before I even got to the hills.
At two miles, a few people had passed me. I was trying not to worry about other runners though, and just run my own race. I was at a time of 11:15 after two miles. Still too fast. Keep slowing down. Hold a steady pace.
By mile 3, I could feel my stomach starting to act up and the hills were starting to appear, though the worst would come later. By mile 4, I had to poop. Oh crap. And literally, I mean. I thought about stopping, but saw no port-o-potties. After not seeing one until mile 7, I decided that I could gut it out and that the time I lost while in the port-o-potty wouldn't be made up by running faster with a poop-less colon.
I got passed repeatedly in the hills. I couldn't hold a pace and was running each mile slower than the one before. By the time I got out of the hills, my stomach had strong, sharp internal pain. I was still slowing down, mostly due to my stomach.
I dug deep and pushed hard in the last mile. My legs were more than capable, it was just pain tolerance at that point. I didn't bother sprinting for the finish line. Time: 1:00:38. Not bad. In fact, better than my "I'll be happy with it" goal of 1:02. The only thing was that I knew that without the stomach problems, I could've finished a minute faster, maybe more.
Peyton was at the finish line and wanted a big sweaty hug. I had to be forward and tell her that she could get one after I pooped. I awkwardly speed-walked to the port-o-potties and unloaded. I felt better, but there was still sharp internal pain. It seemed to be worse when I moved.
I hung around long enough to stretch, eat a whole wheat roll and a Whataburger breakfast burrito, and get the results. I hadn't won my age division, but did win it among those participating in the Austin Distance Challenge. My lead increased from 3:24 to 5:43, an increase of 2:19. Pretty happy about that.
Later in the day, my stomach pain hadn't eased up at all and I spent a lot of time either doubled over or laying on Peyton's couch and shaking. I had more diahrrea later and there was blood in it. Apparently I put a lot of stress on my insides that day. I decided it'd be a good idea not to run the next day.
So my lead increased by a significant amount. I still control my own destiny here; keep winning the small ones and I'll win the big one. It'd be great if I could just keep winning and stretch out a big lead by the time the marathon comes around.