Wednesday, March 15, 2017

2017 You Are Officially on Warning

After a lackluster Summer and Fall of 2016, I entered 2017 feeling optimistic and ready to roll. I guess my immune system had other plans as I left 2016 with a head cold that moved into my chest. That took a toll on my training, but once it passed I was again ready to fly. I signed up for the Houston Half Marathon with hopes of running another PB (I set my current PB in Houston last year). Instead of arriving on Thursday, I opted to arrive Friday. The race organizers were helpful and willing to provide 3 nights hotel so I opted to stay post race vs rushing off to the airport (note to self, if you go back choose Thurs-Sun).

I arrived as the sun was going down on Friday and did a quick jaunt on the treadmill. The legs felt like bricks, but I wasn't worried as it was after an early morning and a day of travel (aka normal). The next day I did my 30 min run outside around mid-day and boy was it ever humid. While out on my run, I told myself I was super glad I was only here for a half marathon and not a full and immediately thought of fellow Canadian (and new Vancouverite) Kevin Coffey who was supposed to run the full. Kevin had also been in Toronto this past October in those humid conditions and like myself, also dnf'd.

For once I fell asleep at a somewhat decent hour and then strangely in the middle of the night I woke up to go to the bathroom and then felt ill. I heaved a few times with no results and then went back to bed curled up in a ball and fell back asleep. Once morning came all was good and I headed off to the start. This is where I made my first mistake, I did my usual warm up of 20 minutes. Half way through that I was already sweating like crazy and knew this was going to be a hot one. What I should have done was cut back my warm up to avoid overheating too early. It was 97% humidity and 17 degrees Celsius at the start.

On the start I said some quick good lucks to Flagstaff runners Sara Hall and Kellyn Taylor and off we went. The first few km were okay but felt harder than they should have considering the pace. By 2k I knew I was hot. Every water station I poured water over my head trying to stay cool but it didn't work.

As the race progressed, I got slower and slower. I kept telling myself to keep pushing and that maybe after half way the legs would wake up (I am a marathoner and all) but that didn't happen. In the final few km a dude was nearby and commented on how he kept cramping up at the wrong times, when there were spectators and then he said that I looked strong.

At this point I had no idea what my time was but I knew it was slow, so I said thanks and told him it was a slow time for me as the humidity had taken a toll on this Canadian. He went on to say that he thought if one was used to extreme temperatures, whether hot or cold, that you would excel at both. Sorry bud, not the case. He then joked "I know how to make your run faster, I'll tell you I voted for Trump." I am not too sure I should blog my response but it might have been something like "well then I might laugh and call you an idiot." Oh Trump.

I didn't look at my watch until I saw the clock at the end and it tick over 1:20 and I laughed and internally thought "ARE YOU KIDDING ME." Yes I realize many people would LOVE to race a 1:20 on a bad day, but honestly, I haven't run 1:20 in years. I headed inside feeling defeated and my poor bf (Warren) took the brunt of a "that sucked, I hate running" moment. I was done at the time. I didn't even cool down. Instead I interrupted Ryan Hall and Josh Cox and got a sweaty photo with Ryan just before he headed off. I had met Sara many times before in Flagstaff, but never Ryan so I began a nerd and got that photo. Plus Warren and Ryan hit it off talking about weight lifting and body building.

Houston Half

So that was Houston. I came home defeated but recovered quite well in the cooler temperatures so I jumped into a small 10k race here on the island (Cobble Hill 10k). It was pretty much a solo effort as I was in no mans land but came away with the win in 34:59. By far not my fastest 10k but I haven't raced a solid 10k in nearly 2 years (it's been all half's and fulls). I was happy to sneak under 35, even if by 1 second.

Cobble Hill 10k (the face that saw the clock read just over 35, but official results were 34:59)

Cobble Hill gave me some confidence back. Then it snowed and I was stuck on the treadmill for a bit thanks to people who don't shovel their sidewalks. I stayed on the treadmill an extra week (even doing a 33k run on the treadmill) to prep for the 21k Guadalajara. I had been approached by Athletics Canada after they received an invitation for 4 of us to attend the race. I apparently was the only dummy to say yes. Training leading up to the half was fantastic all the way until the Wednesday when suddenly my energy was crap. I chalked it up to being the first day in 2 weeks than I ran outside and off the treadmill but then Thursday was crap too. Still, I put it out of my head.

Warren and I left Thurs evening and arrived to Mexico City at 12:15am. It took 2 HOURS to get through customs. The race put us in a hotel at the airport to try and catch some sleep for our final 6:05am flight to Guadalajara. We were in the hotel and in bed by 3, probably asleep by 3:15 and up again at 4:30. Back to the airport and we were confused as can be trying to find where to go for our flight.

In the end, we finally found someone who spoke English and told us we had to switch terminals, so we catch the train over and then try and print our boarding passes (the one flight that wasn't able to be printed before we left) and were told "too late for check in" even though we had already checked in. We found a desk and they printed it and told us to run. We ran to security to find line ups. I spoke with an airport employee and told her we had 20 minutes at that point until our flight. She told us to wait here and walked off. She returned minutes later and spoke Spanish to us pointing to a line and shaking her head (no idea what she said). The line didn't move for over 5 minutes due to someone arguing with security. 10 minutes until the flight, I looked over to the next line and begged people to allow us ahead in which they did (thank you). We ran to the gate and were there at 6 only to be told "sorry." FACK.

We were advised to go get new tickets issues. Here begins the gong show. What I initially thought was stress (might have been a bug) from missing the flight caused me to start throwing up in the airport (don't worry, I got to the bathroom). We spoke with Aero Mexico who informed us even though the flight was on their plane it was issued by Air Canada so we had to go to them. So we find there desk only to be told no one would be there until 10:30am. WHAT?! We get directed to their office and I am literally heaving in their office as they tell us "We could help you if it was our fault, but since it's not, we can't. You need to buy new tickets." As hard as we try, they do not budge at all and so we head back to the hotel and ask for our room back until check out at 1pm. I proceed to hurl and sleep on the floor before finally getting back into bed for some sleep.

We get in touch with race organizers and ask what they want us to do and we were told to buy new tickets and they would reimburse (2 tickets from Mexico City to Guadalajara were just over $700 freaking Canadian). We bought new tickets for 5pm and spent 1pm to 5pm in the airport (at least we knew where to go this time). I try to eat in the airport but every time I do, it doesn't sit well. As soon as we board the plane I am in the bathroom heaving. Thankfully I slept on the plan for the short flight and that settled my stomach.

By the time we were checked into our hotel in Guadalajara it's nearly 9pm. My stomach feels better so I try to eat. It goes down okay but then I feel ill so Warren goes out to try and find some anti-nausea medication only to find Peptol Bismol. Well that didn't stay down long enough to work. I feel better after and eventually fall asleep.

Nausea was off and on the next day but I manage to keep down my first meal (dinner) since Thursday afternoon. Race morning I wake up and I am nauseous after eating some breakfast. That results in some heaving again a few times before the race starts. All of these were signs I shouldn't have started. The race was at 5000ft so I knew it wouldn't be fast. I was going to get in a good hard effort in prep for a marathon. Keeping down 1 meal in over 48 hours wasn't going to help. I still hope for the best but it wasn't meant to be. By 6k I am walking and heaving. It happens again at 8km. And at 11km. I stopped counting after that. I walked too many times to count.

I debated dropping out but I didn't want to do that to organizers like I had in Toronto. If this had been a full marathon, I would have dropped to save on recovery, but I knew I could get through a half. It was a great race (though I question if people truthfully ran the entire course as I passed some questionable people even though I was slowing down) and well run (minus not knowing what the heck was going on in the Tech meeting due to not speaking Spanish and not enough translation).

I finished in an embarrassingly slow time (yep slower than Houston) and nearly threw up in the elite tent after the race. It was a slow walk back to the hotel where I nearly threw up multiple times. Eventually I had a long nap (4-5 hours) and felt a little better. I ate dinner that night and while the nausea came back, I had new nausea pills which seemed to help. It was hit or miss after that.

So I thought maybe it was nerves/anxiety initially but Warrens gut was also off and he felt nauseous many times as well. He never threw up, but felt off. Warning, TMI. My bowels were also off the entire time away too. We found out later that Warren's daughter was also throwing up on Friday (we had her at our place until Thursday morning) so who knows what was going on. I still don't know but I do know that we flew home Monday night leaving Guadalajara at 10pm and arrived back to Nanaimo for 8am again after getting lost in Mexico City (I will avoid that airport always from now on). 2 days after getting home, I got hit with another head/sinus cold that as of Sunday moved into my chest and has made running feel like death. I know this shall pass, but I just can't seem to catch a break! Hopefully soon, so that is why 2017 is officially on warning. Smarten up 2017. I am fit, let me show it!

Another Houston Photo

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