I met with Randy, Paul, Andrea, Rhonda, Ryan and Michelle today at mile 6 of the City of Trees Marathon course while it was still dark out. We enjoyed lots of light-hearted chatter as we ran along the course. Unfortunately for me, my stomach had issues starting at around mile 5 or 6. GI distress has become almost a constant companion to me on really long runs and I wish I knew why. I’ve gone over the foods I eat the day I run, the foods the night before, handling stress, etc but nothing seems to make it better. I have IBS and sometimes, it seems, out of the blue, my stomach will rebel on me and I have no other choice but to hit every bathroom along the way, slow down my pace and just endure.
I ran the first few miles with the group. A few of them got ahead when I made my first pit stop at a gas station. After another couple of miles, we said goodbye to Ryan and Michelle who’s already done several miles this morning before we arrived. After another few miles, Randy and I said goodbye to our friend, Paul and we headed on our way.
I did get a couple of interesting bathroom experiences today. Randy spotted a porta-potty still on a trailer, sitting at a slant parked along the road. I had visions of a truck backing up to it while I was inside, hooking up and driving away with me banging on the door and yelling, “HELP!”, but thankfully, it was pretty uneventful. Since my stomach was bothering me so much, I finally asked Randy to go ahead of me at about mile 10 or 11 so he could catch up to Andrea, who was super speedy today.
Once he left, I felt a bit more at ease, since I hate holding everyone up when I have to run for the bathroom again and again. I was glad he was able to enjoy his run a bit more with my friend.
I found out that if you use the bathroom in the park, and are sick enough to be in there for awhile, the lights will automatically just shut off – and there you are sitting in a pitch black, brick building feeling around for the toilet paper in a panic! That was a weird bathroom experience! Apparently the toilet gods were feeling I’d had my turn and should move along. So, I did.
Legs felt heavy after the first 5-6 miles today. My right hamstring seems achy from yesterday’s race and I could feel the volume of miles and their toll on my body — 58 miles this week — my highest mileage week EVER! I thought about that today when the run was challenging and my stomach was churning “Just get the miles. Just get this done.” And, I did.
This was the last super, long run I’ll be doing before my marathon in three weeks. Eager to ease back on the miles gradually over the next couple weeks leading up to the marathon. I’m ready to taper.
And… if anyone was wondering — yes, I’m very concerned about my stomach and the race. I decided today to lower my expectations for the race again. I’ve proven to myself that I can run fast — at shorter distances and don’t seem to suffer any problems normally up to the half marathon distance. About half the time that I run beyond that, though, I struggle with tummy problems. I wish it wasn’t so. I wish I could fix it and enjoy my super long runs more — but at this point, I think I’ll just be happy with a PR at the race. I’ll still be proud of that.
One more thing — I did shut my Garmin off at the bathroom breaks today, so my time does not reflect all that stopping. So my time would have been much worse if it had been a timed race.
Stats: 20.01 miles. 3:38 overall time. 10:56: ave pace.