I don't know if I'm ready to talk about this yet. It's easy to say that I came close and I did more than a lot of other people and I tried hard and gave it my best but the fact remains, I didn't finish. I trained hard and I ran a lot of miles and I tried to make sure I was prepared but still, I didn't finish.
I remember watching my mom iron my dad's shirts once and asking her if it was annoying to have to iron all those shirts for him and she said, "only if I think about it". Which made me smile. But I get it.
If I don't really think about what I didn't accomplish, then it's not a big deal that I didn't finish. I can feel good about the accomplishments I had along the way. I ran 20 miles on a training run and felt great! I ran 22 miles on the day of the marathon!
But when I really examine my feelings about the marathon, the one thing that stands out the most is that I didn't finish.
The course was beautiful, the weather was mild and cloudy. I was trying to drink water and stay hyrdrated and I had lot of GU (energy gel) packets. But somewhere around mile 14, I started to not feel great. My stomach was kind of rolling and when I tried to have some GU, it didn't go down very easy. I tried to drink more water but still kept stopping to walk. I'd get a burst of energy and run for a few minutes and then walk again. I kept thinking it was mental and I just needed to push through. I tried GU again with the same results. Ick. Then, about halfway through mile 21, I started feeling a tingly sensation in my arms and legs and knew that wasn't good. I told the girls to go on without me and they asked if I wanted them to flag down a car and I said yes.
There was an ambulance ahead so we went there and they asked if I needed to go to a hospital or if I wanted a ride back to the finish and I said a ride back would be fine. My friends went on ahead (after repeated assurances that I would be fine and they should go- they did not want to leave me behind). I waited for a car with the EMT's and they checked my pulse, which was on the slow side. I sat down on a cooler and then the car came. I went to stand up and apparently, I went really white and almost passed out. At that time, the EMT's decided to give me a ride in the ambulance and I was just glad someone else was calling the shots because I didn't like how I was feeling and just wanted to feel better.
They took me to the medic tent and after a few attempts, finally got an iv started. I laid there and listened to the people around me and wondered how my friends were doing. A little bit later, I heard someone say that yes, Angie Hall was in the tent, but no, they could not come in. And I smiled and couldn't wait to get out to find them. The iv was almost done and I was feeling pretty good (just freezing!) so they unhooked me and helped me sit up and then stand. I walked out and saw my friends and got hugs and heard about their finish and got some food (I was so hungry!) and shivered because I was still freezing and walked back to the car. I was so happy for them and so happy that I was feeling better and so happy it was all over.
We went back and showered (and I was so happy to have a warm shower) and then got some more food (so happy to be eating again!) and we had fun hanging around. I wasn't too sore and joked about running another one soon while I was still in shape because I wanted to cross that finish line. I wasn't too upset about not finishing but didn't really think about it. I figured I was just handling things really well.
After we got home, I started to see people who knew I was planning to run a marathon. And all of a sudden, my story sounded really lame. "I felt okay and ran 2/3 of it and then started feeling bad and went back in an ambulance. I don't really know what happened. But I'll try again!" I just wanted to hide for awhile. Because instead of being someone who ran a marathon, I was someone who tried but didn't succeed.
I had high hopes of trying again in June but it was really hot that weekend. Since I'm fairly sure that dehydration was the culprit for my first failed attempt, I didn't think it'd be good to add heat when I tried again. So I decided to run the one in our hometown that was supposed to be on a nice, flat course. How cool would that be? Support from friends and family, running in the fall, training on the actual course - sounded perfect.
Then I found out the course wasn't flat. At all. And I was having trouble staying motivated for the training runs. And I got really nervous about trying again and failing. So now I am setting it aside for another time, maybe next year. And I'm wondering if I didn't handle it as well as I thought. I'm thinking there might be some issues going on subconsicously with me and running. I need to make it something that is for me, not for anyone else. It's great to run with friends but it needs to be something I will do even if no one is out there with me. If I can't do that, maybe I don't want it bad enough.