The Incredible Shrinking Krista

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Not quite a Princess--pictures added

This year's Princess Half Marathon didn't exactly go as planned, but as with every other failure I have experienced along this journey, I am going to break down my experience and look at the positive outcomes and learning experiences.  I have also spent the last 3 days analyzing what went wrong, and how to deal with those experiences in the future.

So, let's start with last Wednesday, when we were headed south to Disney.  I started to notice during the drive that I was running a fever, and the innocent cold that had started on Monday (I suspect spending the night in the frigid hospital waiting room was to blame) had started to move into my chest, and was getting worse.  Now, when you are getting ready to run a half marathon, AND you suffer from exercise induced asthma, a sinus infection feels like a nail in the coffin.  So I bought some sinus medicine and took it religiously for the next few days.  I also decided that it would be best to skip out on the 5k, because with my lung issues, I didn't want to run the 5k and get my lungs all messed up and not be able to do the Half on Sunday.

Thursday we got to the resort, got checked in, headed to the ticket line, and then it was off to the park.  On Thursday we went to Hollywood Studios, which the kids were NOT happy about initially.  We got there just in time for the afternoon parade and got to participate in a flash mob as well.  We then hit Tower of Terror and Rockin' Roller Coaster.  We did tons of stuff we hadn't been able to do before, like the Little Mermaid, Toy Story, Star Tours, etc.  The kids had a blast!

Friday Kara and I got up and headed to the Expo to pick up our bibs, shirts, etc.

I knew I needed to pick up some race nutrition stuff as well, and was hoping to meet Ali Vincent, the first female winner of The Biggest Loser.  To say that the Expo was a nightmare might be the understatement of the century.  I had to wait in 5 different lines to pick up bibs for me and the kids, and a REALLY long line for the t-shirts.  I ended up hanging out at the Run Disney stage and listening to Ali Vincent tell her weight loss story.

I was moved to tears a few times by what she had to say.  I know that things have to change very soon for me because I'm on the precipice of having severe issues due to my weight, and cannot continue to live this way.  I'm tired of it, and for the first time in my life, I'm starting to realize that I deserve better.

I then waited in line to get my ankles taped by KT tape, waited in line again to get some Run Disney merchandise, specifically an "I Did It" shirt.  I was hesitant to buy it in advance, but I heard they were running out of them, and didn't want to risk actually completing 13.1 miles, and not being able to sport that pretty pink shirt.  By the time I got back to the room my mom, sister and kids were all over at Magic Kingdom.  I went over to meet them there, and we closed the park down.

Kara and Justin had to get up early on Saturday morning to be in their Start Corral for the 5k in time.  I had told Justin that he had to stay with his aunt Kara until she told him it was okay to go.  She ended up making him stay with her for the whole first mile, and then turned him loose once they were in the park.  Justin ended up finishing in 42 minutes.

He told me that was 3 minutes faster than he expected, and that it would have been faster had aunt Kara not held him back.  I couldn't be any more proud of him.  Then the older girls, Mae and Ada, ran the mile together.  We told them to stay together because they had to go to the corral alone, and it made me nervous.  After they finished the mile in just under 20 minutes, the 100 meter run started.  I was in the corral with Ella, and she wanted me to run with her.  I was in NO WAY dressed to run, and even had on my sandals.  I ran with her, and it wasn't a good idea.  She did great, until she saw Goofy at the finish line, and she couldn't get around me fast enough to put me between the two of them.  We decided not to do a park visit on Saturday because of the half.  It was really hot the whole time we were there.  With the warnings about heat, hydration and things, we thought it best to rest on Saturday.  I finished my tutu, Kara took the kids to the pool for a while.  We watched a wedding at the resort, and had a ball.  In bed about 8:30 to be up and at 'em at 2:15 for the race on Sunday.

Sunday started Early!!!  Out of the hostel room and on the bus by 3:00 am to get to the race.  Now, for someone who isn't a morning person, Disney does a stellar job putting on a race.  getting there in the morning at that ungodly hour, and they have a DJ spinning in the parking lot, lots of excitement, folks dancing, etc.  Now, let me say that if you are considering running in a tutu for some reason, I would highly recommend against it.  Going to the bathroom with a tutu, NOT EASY!!!  From here on out, I will stick to Sparkle Skirts.

Headed to the Corral, got there, and apparently, Corral D, which was mine, was the biggest.  It was HUGE.  As the corrals started heading out, I could feel the anxiety ramping up.  What if I get swept again?  What if I can't make it?  There was 100% humidity at the start of the race, what if my lungs give out?  I honestly felt like I was going to vomit.  we continued to move up toward the start line, and finally it was our turn.  My bladder decided it needed to be emptied AGAIN, but there were NO porta-potties.  Now, at the risk of being indelicate, when you have to go, you have to go.  The Princes could manage this very easily, and while not discreet, all you could see was their back, no biggie.  Us Princesses, not so much....but, a girl has to do what she has to do.  I was a little more discriminating about my locations than some, and saw way more shiny white hineys in the first mile-and-a-half than I would have liked, but I knew the feeling.  I found a relatively dark place just under/behind a billboard, and did what I had to do, then hit the road again.  I continued o drink my Gatorade, trying not to get dehydrated, and was apparently over-hydrating, because another potty stop was necessary right at mile 2.  This time there was a bank of bushes around some electrical boxes/equipment, so there was plenty of cover, and while everyone who saw me duck into the bushes knew what I was going to do, they didn't see me do it.  By now the fear of being swept had crept in and was eating away at me.  I was past the place I got swept last year but I had this overwhelming feeling that it was going to happen again at any minute.  Every corner I turned I thought there would be a bus waiting on me to take me to the finish line.

Mile one in about 17:20, behind pace, but my fastest of the day

Mile 2 in 19:30...this is shaping up to be a LONG day!

I have to go back and say that in stark contrast to last year, my sister decided to stay with me for the race this year.  I also had a friend from the Running Mom's Mafia, Denise, who was going to run with me and help to pace me.  She met me at mile 2.1 I think, and she is tiny, but mighty.  She is a BEAUTIFUL soul and a WONDERFUL person, who has the ability to motivate you, and everyone around you without being ugly.  Denise kept telling me that she knew I was going to be calling her a bitch for the way she was motivating, but that word couldn't have been further from my mind.  I literally wanted to hug her cute little neck every minute of every mile.  She was more AMAZING than I would have ever expected, and I look forward to the privilege of doing a race with her again sometime in the future, when I have gotten some of this weight off, and improved my speed and training.  There are not nearly enough words in the English language to express my gratitude for what Denise did for me on Sunday.

So Denise met up with me just beyond mile 2 and gave me a hug, then started to get me moving!  She told me we were pacing at a 14:30 mile and she wanted to keep that pace through mile 5 or 6 if I could handle that to build a cushion on the sweepers.  The funny thing is, with the exception of a few conversations along the way, I have NO IDEA what Denise was saying, just that it took me to another place mentally.  I quit being preoccupied with the balloon ladies and being swept, and just enjoyed the experience.  There is something incredible about seeing strangers cheering for you and highfiving you.  It is humbling, and beautiful, and SO FUN!!  As we went through the back lot and hit Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, I started crying immediately.  All I wanted last year was to get to the castle.  I was staring down Main Street at the Castle and I was overwhelmed with emotion.  I went jogging up Main Street, and my buddy Denise was telling me where to go to stop for my picture.  She took my pic in front of the castle, then a pic of the 2 of us, then a pic of me, her and my sister.  I put my camera away and headed back out.  Denise said the next time I stopped for a picture would be at mile marker 13.  I made it around, and got to hear the trumpets blow as we entered the back of the castle.  We had to walk through the castle, shoulder-to-shoulder, chest-to-back, very slowly, but it gave me enough time to get pixie dusted on the way through.

I LOVE this woman!  She is an amazing inspiration and a wonderful woman!

Me, my sis and my pacing buddy!

After crossing the 10k mark, there was a water stop.  Denise had talked to me about how you lose 30 seconds to a minute at each water stop, and I had a hydration belt on with water bottles.  I squeezed the water bottle, the water shot out, hit the uvula in the back of my throat and the coughing and heaving and gagging started.  I thought I was going to hurl for sure.  I finally regained my composure and went on.  I knew the next 2 big milestones would be the song at Halfway and seeing my family.  I was so proud to know I would get to go past them.  My son was so worried on Saturday night about whether or not  I would be able to make it past them on Sunday.  When I saw my family the tears started flowing for sure.  I knew that they were going to be excited and proud of me.  At this point, still no sign of the balloon ladies and I was feeling confident that I would finish.

Around mile 3 my right foot had started hurting, on the top, just below my ankle bone.  I could feel something wrong in my foot, like there were bones moving and rubbing against each other, in ways that they really shouldn't.  It really hurt, A LOT.  I kept trying to put it out of my mind, and was fairly successful in doing so.  Then I heard someone say that the balloon ladies were only 10 minutes behind us around mile 8 or 9.  I freaked out, started crying and telling Denise that I wasn't going to make it.  She talked me down and just about had me convinced that I was going to finish when the balloon ladies passed us.  The balloon lady was hollering as she went by a photo stop that if people didn't want to get swept they had to get in front of her by the next mile marker.  Well, we beat that mark, but as I approached mile marker 10, the pain in my foot had gotten so intense that I was gagging and feeling queasy.  I also saw the volunteers waving orange flags at us and they said we were 4 minutes behind the pace and had to pace the next mile marker in 12 minutes.  Now, this is when the freak out intensified.  I hadn't done a 12 minute mile the entire race, there was no way in hell with the pain that I was in I could make it to mile marker 11 in 12 minutes.

I am sad to say that I threw in the towel.  I sat down on the guard rail and cried.....A LOT!!!  In hind sight, I don't know that the physical pain was as bad as the emotional pain of seeing the balloon ladies!  There was a medic I had noticed earlier in the race that was a dude wearing khaki shorts and a tutu.  He is the one that came over to me after I sat down and Denise yelled for a medic.  I told her I would be find and I didn't want her to get swept.  I don't remember the medic's name, but he asked me why I was crying.  I told him that I was failing my kids because they would be waiting on me at the finish line.  He encouraged me that I shouldn't be upset, that continuing on and finishing the last 3.1 miles could do more damage than good, and I didn't want to not be able to come back next year and finish it.  He was awesome!

I sat there and waited on the bus, and once it got there, another medic helped me to the bus.  I hobbled over and up the stairs, and got a round of applause from the folks on the bus.  There were only a few seats left, as all of them had been swept at mile 8, and they told me they were proud I had made it to mile 10.  I got to the finish line, put ice on my foot/ankle, had the medics put the blister treatment on my feet.  I sat there for a few minutes and took in the fact that yet again, I hadn't walked or run across the finish line, but ended my race in the medic tent in the back lot.  I was so disgusted and disappointed with myself.  I hobbled to bag check, then found a place in the parking lot and sat down and waited for my mom and sister.  Once they found me, Kara ended up getting a wheel chair for me to take me to the race transportation back to the hotel, and she, my mom and the kids caught the monorail back to Polynesian, then the race bus back across the street to the hotel.  Back to the room to get cleaned up.  Took myself a hot bath, which is when I discovered the bad case of chafing I had on my back.  I had basically bathed myself in body glide before the race, but I couldn't reach my back....BIG MISTAKE!!!  A couple of hours later, I headed off to the ER to get my foot checked out.  I had taken 5 Tylenol during the race, I took a narcotic pain killer once I got out of the tub, and my foot was still killing me.  The ER Doctor said he suspects I may have a stress fracture in my foot, because of what I described.  Stress fractures apparently don't show up right away on x-ray when that is the case, only once they start to heal and a callous starts to form.

I'm now 3 days out of the race and here are the positive things I have taken from this race:
-Since race day, my bum foot is the only part of my body that has hurt.
-even with 98% to 100% humidity on race day, I didn't wheeze once, and my lungs never once hurt or gave out on me, this is proof that the training I am doing to build my lung capacity are working
-I did 5x the mileage I made it through last year

The negatives:
-I could have and should have finished
-I left seeing the balloon lady get in my head
-I yet again sabotaged and gave up on myself

Finally, I have been told repeatedly, by a lot of people that I shouldn't be running.  I don't have a "runner's body".  But here's the thing, I did 10 miles and the next day, the only thing that hurt was my bum foot.  I am NOT going to quit running.  Instead I am going to start over from square one, really.  If I am being 100% honest, I haven't trained appropriately for anything I have "run" so far.  Once I get my foot checked out and know there is nothing wrong with it I am going to start the couch to 5k program and work on my endurance and speed.  I want to get my 5k time under 40 minutes.  I am doing a 5k on June 1, here in the Quay, and want my time to be 40 minutes of less.  So I am going to be working really hard on that in the coming months.  If I reach that goal, then I will be working on a 10k.  I am registered for the Wicked 10K in October and will be doing that.  If I can get my 5k time under 40 minutes, I want my 10K time under 1:15, maybe not by October, but definitely by the end of this year.  The next half marathon I do will be the Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon in Raleigh in April of 2014.  By then, I am hoping to have 120# off, and to be able to finish it in under 3 hours, though under 2:45 would be ideal.

Here are the split times that I have from the Princess on Sunday:
5k time--1:02:39, an average pace of 20:10, my WORST 5k time EVER!
10K time--2:00:39, an average pace of 19:25
15k time--3:03:49, an average pace of 19:43