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What just happened? (Report from CIM)

CompulsiveRunner

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I’m unpacking my suitcase, one soggy item at a time. My favorite sports bra, twisted and damp. Clammy shorts, turned inside out, a nearly-empty Gu wrapper stuck inside the right pocket. A sweaty shirt. A crumpled bib. Wet socks. Snot-encrusted mittens.

As I drop each piece into the hamper, it hits me again.

I did not run that damn marathon.

I dropped out at mile 13, a decision I never dreamed I’d have to make.

I’d arrived at the start line with a joyful heart. 2019 had been a rough year—a surprise cancer diagnosis, followed by surgery and radiation, then a raft of challenges affecting people I love—my dad, my brother, my son, a close friend. Sometime during the summer shitstorm, my daughter sent me a short text:

I’m signing up for CIM. Interested?

My immediate response:  Nope. This is the not the year for me to run a marathon. But have fun.

It took about 5 seconds to change my mind.

Ignore that last text, honey. This is the PERFECT year to run a marathon. I’m in.

Training went well for both of us. I’d had a tough time getting my energy back after radiation, but once I had a simple plan in front of me, I managed to reclaim my mojo. Running felt fun again. Less struggle, more magic. Lauren hired a coach and worked her tail off. Week after week of quality runs, all done in the dark before long days at the office. So much determination.

Race weekend arrived and we were both more than ready. With husbands in tow, we connected at the Sacramento airport, made a quick trip to packet pickup, stopped at Whole Foods where we could each choose a perfect pre-race dinner, then found our Air BnB. No nerves (for me at least) because my only goals were to celebrate my return to normal and enjoy what could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience with my girl.  

Race morning went smoothly too. The rain had stopped, the busses were warm, and the porta potty lines were (relatively) short. We parted a few minutes before the elite took off, then 10 minutes later, I was on my way.

I’m still trying to figure out why so many people do so well at CIM. Yes, it’s net downhill, but the rollers start in mile 1 and seem to go on forever. I was enjoying them though–floating up, cruising down—so damn grateful to be alive and on the move.

The first hour flew by, but sometime in mile 8, I felt this weird sensation under my feet. It was like there was a hydraulic lift under the road, shifting the left side up and the right side down. At first, it was almost imperceptible, but as I continued, the slope increased. To keep from falling, I had to pick up each foot and place it back down on the ground very deliberately, like I was marching or doing high-steps. I slowed the pace, drank more water, slurped on Gu, took more walk breaks, swore at myself, focused on my friend with Stage 4 cancer, visualized the finish line—every trick in the book, but nothing worked. By mile 12, I was pretty sure I was going to fall off the side of the world. That’s when I knew it was time to call my husband.

He and my son-in-law found me at mile 13, listing to the right as I tried to run. They pushed me to get medical help, but I refused. I know it was probably stupid, but I was afraid that if we all got caught up in the medical system, they would miss my daughter’s finish. I promised to stay in the car for the rest of the race and get help later if I still felt strange.

They made it to the finish line in time to see Lauren go sub-4 with a 13-minute PR and a beautiful 23-second negative split. She says she didn’t actually feel on top of her game, but her coach had told her repeatedly, “I’m not training you to have a great race. I’m training you to run well, even if you’re having a bad race.”

It worked.

So … we’re about two weeks out now. The soggy clothes have been laundered and put away, and I’ve done a few easy workouts. I haven’t had any more vertigo, but I’ve met two people that had it while exercising, one during a 10-mile race, another while cycling. I’m getting a physical before the end of the year, so will talk to the doctor about it then.

Haven’t decided how to redeem myself for this one. Stay tuned. In the meantime, I am trying hard to be grateful for what I gained, instead of focusing on what I didn’t accomplish.

The training really did help put the cancer behind me. And the opportunity to share a marathon experience with my first-born—the girl who was running with me before she even entered the world—well, that’s the best gift of all.  

 

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I’m glad you had a great training cycle. So sorry about the vertigo. We put so much into that one day. It’s rotten when it does not go according to plan.

Your daughter looks so darn happy at the finish line! Congratulations to her.

My offer is still open for redemption. Let me know.

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Wow, vertigo is definitely no joke. I had it during a walk a few weeks ago, felt like the ground had dropped out from under me like an earthquake. I hope you are ok now. Congratulations to your daughter on her amazing race! Even if you couldn't finish the marathon, you got back into the groove of training!

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I'm so sorry that race day turned out this way. 

I'm glad your training helped put some of this year behind you.  

I love the pic of you and your baby girl!  I think I remember it from a blog when the Loop was The Loop.  I'm glad you got to be there for her for this race.  Maybe she can join you again for the next one?

Hugs

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so sorry about the CIM finish, but so glad to hear you are running..

congratulations to your daughter !  
I heard the humidity was well over 90% at CIM, one of our Thursday evening runners said she was warm at the start line and then overheated, being used to cold dry CO.. 

my wife and her mom both get that unexplained vertigo sometimes, there is a medication for theirs that has helped, though I can't recall its name.. 

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I blame Whole Foods.

Sharing the weekend with your daughter will bring priceless memories. The DNF will fade away. 

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Thanks for being an awesome person. I admire your strength in all you do. Your daughter is a lucky person. 

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That last photo is priceless!!  I'm sorry that race day didn't go as planned, but it sounds like the process leading up to it was invaluable.  Hugs!

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Sorry CIM turned out that way. I'm sure your daughter was happy to have you there. She looks so happy at the finish. 

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DNFs are really tough pills to swallow, but I'm glad you have been able to find some silver linings.
Here's to putting 2019 behind us, letting the life-changing moments be a part of us, and kicking ass on the roads in 2020. 

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"the girl who was running with me before she even entered the world"  what a dear sentiment.  wishing you well in 2020

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Wow, what a mix of emotions on race day! 😮 Yay for your daughter, glad she kicked ass.  That photo of her at the end is awesome! I hope your doctor has an explanation for the vertigo. Good luck on that front and in 2020.

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I'm so late to this party, and there's plenty to celebrate. I've had vertigo 2-3 times, thankfully none while running a marathon. Woke up with it and couldn't get out of bed. Even spent a few days in the hospital for one episode. They never did find out what it was or why it happened. Obviously there was nothing you could have done.

But I'd say congrats on a major comeback and can't wait to see how your 2020 goes.

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