This weekend was supposed to be a wonderful racing experience. I was supposed to run 3 laps around some very familiar territory- the trails I run nearly every weekend. Unfortunately, things did not work out as expected.
First of all, the weather went haywire just a few hours before the race was scheduled to start. Instead of late April evening heat, we got an unexpected cold front, which was accompanied by rain and blustery winds.
Thankfully, the wacky weather settled before it was actually time for the race to begin at 7:30pm. I was signed up for the 27k distance (around 16.5 miles). The race started on time, but my stomach was acting up some. Now, this is not something completely foreign to me. There have been times where my stomach is upset, I run, and it passes and everything is fine. This was not the case here.
About half way through the first loop (we were to be completing 3), my stomach began to cramp. It was uncomfortable, but I still thought it would pass. We hit an aid station, and I grabbed some ginger pieces along with a shot of ginger ale, hoping that would do the trick. This helped for a little. My stomach seemed to settle some.
Then, about 10 minutes into the second lap, my stomach decided I should stop running. I felt stabbing pains in my stomach, which increasingly got worse. When we reached the end of lap 2, I bowed out. While I was sad to stop running before the end of the race, I felt so incredibly terrible that the idea of continuing on was worse.
I quickly headed to the car, throwing up along the side of the road as I went. When I reached the car, I popped the trunk to toss my hydration pack in the back, slammed the trunk, and went to retrieve my warm clothes from the car.
Unfortunately, my car key was still in my hydration pack.
A stream of foul words left my mouth, and I double and tripled checked to make sure I was really locked out of the car. Now, keep in mind, it was about 10:30pm, and I was super sweaty from running 11 miles…and also sick to my stomach. By this point I was shivering uncontrollably, and alternating between cussing and crying.
A fellow runner hooked me up with a nice, dry Orange Mud towel, and walked me back to the aid tent to see if they had emergency blankets or something to help keep me warm.
Now, I have had roadside assistance through AT&T for several years, so I had already called to put an order in for some help, and the dispatcher told me it would be around 45 minutes or so. I set up camp in the first aid tent, where I was immediately wrapped in 2 fleece blankets, and provided an extra beanie to help keep me warm.
I was also given a cup of vegan potato soap, which would have been delicious had my stomach not been revolting against food and liquid. I slowly sipped the soup and shivered beneath the blankets, trying to warm back up. After about 30 minutes of waiting for the tow truck, the dispatcher called me back and informed me that the scheduled tow company cancelled, as I was out of their service area. I asked how long it would take for another company to show, and she said she could not find anyone that could take the job.
By this time, it was nearly 11:30pm, I was freezing to death and feeling absolutely sick, my stomach still cramping and clenching. The lady who provided me the cup of soap, came to check on me, and I told her what happened. She said she would call AAA, and help me get into my car. I soon found out that she was the mother of the race director, Jamil Coury.
AAA said it would be another hour or so, but I was so relieved to have someone actually on the way, it could have been 2 hours and I would have been elated.
The delay allowed me to be able to watch my 2 friends finish the race, and they soon joined me in the first aid tent, while we waited for AAA to come to the rescue. AAA came around 12:40am, and I have never been so relieved to see my car door open.
My stomach continued to be upset through the night and into the next day, but I never felt too bad about my DNF. I knew it was the right decision, and I would have never made it through another 5.5 miles. I am not even sure how I made it to 11 miles, honestly.
I feel proud that I was able to listen to my body, and make a decision that was best for me at that time. I know there will be many, many more long trail races coming up soon, and I know that physically (well, besides my stomach pain), I would have finished and felt strong at the end.
I tend to not listen to my body, and push through things that I shouldn’t. I feel confident my choice to stop was the right one to make. So, while my personal race was not a great experience, I definitely experienced some awesome support from Aravaipa. and will be a die hard Aravaipa supporter for life.