Garden Valley Half Marathon

April 8, 2017

[I’ve also got a bunch of races to catch up on!]

Spoiler alert: This does not end with me doing the full marathon. It’s maybe gonna sound like it’s gonna happen, so I don’t wanna misdirect you or anything. I do the half.

Anyway, without further ado…

I was wondering back and forth if I should do the full or the half. Technically, this race had no time limit. So, obviously I should do the full, right? But I dunno. I’d been kinda having a little foot weirdness and was just generally exhausted. Maybe it was smarter to just do the half…

But who’s gonna do a half when I need the miles and the race is time limit-less? I need to do that full, yo!

So, I’m still thinking about it. My dad came out for the weekend, so he drove me to the start (which was pretty dope – yay for me not having to drive!).

And the race people give you this goody bag thing when you show up. And there was a 26.2 magnet in there!!!

I try to college magnets from full marathons I do, so to me it felt like a sign. “They’re giving me a magnet! I gotta do this, holmes.”

But I asked if I’d be able to change my mind mid-race even still, and they said yes.

Things went along well at first. I was walking with these two lovely women, talking about the craziness of politics right now, until we got to the turnaround for the half – which they took, as that’s what they were doing.

And then, somewhere around mile 10, I just started falling apart.

Everything hurt. I could barely make it anywhere. When I did make it to a port-o-potty around mile 16-ish, I think, I sat down in there and my legs were just shaking uncontrollably. Every. Thing. Hurt.

Why oh why oh why have I gotten so so so so bad at these races?!

At one point, as I was going along, I saw a sign that said something like, “One day I will not be able to do this. Today is not that day.” That gave me energy for like 1/9 of a mile as I muttered over and over, “today is not that day. Today can’t be that day. I can do this. I can do this.”

As I got slower and kinda feeblier, I guess, I was practically cursing the name of the man who assaulted me. I started crying somewhere in a later mile completely talking to myself (really to myself, I was in the middle of Amish country way away from anybody).

So, I’m crying and being like, “If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t even be in this stupid mess to begin with! I wouldn’t be doing this project. I wouldn’t need to because I wouldn’t have holed up in my home and stopped running.”

And of course then I got a little self-reflecty like, could I have done more for myself? PTSD and a bought of depression isn’t a cart blanche excuse to just ruin everything about your life. But it didn’t change the fact that I can have some anger/upsetness/regret toward his general area. So, I was having my little mental breakdown and I kept moving forward.

At some point, one of the course sweepers asked if I’d take the walkie talkie, as I was the last person, and if I needed anything I could just ask.

As I muddled forward, eventually, I asked if I needed to stop, could I just take a time for the half and get a half medal and call it day, or is it marathon or bust?

They told me I could do that. But I still didn’t want to.

[Note: I’m gonna talk a little about a crazy blister/foot thing. If you’re not interested in reading that, please skip the section between the dotted lines.]

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Finally, I stopped to take off my shoes and try to take care of this blister I was pretty sure I could feel. “Maybe if I just get rid of that, I’ll be able to be more successful at this.”

Now, I’ve been a marathoner for about 5 years. I’m not perfect at blister management. But I feel like I have a general idea how to kind of take care of them in a way to get by. And I’ve never had to take care of any *during* a marathon before. (I mean, that feels a little dangerous to me.) But this one was out of control.

…But I couldn’t get it to pop/be okay.

[Edited to add: It’s because I had a toe infection! It was unpoppable. There was like – I don’t even know, friend. We shouldn’t even talk about what was going on in my toe. But my podiatrist said that the skin was way too rough around it and it was going to be ruuull gross and bad and such and maybe be made worse if we tried to pop it. So, I got some medicine and eventually (soon enough) the swelling went down.]

Anyway, so on race day, I was having trouble even getting my shoe back on, my foot had swollen so much.

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One of the race people stopped to check on me during their normal just drivin’ around checking round. And she was like, “I can’t tell you what to do. I know you don’t want to quit. But if you can’t even get your shoe back on, I don’t know how you’re gonna keep going. You have a lot of miles left.”

And I’m just all, “I can do it! I can do it!” through loads of despair.

And I’m trying so hard to shove my foot back into my shoe, but it won’t go in.

And finally, my dad comes and picks me up, and I walkie in and say I’m just gonna be a half finisher (as I’d already gone miles over 13.1) as he drives me to the finish.

(And of course, my time was like ridiiiiiculously long after all of this craziness – like, longer than most of my full marathon times. But alas, ’tis what it it is.)

The people here were SO nice. They were so nice about helping and getting me the half medal and everything. And I would like to go back next year and earn that magnet! But I suppose time will tell!

I'd love to hear from you! So whaddya say?