Monday, June 13, 2016

Race Recap: Revel Rockies Marathon

I DNF'd and it was the scariest race experience of my life.  

I chose to run Revel Rockies after having run Revel Mt Charleston five weeks prior and getting so darn close to that BQ time I could taste it.  I figured this would be a good course since it was so similar and hopefully my muscle memory would be there.   Revel Rockies starts at 10,500ft above sea level.  I didn't think the altitude would be a factor as Mt Charleston started at 7,000ft and I didn't notice it.  

I flew to Denver Saturday morning and was picked up by fellow Nuun team mate, Cody.  We went from the airport to the expo.  We both missed our BQ times at marathons within the last five weeks and were both out for redemption (mine by 1 min 12 secs officially).  I felt ready to run another knowing exactly where to cut the time even with the same run effort.  I had a plan.  I was nervous but I believed in myself.  I had mostly rested since the last marathon and despite a bout of tonsilititis during the in between period, I felt like that BQ plus a 2 min buffer was in reach.  

We had lunch in Golden, CO after the expo and I drank lots of water.   I started to worry about the heat.  It was 94 on Saturday.  Cody informed me last weekend had not been nearly as hot.  We then rested for the afternoon, made a pasta dinner and went to bed by 7pm.  

The alarm went off at 2:30am.  We ate a breakfast of oatmeal and a peanut butter English muffin plus a Nuun and coffee.  We hit the road at 3am headed to the bus pick up.  Being a point to point, the busses take us up the mountain to the start line.  On the bus I drank half my bottle of Nuun and half of a banana.  
I drank more while we waited at the top to start and finished my Nuun before checking my bag.  We hit the bathrooms in which the lines were a little crazy due to space restrictions being right on the edge of the mountain.  Then we shed our Mylar blankets.  It was almost warm enough to not need them.  

We headed to the start and I talked to many runners all trying to BQ.  I wished them luck and told them I'd check on them after in the results to make sure they got it!  And one of the girls didn't- I found her after- next time Kelsey!  And when I checked the results Kim (aka Chowder) did with a 5 min buffer to spare!  

The views were incredible!  We came around one turn early in the course and you could almost hear jaws drop.  Evergreens, rushing water from snow melt....it was amazing!  

I started strong and happy with the 3:35 pace group.  I lost them about mile 5. I stayed ahead of the 3:40 group until about mile 12 and they passed me.  I started to realize my dream was dying.  My batteries were draining and my stomach was starting to turn on me.  I had to stop to use the porta potty and 3:45 passed me.  I had dirrehea a total of  four times and one time couldn't even make it to porta.   Around mile 20 I was walking with an older gentleman and he said "all right lets run now" and I responded, "I can't, I think I'm going to poop my pants". And I had to just pull over side of road with no privacy cover- not a finest moment.  At this point any time I tried to run again, my stomach fought back.   I think the altitude affected my supply of oxygenated blood and then what I did have went to my extremities and not to my stomach.  So I wasn't digesting any of my gels.  Then they all just came out in the porta potty đŸ˜–Stomach hurt so much I stopped taking gels or any Gatorade but guzzled water.  My hands bloated and went numb at mile 21 (which I later learned is a dehydration sign) so I walked to 23 with them over my head trying to alleviate the situation. Then I started to get dizzy and decided I needed to find medical bc if I collapse out here in the hot sun with the winding mountain roads no one will find me for a while.  I was having lower back pain on my right side only and other runners were telling me it was just from running so far but I knew my body and knew that wasn't it....I feared my kidneys.  I stopped at medical at 23.5 and As I was trying to tell them what was wrong my hands locked up and I couldn't move my fingers!  It's like they were paralyzed....another symptom of my level of dehydration.  I started hyper ventaliating.  They wanted me to get electrolytes right away but I couldn't hold the cup since my fingers wouldn't move so they had to pour down my throat.  They put a finger pulse monitor on me and my heart rate was very high.  Once I could finally breathe I asked about the pain and they said kidneys, possible start of a kidney infection.   I said I'm not finishing this thing.  Not worth it!

I had to wait to get cleared by medical then wait for the SAG wagon.  Then the SAG had to go all the way around the back of the course.  While this was happening,  time just kept ticking.  I was worried about Cody who I knew was waiting and wondering and worrying.  Medical asked if I wanted to call him but I didn't have his number memorized.  It's in my phone but I didn't run with it.  Then I thought of calling Jim because I knew he was worrying with the tracking. Medical realized their phones didn't have service anyway.  

I didn't finish but unfortunately the results say I did due to getting picked up by the sensor when I went to go get my bag around the 5:20 mark.  I found Cody and his friend Dave who were very relieved and worried.  Dave went to go get my bag for me while Cody and I waited- super hero!  

Cody and I chatted and we both experienced very similar digestive issues and rough races....We think due to the heat.  We said goodbye to Dave and headed to board the shuttles back to our car.  
Revel still said I could accept a medal but I didn't initially.  Then Cody told me to get back in there and get it.  If nothing else as a reminder of the experience, so I went back and got it.  I probably won't hang it with my other medals, but I will save it as a reminder of hopefully my only DNF.  

I am sad that I really wanted this to work out but conditions weren't on my side.  But there will be other races....hopefully many other races.  At the airport on my return trip I sat next to a couple at lunch that had each completed 100 marathons!  So this unlucky 7 is perhaps just a drop In the bucket.  I've completed 4 marathons in 8 months and that in its self is tough.  It was not worth pushing my body just to finish the last 2.7 miles....no matter how much I wanted to. 

Time to regroup, plan and conquer!  

9 comments:

  1. Oh Colleen, so sorry. Elevation is no joke. When we lived in Colorado it took me 4 years to really acclimate to running at 7,000 feet, let alone 10,000. The thin air can really do a number on someone who hasn't run at that elevation before. Next time, go out a week before the race and acclimate first! Glad you are ok!! You will get the BQ...have you thought about Steamtown in PA?? That is the race I think I will try to BQ at next year!

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  2. I'm sorry you had that scary experience! It sounds horrible. I hope you're feeling better now!

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  3. Wow!! I can't believe all of that happened. you're still amazing though and that medal will be a wonderful reminder and just push you further for your next marathon! I'm glad you are better; take it easy and rest up! I'm curious if you could eventually do another post about racing weight and if you've gotten down to the number you apparently should be at? Hugs!

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  4. That sounds so, so, so scary. Sounds like DNFing was your only option- your body made that choice for you. Sounds like your body is tired from all the marathons you have run so close together. I hope you recover well, so you are ready to go for the next one!

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  5. Oh Colleen, what a rough day! My insides hurt just reading this recap. You did the right thing, even if it sucked to DNF. I had a somewhat similar experience at my first half - dehydration and lack of sodium. It was scary and so awful. Wishing you some speedy marathons in your future. That BQ is yours when you go after it again! In the meantime, be good to yourself and show yourself grace. You gave it your all and at the end of the day, that's all you can do. <3 -C

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  6. OMG! I am so glad that you are ok!

    that must have been so scary!

    I am glad you listening to your body and took care of yourself!

    There will be so many other races and that BQ will come just when it is suppose to and I will be cheering for you!!

    Take care of yourself and allow your body to rest and recover.

    See you at roses on Saturday!

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  7. I'm so sorry this happened! I feel so bad I didn't check in right after the race! That altitude is so killer - just doing a few miles at similar altitude in New Mexico a couple years ago and I was wiped out. The fact that you got through 20+ miles in those conditions is a serious testament to your fitness and training. There will be so many more races, and the good ones will be that much sweeter! Did you have to do any follow up with teh kidney fears?

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  8. Awesome! It sounds a interesting race. Congratulation! Nice medal! :)

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  9. It took me a week to get through this post due to interruptions, but totally worth the read! Congratulations! I think you had the most meditative experience in a run that I’ve ever heard / read about. Thanks for sharing the race recap.

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