Just as a little background to put this post into perspective… Prior to getting sick, I had been an avid, yet average recreational runner. After recovering from the initial shock of being sick, I started to get back to real life and running. In 2014, I ran two marathons (San Francisco and St. Jude in Memphis) with the assistance of IV fluids during the race. From 2014-18 I have had a lot of ups and downs with my health and running and most recently in April of 2018 I had a sub-total gastrectomy with intestinal revision, then in September I had a total gastrectomy (removal of my stomach). Prior to surgery I was running with the goal of being in the best shape possible in order to help my body recover from surgery quickly. Post-operatively I took 2 weeks completely off from running and during this time I was getting all of my nutrition via my IV as I could not eat anything except for minimal sips of water and small amounts of hard candy or Popsicles for 5 weeks (see the dramatic posts from September)! Slowly I started running again. I had several friends that were planning to do the Monumental Marathon or Half Marathon and I had an intense fear of missing out, so about 3 weeks prior to the race I decided to sign up for the half marathon. I had only been running about 20 miles per week and my longest run post surgery was only 8 miles, but for the first time in over 7 years, I was able to tolerate food and eat like a normal person.
Because my training was sporadic during the past few months, I didn’t really know what to expect or what to try to do for the race. One of my friends that I typically run my long runs with had told me her PR was 2 hr 15 min on a hilly course and we typically run our long runs at ~ 10:15-10:30 min/mile pace which would result in a 2 hour 10 min finish time. I knew she could have a huge PR, so I offered to pace her for the first 10 or so miles to get her a PR. I was really unsure of what my body could do. I was worried that my endurance was not there and at any point in the race I could fall apart and be too tired to keep going.
The night before the race I ate two slices of thin crust pizza and before bed I drank so oral rehydration solution and a handful of pretzles. The morning of the race I ate a piece of toast with almond butter and a banana. I put to Spring Energy gels in my pocket. On the day of the race, I felt great at the start. The early miles seemed to click by fast at ~9:30-9:45 min/mile. I took my first gel with a sip of water just before mile 5 and then took the second at a water stop between mile 9-10. I wanted to make sure I fueled well, so I walked through the stop to get a good drink and take my gel. I ran the first 10 miles with my friend and I think this helped me to keep from going out too fast and to keep focused. Before I knew it we were at mile 10 and I was feeling really good, so I picked-up the pace on the last 3 miles. My friend finished with an 8 min PR and I finished in 2 hr 6 min and my previous PR was 2 hr 4 min. I felt really good about this with it only being 8 weeks after a major surgery and sub-optimal training. I am super excited to continue my training and see what my body will let me do! (Group photo for Oiselle Shake-out Run Friday before the Race)