Monday, February 11, 2013

Race Report: Golden Gate Trail 30k/Half Marathon/5 Miler

Dumb.  Dumb.  Dumb.  Ever make a decision you know if wrong but decide to do it anyway?

Since I announced my intention of completing my first 50k this year training has been going great!  I have been hitting my goals, ran my first trail half (recap to come - part of a great birthday weekend) and yesterday was supposed to be my first trail 30k.  Even better, Layla was planning on running the marathon so I had company.

I woke up Thursday morning (4 days til race day) with a slight sore throat but thought nothing of it - I must have just slept with my mouth open.  Layla and I met for a 6 mile run before work and I felt great.  However, over the next few days I developed a cough but otherwise felt fine.  Saturday I had planned to run 5 miles but knowing my race was the next day decided to take another rest day just to be safe.

Sunday morning I woke up around 3:00 am with a sore throat and just kinda felt achy all over.  I laid in bed for the next hour and a half drifting in and out of sleep trying to decide what to do.  "Bag the race all together?  No, this is a key distance for training.  Yeah, but it is not worth running if it means you will miss even more training.  Yeah, but what if I am just overacting.  Well, maybe I will just do the half.  Yeah, but you need to do 18.  Way Too Cool is a month away."  Finally, around 4:30 I just got up, make some hot tea and started stretching.  Maybe my body just needed to be loosened up.

Still waging an internal debate I texted Layla around 5:30 with my predicament but was starting to feel better.  Nothing really was hurting any more.  I popped some Advil and told her I was in for the half and if I felt fine after 13.1 on the trails I would run 5 more around my neighborhood to make it to 18 for the day.  After stopping to grab some cough drops on the way out, we were on the road by 6:20.

Just before we exited the highway to head to the Golden Gate National Recreation area where the race started we went through the Waldo Tunnel on 101 and were treated to a gorgeous clear view of the Golden Gate Bridge.  Seeing the bridge never gets old and I knew we were in for a good day.  There was not a cloud in the sky and the course promised to provide similar spectacular views. 

We had our bibs and made it through the porta-potty line in about 15 minutes so we headed back to the car to keep warm.  Side note - one thing I am loving about these races is parking literally at the start line.  Just before we headed to the start I popped one more cough drop.  Apparently, (I haven't bought cough drops in a long time) each cough drop has an "inspirational" message on each wrapper - what they call "a pep talk in every drop."  I probably wouldn't have even paid attention but it happened to read "You got this" and Layla and I thought that was a pretty fitting message to get right before a race and took it as a good sign.

The half and the marathon started at the same time and at 8:15 we were off.  I wished Layla good luck (and she went on to race a killer race) and we were off.  From studying the map before hand I knew the first two miles were pretty much uphill so I planned on taking it pretty easy.  I ran the first half mile before I started feeling my chest really tighen up so I slowed to a walk.  I tried to run in parts where it flattened out but I could barley breath which was so frustrating because my legs wanted to run.  Around mile 2 I was having doubts I was even going to make it to mile 3.  Why had I been so stupid and stubborn to even try and race?  I should know better by now.  No miles were better for me right now that miles where I was gasping for air.  Right around then I saw that that the pink course (the half marathon) was still following along the yellow course.  I whipped out my phone and saw yellow was the five mile race and that from mile 2.5 to the finish it was basically downhill.  I knew at that point what I had to do. 

Not before I got to see this though.

About a mile into my downhill descent I started being able to breathe again, although I knew I made the right choice since miles 4-6 of the half were basically uphill as well.  I cursed myself again for being so stupid.  I was just dispensing advice the other day about how it is better to miss a few days of training than risk making yourself sicker and out for a longer period of time and yet, here I was going against my own advice. 

I crossed the finish line in just over an hour but since I didn't run over the mat (since I changed distances mid-race I didn't want to skew their results) I don't have an official time.  I grabbed a few snacks, and something to drink before I headed home.

About halfway home I grabbed another cough drop.  This one said, "Don't give up on yourself."  With that stupid message came the tears.  I really hoped I didn't jeopardize my chances for Way Too Cool.  By the time I got home the chills had set in and yep, 101.6 fever. 

The moral of this story, as apparently despite knowing all this, I haven't let it seep through my thick head - 1) if you think you are making the wrong decision then you are, 2) no training run is worth running if it could potentially ruin your goal race. 

I will say the 5 miles I did run were absolutely beautiful and I can't wait to make it back out there once I am feeling better.

This morning my fever is down but I am still taking it easy for the next few days and as if to put the whole thing is perspective the damn cough drop had this to say to me this morning, "You've survived worse."  :)
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  1. I'm taking it you've never been lectured by a doctor regarding the precarious nature of a sore throat? That coupled with your superwoman style determination do not make for a good match!!

    REST my friend. Hope you feel better soon!

  2. Hope you get better soon - the run looks amazing, where was it? Was it a race? I need to check out the Headlands, which is where I'm guessing it is!!

  3. You poor thing. I am so bummed for you! But miles 4-6ish were another long slog uphill, so if you had a 101+ degree fever after five miles, who knows what it would have been after 13.1 miles. Smart decisions are often the toughest decisions.

    I do think that bag of cough drops is the best thing ever -- and it's true. Don't give up on yourself, and never forget that you've conquered bigger things. (Umm, triathlons?? Weeklong bike ride??)

  4. Ugh....We've all done it at one point or another. It's good when you recognize it, though.

    Hope you are feeling better now & the rest of your training goes well!


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