Humble brag warning, but I generally can get up on a Sunday and know I can run a half marathon without too much worry. As I'm fond of saying, my stubbornness can carry me for 13.1 miles pretty easily. But every so often I get a surprise where a half marathon just kicks the crap out of me. Two times I've run the Austin Half Marathon with no issues, last year I even PR'ed at it. This year, not so much.
It started innocently enough, the morning was humid and hazy. Probably should have started to question things right about then since I hate running in humidity. I'm not good at it, I don't enjoy it, screw you humidity!
The first six miles include a fair amount of climbing and I was actually feeling okay with the hills but the fact that my sweat had no where to go was a bit of a downer. It couldn't evaporate and was just sitting on my skin making me feel really, horribly gross. We got to South Congress and as I ran with the pacers, people kept bumping into me. All of a sudden I felt like I couldn't go another step. I was drowning in sweat; my sweat and every person around me's sweat. I couldn't go another damn step until there were less people near me, touching me, sweating on me. I told Amanda I planned to start running some intervals and I would see her at the finish. Little did I know there was worse in store for me.
I managed to pick up my pace again around mile 6 and easily ran down South 1st St. At mile 8 I realized I hadn't eaten anything yet so I busted out my pouch of sweet potatoes. Now listen, I don't enjoy baby food sweet potatoes but if I'm trying to be a good diet focused person that's the best option. I usually try to down about half the pack in the first squeeze so I don't have to fight through too much more. At this race I did just that and immediately realized something was terribly wrong with what I was eating.
It turns out, that despite the 2015 expiration date and sealed top, the sweet potatoes were bad. Like fizzy, alcohol tasting, black mold bad. And I had just swallowed a large amount and still had some in my mouth. I stopped dead in my tracks, mouth full of molded baby food, looked around and tried to figure out what I could possibly do in this situation. We were on a bridge so jumping to my death seemed like a pretty good option. There were no water stops near by so I had to flip the pouch over and spit it into the underside of the pouch, carry it for a bit, and ditch it at the next water stop. Good times.
So yeah, the last five miles were pretty awful. Every time I started to run my stomach would get upset. Actually just walking was a little stomach upsetting but running was even worse. But whatever, I finished. It took for-freaking-ever but I did it. I guess I should stop over estimating how far stubbornness can actually carry me.