I couldn’t have asked for better weather for the Silicon Valley Marathon. It was cool but sunny as we were heading for the starting line. I was excited. I’d trained smart and my pace runs were faster than the pace that I needed to run my goal of a 3:50 finish. Everything was going my way, it seemed, except for the fact that I had awoken with a case of the runs. I wasn’t worried. Usually I am worried that I haven’t been able to take care of business prior to the start of my race, so I figured having to go three times might not be so bad. I just prayed that it would stop when the race started, and it did.
I ran the first eight miles with my dear friend, Cindy. We were running basically at the planned 8:45 minute per mile pace only a bit faster. I felt good though and we were happily running and enjoying the company. I am usually a loner for my races so it was refreshing to have company and not be affected by it. At mile eight I urged Cindy to go ahead since she had planned a half-marathon and was very capable of picking up the pace when I did not want to do so. I watched her go ahead and missed her company for a bit. I knew that I’d be seeing Cindy again as she was going to meet up with my husband and kids at the half marathon finish line. Then Cindy was going to be watching the kids for us and continuing to support me along the course with her enthusiastic cheers.
As I came through mile 13 I was feeling the fatigue kick in. I took some more GU and gave a high five to YaYa, my seven year old, while smiling for a photo taken by BoBo (13 years). Tom gave me a kiss and reminded me to “say hello to the body”. It was good advice. As the miles passed I found I was more and more fatigued. My stomach was feeling bloated, I was getting nauseated and it seemed like the GU and fluids were not leaving my stomach. By mile 16 I was dry heaving. I’ll just stop and try to throw up in the bushes, I thought. But I wasn’t able to throw up so I began to walk/jog as much as I could. At mile 19, there was Cindy, BoBo & YaYa. They had a latte. Yumm. But my stomach wasn’t doing well. I sipped it anyways. “You’re doing great Julie” Cindy yelled. “You’re looking good”. I told her that I was too slow and that I wasn’t going to make the goal. “No, you’re right on track” she lied. But I knew that it was a lie even if she didn’t. Ilana and Brenna were there too. They were all cheery and encouraging. A nearby runner said that he felt better just by being near us. Onward we ran, jogged, and walked. I tried to run, but when I did the dry heaves came on strong, then I’d walk and gradually start to jog.
At mile 25, Ilana was there. “You’re looking beautiful” she said. Tears came to my eyes. I didn’t feel beautiful; I felt beaten up. Maybe Boston Qualification is just too big of a goal, I thought. Maybe I’ll never be able to get there. Ilana ran me in. At mile 26, BoBo was there to join us, then a bit further on YaYa and Cindy were waiting. I finished in 4:16 and headed for the first aide tent. I was wheezing and lightheaded. By that night, I’d decided to go with “Plan B” and try again to hit my BQ goal by running in the California International Marathon.