Monday, June 20, 2016

I Failed

I was so excited, so well trained to run 26.2 miles on Saturday. However, I failed. I didn't cross the finish line. I wasn't able to take home that coveted bridge medal. There were many tears, but not tears of happiness. I still don't know how to wrap my head around it all.

Grandma's Marathon was hot this year; it was 74 degrees, sunny and humid at the start, and those temps only rose throughout the race. There was no breeze off the lake to help. I took off around my goal pace and my legs felt heavy, my body tired. I thought it would get better so I kept pushing and the first three miles flew by and I tried to stay positive that things were getting better. I managed to take a few sips of water at the water stops trying to stay hydrated knowing how hot it was, but not slowing. At mile 5 things started to get really tough. The crowds were thick in the shade so I was forced out in the sun. I took a gel at mile 7 and my stomach reeled; I think I took maybe a quarter of it. A mile later I started to feel faint and I had to walk off and on. I was so incredibly lightheaded. At the next water stop I swallowed a salt tablet to see if that would help, but things just kept getting worse. I didn't want to give in, but I was at the point where I couldn't run or walk in a straight line. I started to get really scared. A pacer ran by me just as I almost fainted on the side of the road, ran up to a lady with a cheer station set outside of her house and asked her to help me. She ran down to me as I almost fainted again, helped me over to a chair so I could sit down. I couldn't catch my breath. My head pounded. I thought I was going to be sick. They wrapped a blanket around me, got me some water and I had to sit there with my head between my legs in order to not pass out. I couldn't breathe properly. 

When the bus came by, I climbed on and still needed help walking. I had no strength left in my body. I started to get cold and couldn't stop shivering. My clothes were drenched in sweat, but my skin was dry. I had to get another blanket wrapped around me and I felt like I couldn't lift my head because if I did I was going to faint. I had to be checked out by the medic and was told to keep trying to drink water until I got to the medic at the finish. It was the longest bus ride of my life. All I wanted to do was see my parents and friends who were waiting at the medic tent; I'm sure worried out of their mind. 

When I finally made it the medic tent, they said it was the beginning of a heat stroke; I say heat exhaustion, but either way, it was a good thing I stopped and didn't try to keep going. I held it together on the bus. Mostly because I was just trying not to get sick! But once I saw my parents, I saw the worry in their faces, I broke down in tears knowing that I failed. I had to go into the finisher chute to get my bag and I was so embarrassed. I saw everyone wearing those medals and I hated myself for not being one of them. I just wanted to get out of their and go home. 

At the start line so excited.
Two days later and I still feel incredibly embarrassed. I'm disappointed. I'm sad. I'm mad at myself for what happened. I trained so hard this year, and I failed. The race was supposed to be my victory lap of all those miles in training with a beautiful medal to show off all that hard work. I know deep down I did the right thing. One race or one medal isn't worth my health or my running future. However, at this point, I don't know how to get past this. I don't know what I'm supposed to learn from this. I don't know what's next for me. I feel like a failure.

I'm grateful for my support system. My loving and worried parents for being at the finish line, my amazing friends for coming out to the race and texting me kind words while I was freaking out on the bus, the kind stranger for coming to my rescue on the side of the road, my wonderful neighbors for taking me out to dinner to distract me on Saturday night, and all the kind words of encouragement from my friends on Facebook and Twitter. I feel like I disappointed you all.

Until next time~


  1. You didn't disappoint us. You tried your best, but couldn't beat the elements. It happens. The thing to learn is on hydration and pacing. For me, it also means not running warm weather races. But it will come into perspective for you. Probably as soon as you get out there running again.

  2. Oh this hurts my heart. You didn't fail. I think that's the number one thing to work on mentally first. I absolutely see from your perspective why you think that but you didn't disappoint anyone but maybe yourself. I think everyone is proud of what you did accomplish. Think about the miles you ran during training and what you started off running. Be glad you listened to your body when you did because it could've ended so much worse. I think once you get more space you'll see you didn't fail. You only fail if you don't try something you want to do and know you can do. This wasn't a case of you saying, "Eh, it's too hot, I'm not going to give it my all." This was a case of the elements getting the better of you and it happens to everyone. Think about how you'd look at someone else in your shoes? Would you say they failed?

  3. I know we have already talked about this, but you did not fail! It wasn't your day and that happens. What matters is that you are healthy and will run another day. So proud of you!

  4. What Sherri said. Dear heart, you didn't fail. You had a bad race. It happens. You know the mantras. You fail only when you stop trying. Absorb the emotions, and take comfort that time is a fabulous healer. This too shall pass. Just keep running. Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. Your fellow runners ALL know how you feel and will believe in you always. Fortitudine vinicimus.

  5. This post is all-too familiar to me, and I've been thinking about you ever since you posted a picture of your shoes on Instagram. Seriously, my heart breaks for you. I understand how it is to throw your blood, sweat, and tears into something and then it doesn't turn out the way you hoped. It sucks. This scenario happened to me so many times that I developed a complex about it, and I DNF'ed some more.

    I tortured myself this way for 7 years. It took me 7 years to qualify for Boston and it was because I put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself. Here's an excerpt from one of my blog posts: "I know that I ran my best race out there. I trained hard, I pre-hydrated, I tapered, I paced the first half correctly, and then I ran so hard I passed out at the finish. So I am proud of myself for how I ran. I’m just extremely disappointed with how it all panned out and that after a year of hard work, and KNOWING that I am a much better, stronger and faster runner, I can’t get a time to reflect that. I feel defeated, and I feel like the marathon has chewed me up and spit me out. But I love this sport, so I will endure."

    I put my 7-year journey of DNF's and bonks and heartache into my book, Boston Bound. I really think you'd get a lot out of reading it. If nothing else, you'd relate to how I felt about my marathoning for years on end.

  6. The only disappointment you should feel is in the stupid weather causing you to have a bad race but not in yourself and you didn't fail and there are things to learn : you probably in a hot humid climate need to hydrate better And need to have a better nutrition plan. You may need to slow your pace when it's hot as hell. Lol but As runners we push ourselves so hard and expect so much from ourselves but I'm not disappointed in you and I'm proud of you for taking a picture today :-)

  7. I feel for you but you should never be disappointed for doing your best! Race day is so unpredictable and, in heat like that I'm sure you were not alone in the DNF category. All you can do is hold your head HIGH, be proud for even starting and for all the training you put in and, start running again :-)