After running the Akron marathon, a hilly challenging marathon, I decided that New Orleans would be my “A” race for the year. A flat marathon with decent weather and also lucky marathon number 13, a PR and BQ were my goals for my “A” race of the year.
The RnR expo was small but I expected that since they have so many races a year. I skipped all the sponsored clothes because they were ridiculously expensive ($50 for a shirt)! Instead, I headed over to a smaller booth where I was able to get a New Orleans inspired running shirt for $18.
For lunch, we headed over to a place called Pie, Pizza and Pasta, where I ordered a side salad and a chicken wrap. Also know as, the future food to crush my “A” race, I just didn’t know it yet.
After lunch we headed back to the hotel to put our feet up for a bit. I had been up since 3am, went on 2 flights and did a lot of walking so rest was needed. While at the hotel I had a chance to get settled in the room, layout my race stuff, get all my gu together and relax.
I don’t relax well or sit still for long so it wasn’t long before we headed down to Royal Street to stop in a few shops and then to the hotel bar for a drink before dinner.
Before I knew it, it was time for to head out for dinner and I was hungry! Or at least I thought that’s what that queasy feeling in my stomach was. We headed over to Pier 424 for dinner, which is also where we went on our last night of our honeymoon! I struggled to find something to eat but finally settled on a meal I thought would fuel me properly. Fish, potatoes, asparagus and lots of water. (to be honest I barely touched the asparagus, I usually love it but wasn’t feeling it that night). I still just didn’t feel right and then thought maybe there was a lot of butter in my dish, causing my stomach to be upset.
I went to bed extra early that night because my stomach just didn’t feel quite right and I figured I would sleep off the “nerves”. When I woke, I felt good and as I started to eat breakfast and get dressed, I had to go to the bathroom. And then I had to go again and again. TMI, I know. Once again I told myself that it was just nerves or that it would pass, I still had 2 hours til the race started.
Once I was at the starting line, I had to stop in the porty potty, 3 more times. That’s 6 potty breaks all before the race started, for anyone that is counting. Still I told myself it was nerves and I could “run it off”.
Naturally, at the the starting line, I ran into a fellow Croatian which was nice to be distracted from my stomach issues as we chatted about the Old Country. With 12 minutes to the start I started to shed some layers and get my watch to connect to satellite. With 7 minutes to go, my watch still wouldn’t start and I noticed many runners putting their watch arm up in the air, in the hopes of gaining a better connection. The race started and my watch still had not connected. So I figured I wouldn’t have a watch for the first mile, no big deal.
By mile 2, my watch had connected and then lost connection multiple times but it was being weird and wasn’t calculating distance or pace accurately. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t running a 4:35 pace and covering 2 miles in that time. Normally, the next plan would be to stick to my pace group. Unfortunately, there was not a pace group for my time. I had the option to run with the 3:30 group or the 3:45 group but there was nothing in between. I tried to position myself well behind the 3:30 group, I could see them but just barely.
That’s me on the left, for those of you who are new to this site and don’t know what I look like. This was just past mile 9 and where I started to feel a little nauseous. I ignored it and assumed it would pass. That lasted til mile 11 where I went from a little nauseous to I NEED A BATHROOM NOW. I finally stopped at a bathroom after the halfway point but didn’t feel much better.
I don’t even remember passing the cemetery above. I was concentrating on many other things and trying to tell myself that I would be fine…..even though I already needed another bathroom break. Around mile 17, I started to walk while I was taking in some water and I suddenly needed to puke! I felt better after puking and started running again. I must have race really good for a mile or 2 because I covered a ton of distance. However, I felt the nauseous feeling again and knew I would be puking soon. At mile 22 I started puking gain and I thought I might have to pull out of the race.
To be honest, I didn’t even know what mile I was at! I was never dehydrated because I was drinking so much water on the course hoping to flush whatever was in my system out. Next thing I knew, I was sitting, puking uncontrollably into some grass on the side of the road. Many of the runners passing me stopped to ask if I was okay, told me I was okay and offered to help me to an aid station. I told them I was okay, even though I wasn’t. It didn’t take long for some ladies down the street, who were drinking mimosas and waiting for their husbands to run by, to come to my rescue.
They brought me a bottle of ice cold water, checked my pulse, asked me questions and distracted me from my puketastic experience. They asked if I wanted to go to medical and I said “Not yet, I want a few minutes to sit”. A cop came over and wanted to call me an ambulance and I said “No, no I’m ok”.
I asked the ladies “about what mile am I at”, they responded “Just past mile 22″. I looked at them in disbelief, stood up and said ” ok, I’ll just walk to the finish”. They looked at my like I was crazy and the churning feeling in my stomach confirmed it but I wasn’t ready to give up. With 4.2 miles to go, I could walk to the finish, claim another marathon finish and an awesome finisher jacket. As I left my new lady friends they told me “you’re still beating our husbands!”
At mile 23, I decided I would start running so I could get to the finish faster. I knew Ryan had to be worried when I didn’t come in at my time. Running only lasted about 2 minutes as I suddenly had to puke again. During this walk, I tried to figure out what was wrong with me. The more I thought about it I realized, I had been sick since yesterday. Then I thought about it more and I thought about food and I got really sick to my stomach. Even writing this now I am feeling queasy thinking about it! I didn’t get sick til after lunch yesterday so that had to be it and every time I think of that meal or think of vegetables or lettuce I want to vomit.
Which brings me to mile 24, the final resting place of my food poisoning puke stop. At mile 24, I wanted to quit, I prayed for a medical tent to be nearby and put me out of my misery. I also prayed for pretzels and a Pepsi to settle my stomach. Runners on the course, stopped to check on me and ask if I was ok. I said yes but that was a lie. Some also tried to encourage me to start running and I laughed because they probably thought this was my first marathon and that I was having a meltdown. I told myself to ignore them and started walking as it was only 2 more miles at this point.
I didn’t even attempt to run the last 2 miles for fear that I would puke. I did try to talk to other runners who were also walking but they were walking because they bonked. It made for a little distraction as I could hear the finish line but could not see it.
I made myself run the last .2 of the race, no matter how slow and with an open bottle of water in my hand.
Official Finish time was 4:22:33. I don’t even want to know that pace or place. Crossing the finish, I hoped to find something to settle my stomach, chips, pretzels, anything. I didn’t find much but I did find my husband who was extremely worried about me when I didn’t cross the finish line before 4 hours. Poor guy had checked the medical tents thinking that something happened. Also my tracking stopped working so he thought I was off the course. As sick as I was I headed as quickly as I could to the tent to pick up my finisher jacket. I didn’t suffer through that marathon without any proof!
Post race, I went back to the hotel to rest and to eat the pretzels and Pepsi I wanted so badly during the race. I told myself I would feel better soon but wasn’t sure if I actually believed it. After about 2 hours and a bag of pretzels, I actually felt better and immediately headed to my favorite New Orleans spot, Johnny’s Po Boys. I had to split it with Ryan because I didn’t know how much I would eat but it was just as amazing as I remember.