Philadelphia Marathon Race Report: Vomitphest and a Lesson

Well, there’s not much I can tell you about the marathon because I only saw about 10 second of it from my hotel room. Crap, right?

But I’ll tell you my short story and I promise it won’t be too graphic.

Basically, Juan got to Philly Saturday at noon. We took a picture:

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about 12 pm, happy because I was clueless about how the rest of the day would unfold

That part was easy. Hello Philly!!! Did I tell you I lived in Philly when I first moved to the US? Right in Center City, 2001 to 2005. Fun years!

We left our stuff (basically every single item of running everything I had) at the Sheraton and went to the expo, also easy, there:

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why is my bib blank?!?!?! NOT A GOOD SIGN!

Well. it was about 1 pm and Juan hadn’t run yet, so he had to eat and then wait about 3 hours to run… so we tried to quickly find something around, the Reading Terminal Market was a mess so we ended up at Chilis, which… I had never been at before maybe I jinxed myself?!?!?).

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he’s happy. i was jealous.

He had a crazy burger and I was planning to carboload super carefully with rice. I EVEN WROTE DOWN EVERYTHING I ATE (never done that before either, another jinx-maybe?). I had two bananas in the morning, then rice by 10 am. So I was all-in with the crazy-careful-planning…

We got back to the hotel. I found there was a Harry Potter Marathon

SERIOUSLY.

I NEVER WANTED TO GET OUTSIDE AGAIN.

I went outside to meet all these friends and the reason why I had picked Philly!

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Went back to the hotel. Prepped that flat runner thing people do, which is a LOT of work… I usually just decide in the morning as I am getting dressed. OMG that’s IT, the flat runner jinxed me!!!!!!!!!!!

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I heard putting shoes in the bed is gross, but sorry, hotel comforters are EVEN MORE DISGUSTING. And I am not even touching that floor. YUK.

My stomach started hurting. I was really bloated. I watched some more Harry Potter. Juan left for his run. Also, the wind had picked up. More Harry Potter. Juan told me when he got back it was crazy windy. Harry Potter. My stomach really really hurt. Juan left for his dinner. HARRY POTTER! “Juan, I don’t feel well”.  The ginger ale idea was genius. Two minutes later, I felt it coming back, rushed to the bathroom and vomited SO MUCH. SO MUCH. Everything I had eaten ALL DAY. Everything came back out. The water, the rice, the bananas, the trail mix, the Sprite, everything. Juan told me he’d never seen so much vomit. It was awful. But I felt so happy I had made it to the bathroom.

I calmed down, sat, and felt it again. Again, I made it there on time. LOTS more stuff. UGH, I forgot how painful vomiting is, I hadn’t done that in maybe 10 years, or more? UGH. Awful. I never got that awww feeling you sometimes get after, like all the bad stuff is out and suddenly you feel great. It wasn’t like magic vomit. It was painful, and there was a lot of liquid out. I felt tired and depleted and dehydrated instantly.

More Harry Potter please. Stomachus Reparum!!

My night sleep was a mess. Kept waking up every half hour. I was thirsty has hell, would drink and turn and toss, I was uncomfortable and sore, my bed was too soft, my neck hurt from throwing up. I was an all over mess. At 5 am the alarm finally rescued me from my crappy night. Time to think and make a decision.

Should I run?

Juan was pushed to make a decision and he wasn’t having it “it’s your decision“… “Maybe I can run a few miles and see how I feel..” He was going to be spectating at mile 1 and 6 so those could be good points to assess and decide if I could keep going. I was just scared because I was so dehydrated already. And also had no food in me. Going into a marathon severely deplenished seemed like the stooopidest idea, but I still had trouble letting go. It took about 35 minutes, but I decided it wasn’t my day. Juan agreed. I was mostly scared of passing out on the course. I went back to sleep.

At 7 am, I tried to get to the window to watch the race, and I couldn’t. I was seeing stars and was this close to fainting. I’ve fainted before a few times so now I see it coming (ALWAY SIT DOWN, WHEREVER YOU ARE). Well, glad I didn’t go run then, seems like I made the right decision. I did manage to get up there for about 20 seconds, when I went back to sleep:

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down there are the runners. And I am all the way up here! boooo

Then I saw some more Harry Potter. Then I slept some more. I cried a bit when Harry wasn’t allowed to go to Hogsmeade (just like I couldn’t be running…!). Then I got dressed and checked out at 1. NO MORE HARRY POTTER. Then I slept in the lobby. Then I slept in the bus home (even if Juan was sitting in the noisiest seat ever). Then I slept in the cab. Then I was in my bed. I had 3 teas and 10 maria cookies all day. The rest was nauseating. I slept through the whole day. And I am not an easy sleeper…

It was hard to unpack Monday with no sore legs. It was hard to put away my marathon tshirt with no more race battle on it. It is hard to think of Thanksgiving and my upcoming trip without a long recovery on my marathon legs to achieve. Yesterday, I managed to put away a whole box of graham crackers without feeling disgusted so there’s my achievement. Then I didn’t sleep all night because my stomach hurt.

No medal but a hard learned lesson:

JUST DON’T DO WHAT YOU DON’T WANT TO DO

If you read anything about this marathon or talked to me the last month you know I didn’t want to race a marathon. I didn’t want to. And  it felt wrong to do a marathon “just for the time“. It did. It can be a great reason for other people but to me, marathons were the BEST thing. They are not my distance now, or “for now”. And I pushed myself to it because I thought I could do well. I thought I could PR. But, really, I had zero interest. And every time I force myself to do something I don’t want to do, it ends this way… it never works out. I boycott it somehow. I don’t know yet what caused my stomach problem but I don’t believe in coincidences.

Running is to be enjoyed and celebrated. We do this FOR FUN. Don’t push yourself to do something you don’t want to do like I did. Nerves and fear are ok, disinterest is not.There’s no glory on the other side. If it needs to happen, it’ll happen. When you’re ready.

What’s ahead? Who knows. Food and vacation, when I get my appetite back. Hopefully that’s soon because I am a weak mess right now.

See you on the other side.

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20 thoughts on “Philadelphia Marathon Race Report: Vomitphest and a Lesson

  1. Sorry to hear about your experience. That really sucks. I recently decided not to run the Berlin Marathon because a friend had died and I was so upset I thought putting my body and mind through a marathon was not the kindest thing I could do to support myself. I have a place in London marathon but am going to defer. Right now, I’m just enjoying running 5Ks. Thanks for a wise post. Get well soon.

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  2. I’m really sorry you got so sick! I HATE throwing up and will do anything not to, but sometimes it just has to happen. There’s no way you could have run a marathon throwing up like that.

    I hear you about the marathon not being your distance now – I have come to terms with the fact that I just don’t want to do a marathon again. I won’t say never, but….definitely not now.

    You’re right about running – it’s supposed to be for fun, not a drudgery.

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    • Is really no way I could have stopped it. It is painful but there was no way around it. Exactly, I felt like I was doing something wrong the whole time, doing a marathon just for time.

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  3. You made the right decision. Reading your previous posts spoke volumes that even though physically you were capable, but psychologically you were not 100%. You need that 100% to get you through when it gets tough. 26.2 miles is a long way to go with no real intention, desire is infinite. Sometimes stepping back and appreciating why you do something is what adds to the desire. It takes strength to acknowledge that it wasn’t your day. That day will come. I hope you feel better. Don’t worry Harry ok too.

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    • Exactly. Either way I was relieved that I didn’t have to run but it was really hard to let go thinking of all the training that went into it. Yes I was already all the way there. But I know it was the right decision, and in hindsight it seems we are that it took me half an hour to figure it out that morning. There’s no way I could’ve run, I know that now. It happens, it will happen. I am not worried about it

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  4. When you posted about guessing your time for the marathon and you said that DNF was an option, I felt that it was a honest and secret way to say that you had ‘made your mind’ (subconsciously). It was a weird feeling I had…. maybe that’s what you get when you read people throughoutly. — Anyways… our mind has its fantastic ways to sabotage those thing we want but we don’t want to do. When I went to Paris Marathon on April I wanted to run and enjoy the route as much as possible, but I had trained to set a stoopid (love your spelling there) PR that I didn’t want to set. So… I got to Paris and splept pathetically, had way more champagne glasses that I should had had, drank way less water than I needed and started the race with the last wave (sunniest time). Things that lead me to be able to caress, kiss and live THE WALL to the fullest! And I will never regret it because all I did was: do what I truly wanted to do… not setting a PR and running to enjoy the route as much as possible. When I finally pushed through my view was the Eiffel Tower. The wall was worth it, trust me!
    So! Im not sorry for what you did there, I actually want to congratulate you for being brave enough to not run that race since you didn’t want to do it!
    Cheers to a great time on your trip and cheers to an awesome 2017!
    Mil abrazos! 🤗🤗🤗

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    • Thank you for this. You get it exactly. Not a lot of people believe that a lot of us would boycott our plans, wether that is intentional or unconsciously… it has happened a few times before. Sometimes I think I have to do things and the truth is we don’t really have to do anything you don’t want to. Subsides ever get that and sometimes I don’t really know what I want. But my subconscious or my body knows better!

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  5. Hey Liz! Next time, I’ll have my private chef, 2:30 marathoner prep some food for you so you don’t get sick. Way to make the right call and to let yourself heal….you are 100% right “disinterest” in what we love to do could be detrimental.

    See you and the Ironman soon! (Congrats on the apt!!!)

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