Marathon from Hell Part II

To pick up where I left off...

Around mile 11, I started feeling it. I'm convinced it was full-on 85 degrees at that point, it was so hot. That same feeling I usually get around mile 18 came and I was already struggling. Alyssa promised to stay with me, and we slowed the pace. Jenni went ahead on her own where she experienced those heat stroke symptoms I mentioned in Part I. It felt like a really long two miles to get the halfway mark. In my mind, I kept thinking, We have to do this again. Ugh.

And then we were introduced to the sand pit. That's right. A sand pit. Not hard sand, but a half-mile stretch of really loose sand that none could go around. The only answer was through. Shoes sank in, making it almost impossible to run through it. We sort of skip-walked through. At that point, I realized that I was not happy. I was struggling before, and now I was getting angry. Because the website made absolutely no mention of the half-mile long sand pit that we would have to go through twice. Once we traversed the sand pit, we had point two miles until the halfway point.

Jenni making her way through the evil sand pit. She's amazing. Why could they not have warned us? Or made the course avoid it? Pic by her mom and dad.

Only then did we see the timer where the people running the half marathon were finishing. I was right, we had been going faster than I meant to with a 2:20 split time.

We saw hubby who explained he was done and not at all ashamed (the sand pit really sealed the deal for him). I was glad because it was already so hot and miserable, I didn't want him to feel pressured to keep going if he didn't want to.

Alyssa and I went on, and I asked if she would mind walk/jogging. She didn't mind at all. Somewhere shortly after the halfway point, we started walking for a minute and then jogging about five minutes. We did this until about mile 15 when the desire to quit began to creep up. We would pass near the finish for the last time before heading way out into the park again. Meaning, if I didn't quit now, I might have to quit when we were out in the middle of nowhere with questionable means of getting back.

The muscle in my left hamstring tightened up, and I started feeling dizzy. I panicked and the urge to quit overwhelmed me. With timidity, I explained what I was feeling to Alyssa. She calmly listened, and then suggested that we could walk the rest of the marathon if I wanted to finish.

Walking the rest...what a concept! It hadn't occurred to me because, slow as I am, I've never walked more than half a mile in either of my last two marathons. And I've never walked (except at water stations) in any other race.

Walking was the answer I had been looking for without realizing it until Alyssa made the suggestion. I did want to finish. As miserable and bitter as I felt toward this marathon from Hell, I wanted to look back on the day and say I had conquered it.

On we went with a prayer. I knew I could make it now. We approached the next water station and my usual methods for food and water while running went out the window. Normally, I take tiny sips of water and nibble shot blocks at the stations. Now that we were walking, I took three cups of water and three cups of Gatorade and chugged. I dumped water on my head. My body thanked me. I was so dehydrated because I had feared upsetting my stomach. No need to worry about anything now except getting the right hydration to survive in the full sun for eleven more miles.

We walked for eight of those miles. Despite the terrible heat, Alyssa and I could talk and catch up and had a good time being together. At every water station, I chugged three waters, three Gatorades. It was just enough to get me through to the next station, except that three-mile-no-water stretch really pushed it. We met an older man named Rick who had run almost 80 marathons. He said that this was the worst marathon he had ever done. We met an older woman named Lynn who had done about 60 marathons. She had never quit before, but was seriously contemplating quitting this one, which she also said was the worst she'd ever done. At the points in the race where we could spot runners who were ahead of us on the trail, every person was walking. Every single one. All these things made us feel quite a bit better.

We decided we would walk/jog the last three miles and finish as strong as we could. Around mile 23, we started "wogging." That was our term for what we were doing. It wasn't really jogging, it was wogging. We walked for one or two minutes, wogged for five or seven. Again, no watches so we were guessing. We had become delirious at different points throughout the race, and and at one point, Alyssa said, "Okay, let's yog." We started laughing because now it was both "wogging" and "yogging" that defined our stride.

After what felt like forever, we made it to the sand pit. It worked out that we had yogged up to that point. We planned to walk that half-mile pit of despair. Then we wogged our way to the finish where hubby, Hea, Mike, Zach, and Jenni were all waiting to cheer for us.

Here is a compilation of the pics hubby took while we each finished with me narrating.


The finish time was just as bad as I expected it to be. We were out on that trail for a total of 6 hours and 35 minutes. Hubby almost came back to find us because Jenni had arrived around 6 hours and he had watched the ambulance come for the heat stroke victim. The organizer shrugged him off when he asked about who was checking on the runners.

Did I mention I don't recommend this race to anyone?

Despite all that, I was amazed that I could finish. I'm thankful that Jesus and Alyssa helped me get through it. I'm very impressed with Mike, Zach (his first!!), and Jenni. I'm proud of Hea and hubby who knew when to say no.

I should mention that the shirts they gave out were awesome (pic below). It's really great for running. Not everyone was pleased with the medals (in my left hand) because they weren't the usual quality of most races. It didn't bother me much because they at least gave us something. And the mug is really nice. So there were positives about the race, but not enough to get me to do it again. Ever.

Goodies from the race: great shirt, dog tag medal, and mug
Afterward, I have never been so sore. I think it took four days before I stopped walking like a zombie. Stairs were out of the question. Oh, and all those things I was worried about beforehand (like my tummy and blisters)? Not a problem at all.

So what is my next race? Why, a marathon, of course! No, seriously. Alyssa and I signed up for the Clearwater Marathon Jan 19th. No, I'm not lying. Yes, we are crazy.