my gasparilla distance classic final voyage

March 2, 2010 at 7:05 pm 9 comments

despite not being trained and still harboring a little concern over the ankle, i really couldn’t have been more excited for the gasparilla distance classic marathon this past weekend. the gdc will always be my race and what made it better was the fact that the bunny was coming into town to run the half. great race. amazing friend. no pressure of a time goal. for not being ready at all, i have never felt more ready for a marathon weekend!
the bunny got here about 8 p.m. friday night and though we knew we needed a good night of sleep we couldn’t head to bed before a few hours of girl talk and crazy laughter as we caught up on each other’s lives the last few months. given the weather report for saturday ~ and our respective insomnia issues ~ we opted to leave alarm clocks out of the saturday morning equation and just head downtown whenever we happened to wake. which, of course, still ended up being pretty early. we spent the morning shopping the race expo ~ something we both enjoy a little too much! and after a few hours we decided to head out to grab a bite to eat at cheddar’s, a typical americanized chain restaurant that has a kick-ass chicken caesar salad with penne pasta. i was a little worried about putting anything in my stomach that wasn’t long-run tested but figured lunchtime was more than early enough to get over any unlikely issues.
after a last-minute trip to dick’s sporting goods on a quest for arm sleeves for the bunny and an early light dinner of my typical pasta with butter and parmesan, i was in bed by 8 p.m. i had no qualms about being able to sleep. even if nerves ~ of which i seemed to have none ~ kept me up, i had had a great night sleep prior and was rested and energetic. and i have to say i was really beginning to like the feeling of going into a marathon with no time goal. i really didn’t have a worry in the world when i drifted off into slumber. 


but it was 10:30 p.m. when it hit. the pain shooting through my stomach was intense and sudden. half asleep i tried to wait it out and hope it was last-minute nerves but i knew better and i barely made it to the bathroom before i was vomiting violently. brushing it off as a minimal issue, i assumed i had everything out of my system and went back to bed. but it wasn’t a few minutes later that i had to beeline right back to the bathroom but this time to poop ~ though let me just say that “poop” is a WAY too delicate term for what was going on with my body! as i sat on the toilet i started laughing ~ likely to keep from crying ~ wondering if i was simply having a bad dream or if this was really happening to me the night before a marathon. another flush and back to bed i went, this time praying i was done but somehow knowing the worst was yet to come.

without getting too graphic, let me just say that i spent the next two and a half hours worshipping the porcelain god from both ends. at one point i even almost dumped out my trash can on the floor so i could do both at the same time but somehow i managed to alternate back and forth without any little accidents. my mind raced in a thousand different directions. why now? food poisoning or virus? can i still run? SHOULD i still run even though i’ll be severly dehydrated? with every flush ~ and oh my god there were many ~  i felt my dream of being part of the marathon final voyage going right down the toilet.

it was about 1 a.m. when my body was finally completely depleted. there simply wasn’t anything left in me. with my alarm set to go off at 2:30 a.m. i prayed for even a little sleep before having to decide what to do. i stayed in bed until the bunny poked her head in my room about 3 a.m. and i relayed my tales of woe. as i lay there trying to decide what to do, she asked me what my worst case scenario was and i looked at her laughed … a dnf (did not finish)! puking all over myself! crapping myself on course! … my god the possibilities were endless. but as i weighed those tragedies in my head she simply looked at me and asked “but won’t you be more disappointed if you have to forever wonder ‘what if?'” damn, she knows me too well!

with port-a-potties along the course i could always stop to poop ~ assuming i could make it in time ~ but i draw the line at having to throw up in one so i decided that if i could make it to the starting line without puking i would do the race. i drank a G2 to try to replenish my electrolytes and ate a peanut butter sandwich and simply prayed it wouldn’t come back up. we headed downtown and met up with a group from my running club in the convention center. two trips to the bathroom and one in a port-a-potty on the way to the start not surprisingly yielded very little bodily fluid which i couldn’t help but see a blessing even though it likely was a potentially dangerous dehydrated curse. but i wasn’t turning back and we made our way to the start.

the first nine or ten miles surprisingly didn’t seem that bad. i kept a comfortable pace hovering between 9:40 and 9:50 and i made an extreme effort to stop at every single hydration station and actually walk through them so i could get down more than just a sip or two. i knew dehydration was not only dangerous but was with utmost certainty going to lead to muscle cramps and severe fatigue at some point and i wanted to hold it off as long as i could. at mile 14 i let myself stop for a few minutes for a hug and kiss from jc ~ insert a WTF here! obviously i haven’t shared a couple things over the last couple of weeks but now isn’t the time to explain that story ~ then i headed back out to see how much longer i could sustain.

somewhere around mile 18 i started fading fast. my legs were beyond exhausted and i’m not sure how coherent i really was. i had to stop for a short walk but managed to get back to a steady, if not slow, run. a friend working the water station at mile 20 gave me such a needed boost of heart-felt support but by mile 21 i knew i was done. i starting walking one song on the ipod followed by three songs of running and i was able to keep that up for two or three rotations before having to increase the walk songs to two. when my ipod decided to quit on me just after mile 25 i decided to give myself one last little walk and then do everything i could to run the last mile. i hurt like hell. my body felt like i had nothing left to give. but i found every last bit of sheer stubborn determination within me and simply zoned out. as i crossed mile 26 i saw the crowd along the finish line and heard my friend buns screaming my name ~ like a girl i might add but damn he got me motivated by doing so because somehow i found my sprint ~ ok maybe it wasn’t a sprint but it sure as hell felt like one at that particular moment and i did manage to pass the guy who was trying so hard to not let me beat him! i crossed the finish line at 4:49:28 and i did it with my head held high and a damn smile on my face!

it would be so easy for me to look at the basic numbers and feel disappointed that i went so far “backwards” in marathon time. but thinking about the odds stacked against me going in reminds me that i have the right to be proud of what i accomplished. i knew it was going to be a hard race just given my lack of training but throw hours of projectile vomiting and other bodily fluid secretion on top of things and somehow i find myself feeling more proud of this race than any other i’ve ever run. given the chance to change a single thing about the last few days, i can honestly say i wouldn’t. i may not have a new marathon PR and i certainly didn’t even have a hope of acheiving a BQ but i think sometimes the numbers on a time clock are far less important than the adversity we over come to even get to the finish line and the fun we should have getting there.


Entry filed under: running. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , .

tat’s a tough choice two-faced

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. sarah  |  March 2, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    i can’t believe you ran!!
    you are awesome!!

    • 2. becelisa  |  March 10, 2010 at 10:45 am

      thanks sarah. there’s a fine line between stubborness and insanity and i think i might have crossed it this time 🙂

  • 3. bgirl875  |  March 5, 2010 at 1:32 am

    Wow, what a story? I am also in awe that you ran. But it just goes to show what you’re made of. It’s always in tough times that the tough people get going.

    I think anyone that runs a marathon is a beast (that’s a good thing by the way). And you running a marathon in such an unfortunate condition, makes you an amazing beast.


  • 4. bgirl875  |  March 5, 2010 at 1:32 am

    PS I think you’ve earned that tat now…have we decided what we’re getting?

    • 5. becelisa  |  March 10, 2010 at 10:50 am

      bgirl ~ i’m still so damn back and forth with whether or not i really want to do it! i have this mental image of what it might look like on my saggy 80-year-old skin and it’s not a pretty picture! but since i already have one … what difference will another really make? right?

  • 6. a pain in the butt « becelisa  |  June 8, 2010 at 9:24 am

    […] utmost stupidity comes from the gasparilla marathon this past february. basic recap ~ i was training for the half. decided 12 days before the race to do the full. got […]

  • 7. eight miles high! « becelisa  |  September 27, 2010 at 10:57 am

    […] weeks, doing a marathon with any lingering pain would likely be a bad idea. granted we all know from my gasparilla stunt that i’m not the smartest when it comes to playing it cautious but i think even i might give […]

  • 8. will run for booty « becelisa  |  March 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    […] longer than a 5k. in ’08 it was my first half ever. ’09 just another half. 2010 was the final running of the GDC full marathon ~ a race i ran with food poisoning. 2011 i ran my current half pr of 1:56:47 ~ and this year the 5k […]

  • 9. 30:11 « becelisa  |  February 21, 2013 at 11:16 am

    […] full marathon and to date remains my PR. of course that may have something to do with the fact that i ran marathon number three with food poisoning and number four on 14- hours notice! MCM was a powerful race for me. born and raised in DC the run […]


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the best of times

5k pr ~ 24:23
10k pr ~ 52:49
half marathon pr ~ 1:55:10
marathon pr ~ 4:10:41
half ironman pr ~ 5:57:50
50k pr ~ 5:33:23
50-mile pr ~ 11:32:39



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