Yesterday I ran the second annual Safari Park Half Marathon (again, for the tigers) and boy was it a rough one. There were a few different points when I wanted to give up and walk the rest or just stop at the next medic station, and I started the run with a full bladder and a rumbling stomach, both of which stayed with me through the next 3 hours (I did stop to pee but was so concerned about getting back out there that I got in and out as quickly as possible, not completely emptying my bladder).
Although, 90% of the difficulty was my own fault: I didn't train hardly at all, my only long run being the 9ish miles of the Hot Chocolate Race and nearly every other run being less than 5 miles, so I couldn't have been too surprised at my awful time. But then I didn't help my own cause by having shoe problems and changing my race shoe twice in the final week, finally settling on the same pair I ran in this race last year, which I reasoned was better than running in a week old shoe that hadn't had time to be broken in yet.
The last 10% of the run was totally not my fault: whoever designed the race and decided that a GIANT DIRT HILL was a good idea should definitely not design the next race. This hill was not just any hill, and made the elephant hill of last year look like a driveway. It was enormous, super steep, and all dirt, and I applaud anyone who actually ran that thing. I started off at a jog and pretty quickly gave that up, and jogged over the crest, but that hill was no joke.
Speaking of jokes, the hill had a few punny jokes to try making it more bearable. Why did the tiger lose at poker? Because he was playing with a cheetah! My favorite: What does this hill and an elephant's trunk have in common? They both suck! HAHA! They did make me smile on the hill and briefly take my mind off it, which I guess was the point, but then again I really like punny jokes.
The run did feature a pair of cows, a camel, wine "glasses" of Gatorade at the winery, several animal statues, an elephant herd and a few other cool things worth taking pictures of, but without someone to take a picture for me (and a camera...) I couldn't really take any of that with me.
All in all it would have been a decent run, all things considered, but the minute I crossed the finish line I suddenly stopped breathing. That has never happened before and it was completely terrifying. My boyfriend was at the finish waiting for me and I eeked out that I couldn't breathe- my lungs felt tight and tiny and I wanted giant gulps of air that just weren't coming. Volunteers handing out medals tried to congratulate me and I couldn't respond. We walked over to the medic station (which seemed to just be a place to get ice on the knees) where they summoned EMTs. While I was waiting I loosened my bra and could breathe better. They hooked me up to two different machines and said my readings were perfect... except for my heart rate, which was a little high, but then I'd just finished 13.1 miles. After a while, when I was breathing normally again, they were satisfied that I wasn't going to collapse and made me sign a waiver saying I refused to be escorted to the hospital, meaning I didn't want an ambulance ride. Actually, the way it was phrased was, "I'm guessing you don't want a ride in a big red box, do you?" I denied and signed.
I didn't feel well for a good portion of the day after that. I was nauseous, had a headache and obviously was sore pretty much everywhere (even my arms for some reason), so I slept for most of the day. This run really took the wind out of me and it'll make me think long and hard about doing it again. In the end, though, I'm really glad I did it and glad I finished, but next time I'll be a lot more serious about training so I'm better prepared.