Philly 2015 Recap

Welp…yesterday hurt. Real bad. Let me start with the stats then I’ll explain how it all went down, but first a huge thank you to so many who sent texts, messages, tweets, etc. I have gotten over 100 tweets alone and when I was feeling a bit down about the whole fiasco, those Facebook messages, texts, and all put a smile on my face. A friend mentioned to me that maybe I shouldn’t be so open online about my goals but yesterday as I was suffering bad  during that last 10K, when other runners were running nearby I received quite a few “I love your blog, go K-Law!” comments. Thank you for those, whoever you are, I needed that. I did my best to reciprocate the love but my emotions were super fragile at that point…embarasingly fragile, but that’s just me. I don’t know how to do stoic. Can someone teach me that stuff?

I finished yesterdays marathon in 3:04. The Olympic Trials qualifying B standard is 2:43, so clearly I was far off. I knew going into the race that it was going to hurt. I knew I wasn’t quite 2:43 shape but I felt confident that I was mentally prepared and physically ready to put up a good fight for it. It was a gamble but I do not regret that decision even as the results are now clear as day. The ups & downs are part of the game and the truth is whining about a 3:04 is ridiculous and borderline childish. Since I’m not above ridiculous and childish but only by a slight margin, I’ll try to stick to keeping that ridiculousness on the blog….and to my close friends who have listened.

My roommate, Megan (more on her soon), and I woke up at 4:30. I started hydrating with a little bit of gatorade and also Tailwind nutrition (separately) and ate my normal soft pretzel. I also had a huge coffee. This is my standard pre-marathon breakfast. People think the soft pretzel is odd but its basically simple carbs with salt…nothing fancy, normally a perfect choice for me. I was born and raised in a Philly suburb and I simply love soft pretzels. The coffee though is another story. I had gotten sick about 12 days ago and stopped coffee during that time. I decided to continue with a coffee fast because, what could it hurt? I had heard great stories of people restricting their caffeine intake prior to race day and then feel an extra helpful jolt on race day mornings. I did have a two small cups during those 12 days but now I question that decision.

The race had a late start but I had no trouble at all finding the 2:43 pacers and was thrilled to see there was a huge pack of us women going for it. It was exactly how I wanted it. The first two miles felt fast. I wasn’t out of breath or hurting but usually a brisk pace this early on is not my norm. I wasn’t wearing a watch. I felt strong though and told myself to relax. We passed the 10K mark at 6:10 pace (2:41 predicted finish- I did not know this at the time) and while I still felt great I was keenly aware that sustaining this another 20 miles was eye raising because it was harder than it should have been at that point in the race. We started to hit the hills a mile or so later and I started sipping on my first gel. I like to take them slowly but about ten minutes there after I started to feel an upset stomach. I spent miles looking for a close bathroom, one that wasn’t on the opposing road side. I thought I could jump in, be done in no time, and work my way up but my pace suffered a bit in my searching. I was confident I could close that time gap. There was still many a miles to run.  As quickly as I left the bathroom, I started to…well…warning..throw up. My stomach felt better for about 800 meters and started rumbling again.  So I avoided fluids for a long while but my body was achey and my stomach required more attention.

At the half way mark, when the half runners went towards their finish line, I contemplated finishing with them but brushed the idea away, thinking I would feel better. I never felt improvement after that. My stomach was doing that squeeze thing when you think you’ll be sick and you brace yourself for the worst.  I felt defeated. At mile 15 I honestly questioned if I could finish the race. My pace was terrible at this point and my body was achey. I had training runs further and faster.  To be cautious here, I have no issue with people dropping out of races. It’s a hobby, do what you have to do. There are elites whose finances count on a race pay day and the marathon is not a weekly event, so by all means, I get that. For me though I have never dropped out of a race and I would have felt like a quitter. I was not injured. My body hurt bad but there was no part of me that was breaking. The 5 hour pace group on the other side of the road were kind enough to offer me mental support and none of them were quitting. It would have felt prideful to stop on my part.

So I trudged on. I popped out of a restroom at one point and my eyes lit up when I saw Santa. Who better to try to run with? I joined Marathon Santa for a bit and burst out laughing when someone yelled at him, “You smell like beef and cheese!” Then Marathon Santa sped up or I slowed down.  I couldn’t keep up with his huge bright red outfit while silently thinking “I just got beat by Santa”.  Marathon Santa went on to run a 2:54. Maybe he should be named Speedy Santa? Congrats on breaking the Santa suit wearing  marathon Guiness World Record Speedy! During the rest of the run I very briefly ran with two friends, one having a great day and one having a terrible day. I did stop at aid stations twice in the last 10K to try to get some water in me. I held it down but I regretted it later as it jumbled around. I left my unused gels on the side of a road barrier in case someone needed them because I knew I couldn’t dare try them.

I crossed the finish line, shocked to see a 3:05 on the clock time (my 3:04 was high and was gun time). I was glad I hadn’t worn a watch because I felt like my last 6 miles was a walking pace.  I was handed my medal and I skipped the food line to find my awesome Father-in-Law who spectated.  Thanks to ALL the spectators. It was a cold, windy day and standing around watching people run is not the most exciting way to spend your Sunday morning. Seeing family and knowing my shot was gone turned me into a blubbering mess for about 45 seconds.  I gathered my bruised ego while we gathered my things in the elite tent where I chatted with friends and was disheartened to hear that out of our entire  10+ pack of females, not a single American woman ran under the Olympic Trials qualifying time in the marathon.  The temperature was wonderful but the wind was rough.

I don’t know why I felt like I did. I thought I had done everything right. In all honesty though, while I prepped with the race day fuel, Gatorade Endurance, I rarely used gels. My stomach has always been tough though so I didn’t think much of it. In fact the only other time I have ever had stomach issues was the Eugene Marathon where I also went out at a pace faster than I was probably capable of holding at that time.  I remember Kara Goucher mentioning awhile ago that her stomach can handle things at one pace and not at a faster one. Maybe that was it for me? I don’t know. Maybe it was my dinner the day before. Maybe it was the huge coffee. Had my body forgotten about caffeine in that short fasting period? Maybe it was all of those things combined with a bit of nerves. Your guess is as good as mine.

We walked back to my hotel where I found my roommate Megan. She had the most incredible race and PRed by 12 minutes finishing in 3:12! How?!?! Hard work & talent.  She didn’t even mention it to me. Not a peep until I called her out on it. I knew because I had her tracking info sent to my phone via text. She was genuinely only concerned about my rough day. So she is not only full of hard work and talent but incredible kindness as well.  I shook off my bad day and reveled in her good one while she was incredibly humble about her steller performance.  We showered, packed up, and got out of the city quickly to return to Virginia Beach for a fun Friendsgiving with great people. I drank champagne and stuffed my face with turkey and later that night when I felt a bit sorry for myself as I got the kiddos ready for bed, they made me laugh about something and I thought..I’m pretty darn lucky to have run in my home city race today, celebrated with friends and Mr. Law, and tuck my kiddos in at night. It really was a great day, not the one I hoped for, but in the grand scheme of life…a wonderful one. One I can be proud of and one of which I’ll likely mock myself for in the future. Remember that time I got beat in the marathon by Santa?!?

So again, thank you all! Big thanks to Running, Etc. for their support and a huge thanks to my  coach, Jerry Frostick, who I know prepared me well. I’m a bit sad a bunch sad I couldn’t show that preparation off on this day for his sake but I have had a great season to be proud of and after a good recovery period, feel like I can pick myself up and show off all that hard work. Thanks to the countless friends who’ve offered me kind words and especially to Tina Muir who let me vent away  on the phone this morning. I will not be taking another shot at the marathon before the Olympic Trials window shuts as a few friends have suggested. That decision was made before I ran yesterday, that whatever would be would be. Thank all for reading and congrats to all that had a wonderful race day yesterday!

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32 thoughts on “Philly 2015 Recap

  1. Kris. You are an amazing person and this update just represents the sliver of awesomeness you possess. Not too many people toe the line for a big thing like this and not too many people still are so positive after it. Yesterday as the training team was celebrating, we were all waiting on updates. We are proud of you. I am proud of you. You inspire us all. Thank you for that!!!!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Great recap and great attitude. Lot of silver lining here and still more chances down the road if you want them. Hugs to Team Lawrence, congrats to Megan and thanks to all that supported you leading up to the race and on raceday.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So sorry you had a rough day, Kris. But I absolutely LOVE your amazing attitude and gratitude. I’ll be cheering you on to the next opportunity which I’m quite sure will have the ending you desire.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kris I’m so sorry this did not go as you would have hoped. I’m proud of you for sticking it out and finishing. I’m glad I got to chat with you in the beginning for a bit. You will Definetely have bigger and better races. This is not a reflection on your fitness at all.

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  5. You are truly awesome and awe-inspiring!! No matter what, you’re abilities and work ethic are incredible, and you have much to be proud of, even if this one race didn’t quite go the way you would have liked.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this even though I know it must have been hard. {hugs} I always enjoy your recaps, even the not-so-good ones!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Tough day at the races, Kris. Really sorry things didn’t work out as planned, but you should be proud of yourself for “going for it”. You’ve had a great marathon training cycle which can only stand you in good stead for the future. Great attitude. Hope the post-race recovery goes well.

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  7. Kris, you are a class act. There’s more to being a winner and a champion than just the time. Plus, you know (and anyone who reads this knows) that this time does NOT represent you as a runner or your ability. You always have such a positive attitude about what happens, and I know it took a lot to not quit on the race and to finish no matter what (barring injury, of course). Everyone has off days and even bad days, but you keep plugging along and don’t let it get you down- and that says a lot about your character.

    I hope you have a good recovery and can get back out there soon.

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  8. First of all, your attituted towards this is amazing. The marathon is such a tough beast… We spend months training for one and, when things go the wrong way, it’s not like we can just attempt another one the next weekend. So I totally get how frustrating this must be for you. I also don’t think it is ridiculous to whine about a 3:04… It is obviously a super-impressive time and something I could only dream of, but it’s all relative. You trained for a much faster time, so I believe you get to whine about it all you want! Very proud of you for finishing the race – I honestly don’t know if I’d have had the gut to do the same. The good news in all this? You had a horrible day yesterday, but it was just one day out of months of hard training and that training is certainly not gonna go to waste now… It will help you KILLING your next marathon 😉

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  9. You went for it, and that’s amazing. One thing is certain that you never would have gotten it if you didn’t at least try. I think that this marathon was plain ol’ bad luck. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how well prepared you are, physically and mentally, shit just happens. And you know this. And I think it’s perfectly okay to be disappointed! But you hit the nail on the head– you have so many people that care about you and follow you and want you to achieve your goals. I am one of those people! 🙂

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  10. I don’t know what it feels like to go out for an Olympic Trials qualifier, but I know what it feels like to go for a 3 hour marathon and come up way short. I am so sorry this happened to you. You have such an amazing attitude about all of this and it is so inspiring to read. You are freaking awesome, lady!!

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  11. I’m sorry you had so many stomach problems but I’m also so inspired by you, as always. You were dealt a rough hand yesterday and you’re handling it as best as can be. Congratulations on finishing- that alone is huge, especially when you were having trouble keeping anything down. Thinking of you!

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  12. There are so many emotions in this post I can relate to- I think we all can. This sport we all love can be the very best at times but other days it can be very frustrating and humbling. I appreciate your honesty and I admire your end of the day sentiments on feeling thankful and blessed.

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  13. I have been in that position with much less on the line, and I know how hard it is to push though when everything falls apart. So proud of you for sticking it out and being as positive as you are. You have amazing perspective and grace and amazing things yet to come in this distance. Love you and proud to know you, friend.

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  14. While I am so sorry you had such a rough day when you had set yourself up for a great race, I thank you for sharing you story so candidly. For me, a 10 minute mile is a lofty pace for my upcoming hometown race, but most of us who have run more than a couple of races have had that horrible, rotten, no good race from out of nowhere. Misery doesn’t really love company, but know that your honest blogging does inspire the rest of us to press on and keep getting stronger!

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  15. 💜💜 as disappointing as I’m sure you feel and as long as it’ll take to shake it off, I think it’s great that you went for it. With OTQ being such a difficult standard, your attitude to go big or go home is so inspiring.

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  16. it says so much about you how you are handling everything. I’m sorry it didn’t go the way you wanted, or even a way you deserved for all of the hard work you put in to get there. I admire the guts and the grit though, and I’m not the only one. You went for it, you tried, and when things got hard you kept going- that says everything. It’s frustrating, emotional, and can put us in a bad place because we work hard and things don’t always go the way we want them to. But you allow yourself to feel it however you need to, and then you pick yourself up by the bootstraps and keep on going. You are a great person, and it’s so refreshing that you can put it all in perspective but also be real about it. You inspire so many people, hope you know that!

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  17. Sorry to hear that you didn’t meet your goal. You finished, though, and that in itself is awesome. I know a lot of people would’ve quit given the stomach issues you faced as well as the wind. I love your honesty as many bloggers wouldn’t put their heart out there like you did.

    You’ll get it next time =). That’s the beauty of running. There are always more races in the future 😊

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  18. I feel your pain! Reading this brought back all these feelings I had after my last triathlon in September. I trained all summer, tapered, etc… all so I could hit the elite amateur time in the Olympic Distance. I bombed big time and thought about dropping out 1,000 times. It’s so easy to write about the PRs and wins. Thanks for pushing your pride aside and blogging about your experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’m so sorry to hear about your stomach woes!! Of all days, I can’t believe it had to happen yesterday. Still, to finish like you did despite all that just proves that you were mentally ready for this race. Finishing despite the wind and despite the stomach issues shows a lot of mental tenacity!

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  20. Oh Kris…you are amazing❤️❤️❤️❤️ For every good race, I’ve had a bad one. Your optimism and personality always shine through in your writing and that’s one of the reasons why I love your blog so much! Please done ever change-you’re amazing. Thanks for Always being honest in your recaps. Taking another chance at an Olympic qualifier would really destroy your body and I totally get why you would try to take another shot at it.

    I hope you’re still stuffing your face from friendsgiving! We had ours this weekend too and it was so fun!

    I’m so proud of you for Herculean effort during the race!

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  21. I’m so sorry for your rough day. In my experience (don’t ask), caffeine fasting can be very hard on both the stomach and blood sugar. But I didn’t mention it last post because you said not to!
    You have a really good attitude about running, so even your “bad” races are learning experiences. It’s been helpful for me to read after having slowed down so much after recent surgeries. I’m trying to just be thankful for the ability to run at all, so thank you for reminding me.

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  22. Well, you had a tough goal, and you still shot for it! I think it’s great you didn’t drop out, and it’s a bummer you are done for this season, but in the meantime you can figure out the fueling issues and come back even stronger the next time! I’m in awe of the race you ran, even if it wasn’t the time you were aiming for.

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  23. I’m so sorry your race didn’t go as planned. I know how that feels although on a much slower scale 😉 I didn’t even run the full Savannah marathon this year due to crappy weather conditions. Some things are just out of our control! And sometimes for whatever reason our bodies rebel. It’s so so frustrating especially when you KNOW you worked so freaking hard. I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason and I know your best day is yet to come. Every training season makes you stronger and wiser in the long run. *hugs* chin up! You’re an incredibly inspiring, strong, and beautiful woman!!!! THANK YOU for being so open and honest. It lets us ‘average’ runners know that we aren’t alone in the way we feel in disappointments. 😉 we are all human.

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  24. I’m sorry you had such a rough day out there. I just wanted to chime in that I too was born and raised in a Philly suburb and the soft pretzel breakfast sounds pretty wonderful to me!

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  25. I’m sorry to read that you had a difficult race. I had difficult race, too. My stomach turned on me, too. I just couldn’t keep my BQ pace after 30k. I started to cry when a set of twins complimented me on my “@TwinsRun in Our Family” shirt and then proceeded to pass me, running together step by step. My goal was to BQ so that I can run the 2017 Boston Marathon with my twin who already BQd in Chicago. To be honest, I need to wallow a bit before I get ready to train again. I’m not ready to give up on my goal and already registered for another marathon in March.

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  26. I’m so sorry to hear that your race did not go as planned – that’s always a bitter pill to swallow after months of training so hard. The fact that you stuck it out and finished (with a still very impressive time) and then handled it with such grace and maturity. This race was certainly not a reflection of your fitness, and you will have better and bigger races to come. Also, on a lighter note, a soft pretzel before a race sounds brilliant and I may have to try that!

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  27. I feel you. I was in the same group but broke after taking a porta potty stop and wasting energy trying to catch our group instead of working with them.

    Hope to meet you in person someday. Love your blog. What was cool was I remembered Philly 2013 I was chasing an elite level woman in red but never found out her name. 2 years later I stumble on your blog only to find out it’s you. It’s encouraging to read your running prospects and I hope to race you again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you found me Matthew! Did we run together in 2013? I remember running with two guys for quite awhile but never caught their names. I keep wondering what would have happened if our group started a little slower last Sunday. Shoulda coulda woulda, right?! Glad we could run together even if our group broke up pretty fast and hopefully next time we will both pull off a huge PR.

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      • In 2013 I only stuck behind you through the last 10k, although you were just too fast for me then. Maybe not this past race but next time. We won’t lose fitness that quickly.
        What do you have lined up next? My next race is Boston 2016. I’m trying to chase a Fukuoka Championship qualifier but it has been quite elusive.

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