Saturday, October 12, 2013

That time I dropped out of a half marathon

When Super Generic Girl posted a list of things you definitely, absolutely shouldn't do while dealing with a running injury (do as she says, not as she does, folks), I commented very briefly about dropping out of races.

You know. Such as last weekend.

I'd originally signed up for the Tri-Factor Half as a training run for the Perth City to Surf marathon. But the Dread Haze forced the organisers to postpone it to this past weekend (October 6). My training plan for November's half marathon said 'run very slowly for two hours', and I'd already paid up for Tri-Factor, so off I went to do it.

When I woke up at 5.30am there was a fine ol' storm outside and I nearly rolled over and went back to sleep, but a quick check of the weather radar showed the rain would soon pass and that the weather would be cool and lovely. So I hauled myself out of bed, had some toast and went off to East Coast Park. The race started just a smidgen late - 7am instead of 6.45 - but it was the smallest half-marathon I've ever done here. (If you're the sort of person interested in signing up for things for the possibility of winning prizes, take note! I am not. I haven't a chance.)

I know lots of people think running back and forth along East Coast Park is dead boring. And I know the reclaimed land is slowly crumbling back into the sea. And it's mostly flat. (MOSTLY. There are some hills which don't look like much, but which suddenly start looking like Mount Everest once you're tired.) But we went east before the sun rose, and west after it did, and the temperature was perfect, and I mean, you cannot possibly complain about a sea view the whole way.

For the first 10km (completed, on pace, in 1:03) I had absolutely nothing to complain about. Nothing. Zilch, zip, zero. The sun came up and the sunrise was exactly as pretty as sunrises tend to be.

At 11km I began to feel a little nauseous. And then a lot nauseous.  Let me tell you, as delicious as watermelon Nuun tastes going down, it tastes a lot worse coming up.

At 13km I began taking little walk breaks.
At 14km the walk breaks became longer.
Shortly thereafter I started taking little run breaks in the midst of all the walking.
And then shortly after than I just started walking altogether.
People a little way behind me began to pass me.
People a long way behind me began to pass me.
People whom I'd seen way back after the turnaround began to pass me.
And worst of all, I caught myself wishing I was on Squeaky, my road bike. When does that ever happen? When do I ever choose a bike ride over a nice training run?
The sun came up. It got really ugly. At the 18km point, right near where I'd parked, I snuck off to the car.

It's a good thing this was only a training run. After all that I came home and had a good long nap and went to work the evening shift from 2 to 11pm.

I still don't know what happened, and won't know (no I'm not pregnant - sorry Gran). Could be the toast. Remember the toast? It was sliced bread that came in a plastic bag. Regular, perfectly ordinary sliced bread. It's just that we've had a breadmaker for so long, I haven't had regular storebought sliced bread in a year. Maybe that stuff.

I've not had to drop out of an A race. So far. But then again, I haven't really been that strategic about my race schedule so far. Let's not jinx it. (Which is why I'm diligently doing my squats and pushups and hip drops and lunges and planks. I am unbelievably lazy when it comes to strength and stretching, but it's preventive medicine.)


This weekend has been extremely laid-back so far. This morning I went on a Singapore Glove Project run with Ken-Jin. (Singapore Glove Project: we like to run, but we hate trash on our running routes.) As usual the remnants of Friday night's parties were all over the place. Also possibly Thursday night's parties. Opening-ceremony paper confetti is basically the worst idea ever.

A possible culprit!  (Photo credit: KJ Tan)
Ken Jin disapproves of all the confetti.

We also saw an entire 7-11 chicken bryani on a bench, unopened.

Drunk people do strange things. (Photo credit: KJ Tan) 
I'll call that a 6km fartlek with plenty of stopping and walking.

Tonight the husband and I are going to some friends' housewarming party, and tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn I'm running 14km (that's 8+ miles for you people who think in imperial - I only speak metric when it comes to distances) with two friends who really, really need to meet each other (and can then speak to each other in miles as I run out of breath trying to keep up with them).

If you think this will result in some sleep deprivation you may be right. But it appears to be Karaoke/ Singalong Day at the void deck of the block across from mine (I've heard songs in three languages and two dialects and they've been going since THIS MORNING), so I doubt I will be getting much sleep anyway...


  1. Replies
    1. I err on the side of being a sensible wuss...most of the time :)

  2. Vomiting is a perfectly legitimate reason to pull out of a race. There's nothing worse!

    1. It was unpleasant, but I've had worse races - I didn't feel the need to really push through this one! Fortunately I was fine afterwards. Don't think it was pace or conditions - the conditions were nearly perfect. It'll just have to be one of those little mysteries.

  3. Hi Grace

    Wish you all the best in your Perth Half Marathon, train smart and go easy when you need to. Do say hi if ever you bump into me along any training route :)

    1. Thanks Isaac! I'll be doing the Great Eastern half here on Nov 10 :) Where do you typically run? Are you training for anything in particular right now?