The flipping flu hit me like a plethora of boulders three days before my race. It was a curve ball to all my training, and of course, to my psyche. It wasn’t just my immune system battling the nasty virus, my toddler fought it for seven days, and my ten year old is now creating antibodies to fight it off. Impeccable timing! The only person who seemed to be spared was my husband, but it was only because he was out of town during the time we were quarantined from society.
Friday morning was supposed to be our seven hour drive from our house to Newport, but we were hesitant to go because I was not 100% and it was my daughter’s second day with the virus. After being encouraged by my in-laws that our germs were worth sharing, we loaded up the vehicle and took off.
Friday happened to be my husband’s 35th birthday, so foregoing the trip would have been a big bummer. Plus, we would be running the half together, and we would also be joining my sister-in-law Megan on the run. Because we don’t get these opportunities too often due to the seven hour driving distance, we knew we had to go for it.
Saturday morning rolled around and I was praying for physical strength and hoping my stomach would not betray me during the race. The conditions were wet, gray, and a little windy. Normally I’d moan and complain, but I welcomed the conditions because I at least did not have to worry about dehydrating or heat exhaustion. The few calories I had been consuming the days prior to the race made for a very weak body, and dehydration and heat exhaustion were two things I did not need on my list. Fortunately, my mother-in-law made chicken with noodles the night before, so I was grateful I managed to at least consume some carbs and store them in my system.
The first three miles were tough, my heart rate had been the highest it had been on a hill with a decent climb on the second mile. I just kept one muddy/wet foot in front of the other and kept a steady pace on the gravelly and muddy terrain. Because the course was a double loop, I allowed my body to remember what the course felt like so that I would not be intimidated by the ascent the second time around. The hill was not steep, but it was a gradual climb of 400 feet.
I made sure to drink water at every water station and consumed sport beans 30 minutes before the race and an hour into the race. Despite my efforts to give it my best, my head was still feeling light and there were times when I felt dizzy. I tried to use the downhill after the climb to my advantage as it required the least amount of physical exertion. The payoff to the climb came when we reached the bay and viewed the beautiful Yaquina Bridge! The view made me forget my head and tummy woes and appreciate the fact I had the privilege to be upright despite the fact I had been in the horizontal position just two days prior! It was a moment of peace with myself.
When the second loop commenced, I kept thinking about my grandmother, and her final days. She was in so much pain, and I think her negotiating days between her and her spirit to grant her an extra day of breathing air here on Earth had been settled. I don’t claim to understand death, or even life for that matter, but there is a sense of calm that occurs when you stop fighting. I usually fight my mind and measure my performance based on good enough and not good enough. I sensed a release of pressure within myself as I thought about her battle the last time I saw her. My mind and body were calm, and there was an acknowledgment that the body is ephemeral and that one day, I will no longer be able to move. I thanked my body for all it had done, for what it was doing, and for what was ahead.
I made every effort to once again take advantage of the descent, and pushed my exhausted lungs and lungs down the hill. But at mile ten, my stomach reminded me it was not 100% percent, so I stopped and waited for my husband. Fortunately, a restroom stop alleviated some of the stomach pain and we made our way to the finish line with only a mile and a half left to go.
The finish line was bitter sweet! Just a day before, I wasn’t sure whether I’d be able to run. Newport Bay to Brews was my seventh half-marathon for the year, and my sixth of twelve half-marathons in twelve months.
The race was great. The course was beautiful and there were plenty of water stations filled with volunteers who faced the rain with a smile. The race was small, which meant no crowding, and the party at the finish line was very entertaining. We had clam chowder and beer, an awesome medal, prizes for top three finishers in each age, a great band. Plus, we had shelter from the rain! Best of all, my sister in law won first place in her age group!
My unofficial time: 2:05:36!!