2019 Pasadena Half Marathon

This year is my third (3) year in a row running this beautiful race. I love the race because of the Colorado Bridge and the hills. Call me crazy but I love hills, no mater how killer they are. Yes, the hills in this race are killer. I didn’t have any expectations for the race this year, I was fighting what I thought was a cold all week. On to race weekend…

Saturday, January 19: Its expo day and time to pick up my bib and shirt. I actually liked the shirt this year, and I’m surprised that a women’s XL actual fit, considering I’m pretty big int he chest. They had a photo booth this year, and sadly the photo booth ran out of photo paper. I had to have them emailed to me, and I never received the pics in my email. It sucks because I thought the pics were super cute.

I stopped by some booths and signed up for a race, the Inaugural Minion 5k put on my Universal Studios. I had a good time at the expo. I left to check into my hotel room, and find some food. I also grabbed two (2) gallons of water, and some Gatorade so I can hydrate. I’ve been having problems with hydration because I’ve been sick.

I was also hoping to get plenty of rest. I went to bed after packing up everything I needed for race day, and putting my race day nutrition together. I woke up after only sleeping for twenty (20) minutes and I couldn’t go back to sleep. I tried numerous times, I just couldn’t fall back asleep.

Sunday, January 20: Race Day: Its 2am and its time to “wake up”. I made myself a cup of coffee in my room, and started to get dressed, and ready. I had to stop to put gas in my car and I wanted to stop and myself a Bang energy drink (it’s filled BCAAs). After putting gas in my car, and a quick stop at 7-11 I was on my way to the Rose Bowl. Just a quick, 1.7 mile drive without using the freeway. I loved it.

I got there early to ensure that I got a good, upfront parking space. I got the perfect space. While I was waiting I took some ibuprofen for the headache I had (a guy in front of 7-11 was smoking pakalolo and I am allergic to it). While I was in my car waiting my stomach started to gurgle. I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be good, but I just ignored it. It got to the point where I couldn’t ignore it anymore. I went straight to a port-a-potty (one of the best things about being the first to arrive, nice clean unused port-a-potty). It wasn’t good. Diarrhea. Great, just what I needed. I went once more before the race started.

I ran into friends before the start of the race. It was so good to talk to friends, take selfies, high five and wish each other luck. I met up with Adidas Runners LA (after the group stretch and pic were done). I got hugs, high fives and good luck from AR:LA before headed to the half marathon corral.

The Race: Once I crossed the mat it was on. I was lightly jogging (to warm up) toward the first hill. I was doing great, keeping a 11 min to 12 min pace. Once I reached the base of the first hill, I was in hiking mode. Once I reached three quarters of a mile, I started feeling bad. I was feeling hot, too hot. I was also sweating badly along with my hands starting to swell up. I took two (2) salt pills, and drank more water. I had to go to the restroom, and my stomach was starting to gurgle again. Once I reached the second hill, I took my sweater, and continued to hike up the hill. Once I hit Orange Grove I tried to jog but my legs were feeling heavier, my body started to ache, and I could feel that I was slightly dehydrated.

I continued on, passing the medical tent, and continued pumping myself with water and Gatorade. At the second water stop (near mile 4) I filled my bottle with Gatorade and continued on. I found easier to jog but I wasn’t able to jog for very long. When I hit mile five (5) I saw the pick up van. I wasn’t surprised, I had been physically struggling throughout this entire race and it was getting worse. When I hit mile six (6) I stopped at the port-a-potty. I couldn’t hold it any longer and my stomach was gurgling badly. After I finished using the port-a-potty I was extremely dizzy. It quickly went away, but I felt light headed. I pushed onto the 10k point and then I was on to mile seven (7).

Once I got to mile seven (7) I went straight to the Medical Tent. I told them the truth that I had been battling a cold all week, I had severe diarrhea this morning, and I haven’t been able to hydrate properly. I had been walking the majority of the last couple of miles. They sat me down, gave me 4 oz of Gatorade and took my pulse. My pulse was at 134 which is high for walking. I rested, and continued to drink the Gatorade they were handing me. I was sweating more now, my hands were so swollen I could barely make a fist. I told the doctor that I was doing water and Gatorade, switching between a couple of days before the race, and during the race. I was also taking salt pills to help replace what I was losing.

The doctor asked what symptoms I’d been experiencing. I told him nasal contesting, body aches, headaches, and very soft stools. He said that the soft stools I’ve been having is actually diarrhea, and said I had symptoms of the stomach flu and I was doomed from the beginning. Since I’e had diarrhea for a couple of days, not including this morning, that it made me severely dehydrated. While at the medical tent I easily drank 12 ounces of Gatorade, and I drank it quickly.

Then another runner came, who had vomited while out on the course. She was with Students Run Los Angeles, and even though I was feeling like hell, I wanted to make sure she was ok too. Then a Race Official came by and told the medical staff that both myself, and the other runner would be going on the van (the Course Marshal) to be taken back to the Rose Bowl. I never opted out of the race, but I was asking questions about the van because I’d never taken it before. I’d never been in this situation before. It was a little scary.

The Race Official told the Course Marshall that we were getting on the van, and told us to get on the van. I got on the van and back to the Rose Bowl I went. Once I got to the Rose Bowl, I asked the Course Marshal if I can still get my medal, since I never opted out of the race, and I explained all that happened. He said “Sure. The runners are right there and the finish line is not far at all. Just jump in with the rest of the runners and finish your race”. I thanked him so much for allowing me to finish the race. I jumped in with the other runners, and jogged to the finish line. I am grateful I was given the opportunity to finish the race. I am so grateful for that. Thank you so much Course Marshal.

Once I hit the finish line, I easily drank a 12 ounce bottle of water. That bottle of water was empty in less than a minute. I was still thirsty. I was still drinking water out of my pack (it has a 70 oz. water bladder inside).

Even though I did stop at the Medical Tent at mile seven (7) to rest and hydrate, I feel that it doesn’t make me weak. I did the right thing by listening to my body when I knew something wasn’t right and I was getting worse. If given the opportunity I would have continued on stopping at every Medical Tent along the remaining six (6) miles of the course, so I could finish.

I did learn something about myself during this race. I fought hard, running seven (7) miles with the stomach flu. During the run my symptoms became full blown and known. I truly am a fighter. I fought long, and I fought hard to try and make through the full 13.1 miles. I made it through the first seven (7) miles of the run, that’s more than I thought I was capable of. I am stronger than I give myself credit for. This experience not only showed me that, it made me that much stronger.

A very Special Thanks to the Medical Staff at mile seven (7). Thank you for taking care of me. I am so grateful for your help and kindness. Thank you. I’d also like to thank all of the Medical Staff and all the Volunteers who constantly come out to the races to make sure that all the runners are well taken care of. Without the volunteers and the medical personnel, I’m not sure if the races would even take place. Thank you. Also, thank you Course Marshal for allowing me to finish the race. Thank you so much. I truly appreciate it and I am so grateful that you allowed me to finish the race.

Also, a very Special Thanks to the Hilton Pasadena. You made my stay wonderful, comfortable, and welcoming. Terrie who works the front desk was so pleasant, welcoming, and made sure I had what I need. When she found out I was running the Pasadena Half Marathon, she was truly excited and wanted me to tell her all about it. Unfortunately, when I checked out, she wasn’t at the desk. I hope to talk to her soon. Rosie, who brought me room service was so awesome, and completely helpful with making sure my nutrition stayed on point. Thank you Terrie and Rosie. It’s Hilton employees like yourselves that keep me a Hilton Honors Member, and keeps me in Hilton Hotels.

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