For as long as I can remember, I told people "I can't run." But in March of 2009, I decided that this was no longer an option. From my first 5K to my second half marathon, I've endured my highest highs and lowest lows as an official Runner. This year I want to embrace running for something beyond times and distances.

Running is so much more than merely getting out there. I want to get out there and love it.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Rock n Sole Half Marathon and my life

Wow...sorry everyone!! So in a nutshell? I haven't run since the Half three weeks ago. Instead I have been working 55-60 hour weeks. I work til about 8:00, eat at 9:00, and go to bed at midnight-1am because my entire day is shifted and there's no way I can just turn in for the night two hours after I eat dinner HA! In the small crevices of time where I'm not working, eating and sleeping, I have been helping Chris with his photography and constructing his art booth: he successfully sold a bunch of pieces in the Kenosha art fair a couple weeks ago, and now we're preparing for the Domes Art Festival in a few weeks. Honestly though I think we've been to Home Depot and Menard's at least two dozen times in the past month.

As for working...yikes. The big top secret project we've been working on all culminates at 4am on Monday morning. I have to come in tomorrow (Sunday) from 6am-2pm to do last minutes verification with the rest of my team. The worst part is that it might not work, in which case the extra 40+ hours of overtime we've all put in is all for naught and the project does not go live. The worst part about THAT isn't so much the "wasted time" as we'll probably try the project again in a few months and be better at it. The worst part is we won't get accolades. No one will pat us on the back for all our slave labor over the last few weeks. I mean they might not either way, but the odds significantly plummet.

ANYWAY...the Hoan Half Marathon. Ahhh yes. My first DNF. And not really an official DNF so much as just cutting the run short and opting to finish the 10K race instead.

The short story is that they ran out of water at Mile 3. Yep Mile 3. And because the 10K runners started after us Half runners, they got no water at all. Not only did they run out of water at some spots, in other spots there were no cups and the volunteers had to pour water into their cupped hands OR runners would pick up the empty water jugs and try to shake any remaining drops into their mouths.

Did I also mention it was 8am, 85 degrees, no cloud cover, and 75% humidity? Well that actually sounds kinda nice after the near 100 degree days we've been having this month ;) BUT trust me, it was a dangerous heat index and the race director had approved a green flag at the beginning of the race. In the corrals we all stood there waiting for the race to start just DRIPPING with sweat. Already!!

Right outta the gate, we ran up the Hoan bridge.
It wasn't the toughest incline by any means, but having no shade and working real hard right off the bat, wasn't so much fun. Add in some lack of water and it's more of a mental struggle than anything. At Mile 4.5 I saw an upcoming water station (this was of course after Mile 3 had already ran out of water), but because I thought it was a fluke, for some stupid reason I dumped all the water I had in my bottle on my head. Why Katie why? That mistake really cost me. Mile 4.5 was out of water too so I just had to deal with it.

Sometimes when I run in really crazy humidity I get heart palps. What I USUALLY do is stop and sit and see if they go away and continue on. When you're in a "race" that isn't exactly an option. I walked from Mile 4.5 (after realizing I wouldn't have water for at least another mile and a half) to Mile 5.5. I started up again once I made the final decision: I'm done.

My parents were waiting for me at a Mile 6 to switch shoes with me. I planned to run in my Newtons the first half since I had only trained up to 6 in them. Once I saw them my decision to stop had officially taken hold. The look on my mom's face pretty much said it all. She was so worried. So after chatting with them for a little bit while gulping down water (finally!) I doubled back and ran toward the 10K finish line so at I could at LEAST feel like this race was worth the anguish (mostly mental anguish having worried about the weather for at least a month prior to race day). I finished in something astronomical like an hour and a half YIKES.

I collected two bottles of water, three cups of Gatorade, a couple cookies, an MGD, and a huge bag of ice (they were literally handing out bags of ice!). Oh and my 10K medal. I don't necessarily think people should get medals for "only" running 6 miles, but after the ordeal my brain went through for this thing, it will always be a reminder of the experience.

Meanwhile, people were STILL running the Half Marathon. Running....and then not in collapsing and being taken to the hospital instead. Something like 20 runners were taken to the hospital with 50 being treated on-site. A friend of mine who was manning a station by his house on the north side (Lake Park) stretch said a guy collapsed on his lawn and the paramedics worked on him for a half hour before finally taking him to the hospital. Eventually (and I say that with disgust), the race put up the black flag and the clock was stopped. If you were miles away STILL running, you were outta times would be recorded and the race was in essence canceled.

Now something like 5-6000 people ran the 10K and Half Marathon that day, so 50 people hospitalized really isn't a lot in the grand scheme of things, but let me put it into perspective: Earlier this year, the Chicago 13.1 runners ran in very similar conditions where 11 people were hospitalized. Horribly enough, one 22-year-old man died. But according to this runner's race recap not only did the race director acknowledge it was going to be dangerous the day before, they added MORE water stations AND an ice towel station??? Mmmm ice towel. He also did something so small but speaks volumes: start the race with a yellow flag. When I got up the morning of July 10th and saw that patronizing green flag on the Rock n Sole website, I was so pissed. "Stop being a pussy, these are easy running conditions" is what that stupid green flag told me.

Well to make a long story short, the inaugural Rock n' Sole race made headlines and a wave of anger just rolled through our little city and beyond (since so many out-of-towners decided to run it too). The race director sent a huge apology email to us that Sunday evening. And a few days later, offered a refund system: keep or donate $15 to Ronald McDonald House, and 20% off next year's registration which includes two free Summerfest tickets. Not anything huge, but definitely a good olive branch. And 20% off next year's race may be good because I feel like this is an ordeal I need to tackle. Yeah they ran out of water, yeah it was hot, but had I trained better, I might've actually been able to finish. I had three friends who did actually finish and WELL at that...all between 2:15 and 2:30. So it was possible. Just not for my pansy ass ;)

So that's where I'm at running-wise. Seeing as I no longer need to train in the heat, I've taken these past three weeks to heal a few aches and pains, mostly my ankles and feet which just kill every morning I wake up. I hope that's because of "old age" and nothing serious!

Thanks for reading through this epic tale! I thought I'd make up for the lack of posting with lots and lots of words :)


  1. Dear Katesi,

    Thank you again for DNFing.


  2. Well at least they offered a refund! That sounds horrible!

  3. I got like 17 or 18 or something awful to run on Saturday. I can't wait until this damn thing is over with, and then never again.

    But, I would like to volunteer some time to give out water and encouragement. I'm a good encourager.

  4. Wow, who plans an event like this and runs out of water?! Crazy. If you'd like to inspire others with your experiences, I think you'd be a great addition to this site: It collects stories from inspiring people like yourself. If published as a feature, you can reference your blog if you like. Good luck!

  5. Thanks Tracey! I really love that site! I could always use some more inspiration in my life!!