Sunday, September 16, 2012

Race report: RNR Philadelpia Half-Marathon, September 16, 2012

I ran the Rock and Roll Philadelphia Half-Marathon today, dropping out at about 7.5 miles.    I'm pretty disappointed, as all the places were set for a great race.  But, running does have its lows and its highs, and frustrations are part of the game.  I'll lick my wounds, and move on.

Overall, I was looking forward to this weekend.  Work has been pretty stressful recently, and so I had put in for vacation on Friday and also advised that I'd be completely out of pocket over the weekend.  It was a nice change and a chance for a break. 

Brian and I drove up to Philly on Saturday, in a trip that was a bit of a comedy of errors, between my continually making the worst judgment calls possible on which direction to go, our lunch restaurant bringing Brian the wrong meal, and our hotel putting us in the wrong room.  But, it all worked out, and we managed to join my team for a nice dinner on Saturday.

Race morning dawned with perfect weather - 62 degrees and low dewpoint.  I felt very good during my jog over to the race start, and also during my drills and strides.  Relaxed and confident.  I loaded myself into the corral and went "zen", knowing that all I had to do was to run a relaxed race.  Which I did, until stuff fell apart.

Splits for the first 4 miles were:
Mile 1: 6:54
Mile 2: 6:39
Mile 3-4: 6:34 pace (13:08).

Then, sometime during the fifth mile, my breathing started to get strained and my chest started feeling really tight.  OK then, I'd just back off a bit to what felt comfortable, and re-establish.

But nothing felt comfortable.  And my legs started feeling weaker and my vision narrowed, and the pressure on my chest just got firmer. I walked a few steps at one point, and took some deep breaths, but it didn't seem to help at all.   I kept working forward, thinking positive thoughts and rationalizing that I was just having a bad patch and things would get better, but everything just felt heavier and heavier.   Something just felt very wrong.  I walked some more just past the 7 mile marker, but couldn't seem to catch my breath and felt really wobbly.  So I dragged myself to the next place where I saw race officials, and dropped out.

Splits were:

Mile 5: 6:45
Mile 6: 6:44
Mile 7: 6:54
Last .43 (to band station) - 3:36 (8:22 pace)

Then sat down for about 30 minutes, waiting for one of the sag wagons to pick me up and take me to the finish.  It never showed, so I ended up jogging back to the start.


I'm honestly still not sure what happened, and I'm pretty frustrated.  I really cut back my mileage and also my intensity this week, and made sure to eat well and stay hydrated.  Work's been pretty stressful, but I've run great races before when I was under much more stress.  The chest tightness and shortness of breath felt like asthma, but I used my inhaler pre-race, and I'm also not coughing like I normally do.  So, I just need to rest and recover, and talk with my coach and also my primary care doctor to see what each of them thinks. 


  1. Cris, so sorry. I know next race, you'll kick a$$, but understand how frustrating it is that you can't get the trigger on the breathing issues locked down. :(

  2. I'm so sorry to hear this. I hope that your doctor (an the rest of our support team) can come up with an explanation so that you can tackle this soon. Not knowing is so frustrating and scary.

  3. That is really frustrating. Seems like you were really smart with your approach to this one in terms of the taper, the race strategy, etc. I hope you are feeling better and ready to tackle the next one!

  4. I'm sorry, friend. We fight through the bad ones because we know there are good ones out there. xo.

  5. Really sorry it ended this way, such a sucky situation. But the one thing that remains true is your fitness is rocking massively right now. Whatever happened yesterday has to be a weird oddity, maybe the room and wrong lunch were part of it (is it a full moon?) and I'm sure your next races will obliterate this one completely. (but I am glad you're asking your docs about it)

  6. I'm so sorry your race ended this way. I would not be at all surprised if the stress of race was just enough to push your body over the edge after a week full of work stress. I hope you can get some more concrete answers and put this behind you quickly.

  7. Eeks, I'm sorry you had to drop out! I hope the docs can tell you what happened so you can prevent it next time.