Tuesday, December 10, 2013

St. Jude: The Marathon That Wasn't

December 7th was supposed to mark the day I ran my first marathon, St. Jude, in Memphis, TN. Instead, due to icy road conditions (somewhere), a large percentage of medical staff, personnel, and volunteers were no longer available, which resulted in the race being cancelled. Needless to say, I was (and still am) pretty bummed. But here's my story, anyway. I'll try not to be too bitter:

Chris and I left our house on Friday around 11:00 in the afternoon to drive to Memphis (about a 4 hour drive) - earlier than we had planned, for fear of roads getting icy. We had been keeping an eye on the weather before hand, and they were predicting freezing rain throughout the state. But this is Tennessee. We tend to over exaggerate a bit when it comes to winter weather. I wasn't worried. The drive wasn't bad. It rained, but nothing that caused a headache.

When we got into town we went straight to the Expo to pick up my race packet. It was so crowded I didn't really care to hang out that long, so we grabbed our gear, took some pictures, and left. I was starting to really get amped up. It was starting to really hit me that I'd be running a marathon in the morning! The roads seemed clear, and I thought for sure we were good to go. I had nothing to worry about. We drove to the hotel, rested for a few minutes, and then met up with some friends for a light dinner. 

A bittersweet moment (well, sweet at the time; bitter, now)

We got back to the hotel at a reasonable hour, had planned on maybe ordering a movie and then going to bed. Then all of a sudden I got the text. I don't even think I read the whole text I just saw "...difficult, but necessary decision..." and immediately put my phone down. I kind of went into shock. I didn't yell or throw my phone like I thought I would have. I just sat there in silence; not knowing what to think or say. I automatically started thinking "What now? 18 weeks of hard work and now what?!" I was pissed. I didn't have a back up plan, and at the time I didn't know what I would do. I'm already an indecisive person, so I knew this was just going to cause a huge headache. When I'm frustrated I cry, so that's what I did. Then I just felt numb. If you've ever worked your butt off for something and then had it taken away then you'll know how I felt. I didn't want to be selfish. I knew this was for the kids, but it was for me, too. This was my first marathon. I had envisioned it in my head so many times during training runs. I was ready to tackle this mountain. I was determined and excited. All of those feelings slowly went out the window after reading that text. I didn't want to get into a negative mood, but at the moment I couldn't think of anything else. And I didn't care. 

We decided to go ahead and make the most of our trip and stay the two nights in Memphis. We had a lot of fun with Celena and Lance Friday and Saturday. It kind of turned into a mini vacation for the four of us. But the thought of not running was still in the back of my mind.

My support crew :)

We went to lunch at Hard Rock on Saturday where we saw a group of runners in their finisher shirts, wearing their medals. That irked me a bit, seeing as how they didn't run the race. I'm planning on donating my medal to St. Jude's Hospital. If I didn't run the race I don't want (or deserve) the medal. We also saw a lot of people running in their St. Jude's Hero singlet. I kind of wish I had gotten out there Saturday morning and ran, too. 

Now that I've had some time to let it settle. I've realized I had no control over what happened. If it wasn't the weather it could have been something else. I just wasn't supposed to run. I'm very grateful for how St. Jude handled the cancellation. I know it was not an easy decision. I'm also grateful for their generosity. They are allowing all runners to choose either to donate their race fee, get a full refund, or have their registration transferred to one of the following races: 

P.F Chang's Rock 'n' Roll Arizona (January 19th)
Rock 'n' Roll New Orleans (February 2nd)
St. Jude Country Music Marathon (April 26th) 

First one is out. I could care less about going to Arizona.

So, as of right now it's between the last two. And, just like anything else in life, there are pros and cons to both. 

NOLA pro's: 

  • Um, it's in New Orleans! (another mini va-cay?) 
  • I have another friend who is running (the 1/2)
  • It's a flat course (I think)
  • It's only 7 weeks out. Gives me time to take a break and then build back up in January.
  • The weather would still be nice and cool.
  • It sounds like a lot of fun. 

NOLA con's:

  • We'd have to purchase plane tickets & find a hotel. (stress)
  • It's on a Sunday and I don't know if I could get off work, if needed. I don't know when we'd fly in or out.  
  • Weather could play a problem - AGAIN, which would only cause more travel headaches. 
  • 8 hours is too long of a drive, so driving is out of the question. 

CMM  pro's: 

  • It's local - only 30 minutes from our house. Meaning no airfare, no hotel, no days off work needed.
  • I know a handful of other people who are running either the full or the half. I'd have a good, local support crew. 
  • It would be less stressful; I'd get to sleep in my own bed! 
  • I can train on the course with a group of people. 
  • Even though it's a slightly different course than my first 1/2, I could say I ran my first full at the same place I ran my first 1/2.
  • It's still a St. Jude sponsored race. 

CMM con's: 

  • HILLS!!! 
  • It's in April, which means there's no telling what the weather will be like. Could be cool, but more than likely will be warm. Very warm. 
  • If I choose to train on the course I have to drive to Nashville instead of just stepping out my door and running on the greenway, which means I'd have to get up extra early. And I'm not a fan of that. 
  • It's 4 months away! I don't know if I can go back into training mode for that long. It would suck to have built up my mileage, let it drop, then have to build it back up again. 

So, it's either that or get a refund and find a completely different race within the next month or two. 

The temperature is the main factor that is holding me back from CMM. I absolutely despise running in the heat, and by the end of April I know it will be warm, because last year in May for See Spot Run 5k I was absolutely miserable!!! 

I tried to get into Rocket City, which is this Saturday in Huntsville, AL. At first I had already gone into shutdown mode and didn't even want to consider it. Then I realized it falls on the one year mark of the Sandy Hook tragedy (December 14th) and all of a sudden I really wanted to run. I remember people running 26 miles for the 26 lives lost last year and wishing I could. This would have been the perfect race for that. Unfortunately, it's sold out and they won't do bib transfers.

Whatever I decide, I WILL run 26.2 miles. I'll just be going a different route than I had originally planned.

Have you ever had an important race that was cancelled? What did you do about it? 

1 comment:

  1. Hi there!! I was supposed to run St. Jude's too and I'm so glad I found your post here. Very timely. I'm so sorry this happened to you for your first marathon. I wasn't as upset this time as I was when this happened to me before NYC last fall. I felt exactly like you did.

    Sounds like you are weighing your options carefully. Good luck with whatever you decide!