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Dam to Dam: It wasn't a PR but it was a PL

Before the race started, I couldn't help but notice many runners in shirts that had this on the back...


Little did I know that by the middle of the race, that would be the only mantra I could hear my head and chanted to myself.

For every reason, my 9th Dam to Dam 20K race should have gone off without a hitch.  I hadImg_0261 trained well (for a change), I ate and drank well all week, I felt good, and I had fantastic company in Art and Nancy.   I love this race and I was really looking forward to a wonderful morning, running with friends.   There wasn't a better way I could think to spend Saturday morning. 

Outside of a Img_0289porty potty required stop at mile 5, I was feeling really good.  My legs felt strong, I felt perfect for a long run on a nice day.   

I remember at the half way point, shortly after seeing this runner  (look closely at the back of her shirt) who was out celebrating her bachelorette party before her wedding next week, thinking to myself, "no problem, second half will be as good as the first."

And then something happened in the middle of mile 6.  I don't know if it was the bright sun or warm weather (ok, it was only 72), but I started to feel really crappy.   My head started pounding, my head was swimming, my stomach was revolting, I was having a hard time focusing, and started getting goosebumps.   Funny thinImg_0290gs was, my legs and the rest of my body were just fine.   I did another porty potty stop at 7 (and then later, about every mile), but the head just didn't feel right.

By mile 8, I was toast.  I knew I wasn't doing well.  This wasn't about not running well, this was just not feeling well.  But reasoned with myself that there was a long stretch of shade, and just walk and cool down.   And it helped, a little.  And then about the same time, I met this lady in blue (I can't remember her name now), who was like a ray of sunshine.   She was so excited to be out running - her longest run ever.  She told me how at 54 she took up Tae Kwan Do and is now a black belt.   And now at 56, she took up running and was so excited to be running this race.  She oozed so much hope, happiness, and pure joy for the sport that soon I found myself running.  Which was a wonderful pickup - but in hindsight - probably too much inspiration when in fact I should have stopped right there.

Img_0287 We made it through mile 9, 10, 11.  I was stopping at all the porty potty's but trudging along.  A highlight was at mile 9 when Nancy (for the bet of a dollar) sang some karoke "Pretty Woman" at theImg_0291  water stop. 

Back at mile 5, we had met Brian, who has a heck of a story about weight loss and perseverance.  The pic on the left is the back of his shirt.  If you can't read it, the saying is, "to accomplish great things, you must dream as well as act."  He has lost 105 pounds so far on his way to losing another hundred.  He shared some of his story with us over the miles.  With all my stop and go's, we would connect over and over through the race.  He told us he hated running, but was really excited to finish this race - his longest.  He was so focused and determined, it was hard not to get caught up in his drive.   It was through the last 3 1/2 miles, asImg_0294 we connected, that kept me going.

By mile marker 11, I knew again that pulling off would be the right thing to do.  I was feeling worse and worse and I was having a harder time focusing.  My last picture was of the 11 mile marker and after that all my energies went to just getting to the finish line.  And we did finish!  I have never been so happy to see a finish line.  Looking back, I should have stopped at the medical tent for some help, or sat down, but there were such crowds and my head wasn't thinking straight so I headed to my car.  I ran into Tom on the walk back to my car and he sat me down for a few minutes to collect myself, which helped enough to get me home.   

By the time I got home, I was in misery.  My head was pounding, I was chilled, my eyes couldn't focus, I couldn't think straight, I couldn't drink, my stomach was out of control.  I threw up anything and everything for about 8 hours before my system got back under control.  I truly don't remember being as miserable in my life during or after a run.   I don't think it was worth the 7 pounds I lost in one day. 

Img_0271 So, for my running books, this one doesn't go down as a PB/PR (Personal Best/Record) or even a PW (Personal Worst), it goes down a a PL.  A Personal Lesson.  A 'Dam' Lesson.  I learned yet another life lesson about running today.   I learned that even though I have finished all the races I started, there are some days when not finishing is the best running decision to make.  It takes more than strong legs and feet to run 12.4 miles well.  I learned that I really need to listen to myself and stop when I know I should stop.

But believe it or not, I still love this race and look forward to next year.  It is a must do race for all runners! 

A big congratulations to many friends who finished great runs, including Tom, Art, Nancy, Kent, Dennis, Dave, TRoot, Christina, Becky, Elizabeth, Kim, John, Baker, Dick, Paul, Mike - just to name a few!    And special thanks to Nancy, Tom and Art for helping me along!    


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Way to hang in there and finish. Despite all the issues you had it looked like a great day with friends! And congratulations to you from taking a lesson away from this experience. I think it is really important as a runner to know when you need to stop even though we are a stubborn bunch who never want to see a DNF ;) Regardless I learned this the hard way at last years Chicago Marathon.


Well done. If it's any consolation I hear you. It's such a hard call "in the moment" to pull out of a race. I hope you feel better and get back out there.

Andrew is getting fit

That sounds terrible. I hope you're fully recovered.

The dam bride made me chuckle.

Kent A

Sorry again about your race yesterday... Sometimes having more brains than guts is important. Hopefully a day later the stomach and legs have settled down. Good job in finishing and giving the rest of us at least one more piece of wisdom in the process.

Database Diva

Ouch! Your symptoms sound a lot like those experienced by a friend of mine at the Bataan Memorial this year. I suspect heat and hydration had something to do with it. Knowing when to quit does seem to be an issue for runners, especially because we support each other for being stupid and finishing no matter what. In your shoes, I probably would have done the same thing. I guess we all get sucked into that whole "that which does not kill us" mentality. The problem being "that which does kill us" or at least does us serious injury. I hope you are feeling better today. Please take it easy for a while. My advice is to sit around with your feet up today, while the family waits on you!


CONGRATS AMY and all the peeps :-) What a way to hang tough and finish!! AWESOME job, chica!! I hope you're feeling better now! Does anyone have any vid of Nanc singing? LOL Now that's one I want to see!

Bill Carter

Hi Amy

Congrats Amy!!! Sometimes you have one of those days where you just don't have your best stuff... and you still found a way to finish. And that is what we runners do. People like you and I and so many of the people we blog with... we are running survivors. We don't really have some God given gift that allows us to just glide along and have the miles just fly on past. We work at it and every mile takes just a little bit out of the gas tank. Apparently for whatever reason, you didn't have a full tank and you still managed to get the job done.

Congrats! Congrats! and one last time Congrats! Now give that body a break and get better.

Bob Allen

Sorry you had such a lousy run. I think those just happen sometimes. And, for me, 72° is very warm -- that's about what it was for my 10-miler yesterday.


Thanks for your well wishes! Today is much better than yesterday - I am keeping down water and even had a real dinner.

My only concern is that I have now gone two days without a Diet Coke (my goodness!), my celebratory ice cold beer is still waiting for me (that's just wrong), and I made cookies for a neighbor and didn't even want one. I think I must of melted my DNA. :}

Art Dinkin

No cookies??!!?? Amy, seriously... it is not too late to get medical attention! I figured you were fine until I read that. :)

I had no idea you were in such rough shape. When we talked on the phone after the race all you said was "I was feeling a little sick". I did not know that was just the beginning.

Rest, relax, feel better. Know that I would never have started the race (let alone finished), if it was not for YOU! You are an incredible motivator.

Care to train for the Des Moines 1/2 with me?


Oh Man, this does not sound like a fun time! A good lesson learned, though for all of us! I loved your inspiration along the way- sometimes that is all it takes...


Wow. I have to agree that we are just stubborn runners sometimes. We cling to training done and leave wisdom at home. Ugh. I feel for you. Your title of PL intrigued me. Earlier this year, my sweet hubby and I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 miler in DC. I had a PR ... that I just couldn't celebrate. I had very similar (though less so) issues through the race. My finish line pic looks d! It was most definitely NOT FUN to be running that morning! I still finished and I am glad for that. However, it still leaves me scratching my head how the celebration of a PR just never quite happened. It caused me to ponder and REDEFINE VICTORY. The Dam for you this time was defined as surviving ... finishing, yes, but really it was your surviving without keeling over. In another year, perhaps next, victory for the Dam will be different for you, and hopefully, much more positive! Recover well, Amy. To run well, we must honor recovering well. Thanks for blessing us with your experience.


Oh my goodness girl!! I am so sorry to hear that you got so sick! You were quite a warrior finishing up that race while you were feeling so lousy! I hope you recover well!!!


I'm glad you are recovering, and you have great pictures to remember the event (and maybe the lesson too :). What kind of camera do you carry? Would you blog sometime about taking pictures and recording your running moments?


Great job, Amy. If anything it looks like so much fun!! That is the most improtant at times to me anyhow. Great that you are recovering. The pictures were priceless especially the one on Nancy. HAHAHA!


Oh sister. I'm so sorry you felt so crappy. I wish I knew what it was and wish I had gotten you to the tent or your car.

Hope you are doing better now. Thanks for all your kind words and for running this one with me.


Laurel aka Lily

Congrats Amy!

So sorry to hear that you were terribly under the weather throughout the whole race. Hopefully you are feeling much better by now.

Way to go to perservere but your health comes first and I'm so glad you had so many friends and family close by!

Personal Lessons, we all have them and luckily learn from them, again, Congrats!!!

The Laminator

Nice job for finishing your race! It must have been tough. Sorry you felt so bad during the the middle of the run. But like me, you perservered. Maybe it wasn't the best decision, but really, what are we supposed to do, we're runners. When there is a finish line, we strive to get there no matter how hard or how bad we feel, sometime to the detriment of our bodies. So congrats to you for being a runner and a finisher!


Poor Amy! Your toughness points are now through the roof, if that's any consolation.


Hi Amy!
I am so sorry you had such a tough time during your race - I know that is a very hard call to make, to stop or keep going. Where do you draw the line? Like you said, you learned something out of it, which is always a good thing.
I just hope you are feeling better by now!
Amy in Belgium

San Diego LASIK eye surgery

Wow...reading this brings back bad memories of the time I did the Mud Run in San Diego. Nice job for hangin in there!


great run everyone !!


This is embarrassing but I was wondering if anyone has had this happen. this was my first long distance race, prior to the race I have heard everything from chaffing of nipples to stawberries between the legs, but nobody said anything about chaffing of my middle leg (male parts)... is this abnormal ? please, if there is anything in the future I can do to prevent this let me know...... this sucks !!


I hope that wasnt inappropriate for this sight. I just cannot find anything about this problem or a solution this problem any place...


has nobody really had this problem ? ok, well thanks anyway !!! I will figure out something... I love to run, and marathons are so much more fun than I ever imagined...

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