(By the way, the weather sucked, too! It was 60-ish degrees with winds up to 70 kilometers per hour (about 47 mph) with rain off and on. Since we were running in the heart of Tokyo, the winds were even stronger. The skyscrapers that lined the streets caught the wind and forced it down on us as we were running. At certain times, it was like running in a wind tunnel.)
So, Saturday afternoon (the day before the marathon) I started my period. I know most of you don't want to hear about this, but it became a vital reason for my poor marathon performance. So, I had menstrual cramps, fatigue, bloating, the whole nine yards on Saturday. I was hoping my cycle would be late or interrupted because of the training, but that wasn't the case. It came on as it should have and with a vengeance. I wasn't sure how to remedy the situation. But, I figured I would just run as usual and use a tampon. I couldn't see wearing a maxi-pad for 26.2 miles...thoughts of diaper rash came to mind!
I woke up Sunday morning tired, bloated, cramping and plugged up with a tampon. I was worried about the little hanging tampon string. (In case you are an ignorant man, tampons have strings at the end, so you can pull them out of your kooter.) I was worried the string would bother me as I ran 26.2 miles. Husband thought I should cut the string off, and then have him go fishing for the tampon at the end of the race. In my mind, I pictured myself spread Eagle lying on the bed with Husband coming at me with tweezers...it wasn't a pleasant visual, so I decided NOT to go with his plan. Instead, I thought I would just put lots of Vaseline down there in hopes of being lubed up; thus, the string wouldn't cause any chafing. Well, apparently I didn't put enough Vaseline!
Kilometers 1-27 went great. We (Me, Cole, and Em) were on target for a 4:40 marathon. Our pace was perfect, and we were feeling great, except for my occasional cramping and lower back menstrual pain. My legs were great. My breathing was great. My hips were great. Every part of me that was trained was great. However, my menstrual cramps were bad! At the 27th kilometer, I started to have cramps so bad that they stopped me in my tracks. I couldn't run and endure the stabbing pain in my pelvis, lower back and groin. But, as soon as I started to walk, my kooter started to sting and burn. I rearranged my shorts, and oh Jesus...my girlie parts were on fire. The string from the tampon had been rubbing my private parts raw, and I didn't feel it until I started to walk. When I shifted my shorts, my salty sweat must have got into my girlie parts causing them to sting. Once I realized what had happened, I was mad. I was demoralized. I had lost my friends in the crowd when I started walking. I was all alone in a sea of Japanese runners with a kooter on fire and menstrual cramps from hell. At my worst moment, the wind blew sideways rain into my eyes. I had to hold on to my hat to keep it from flying off. I was even moved mid-stride by several gusts of wind. I was being beat down internally and externally.
As my girlie parts stung and burned, in my mind I kept singing Ring of Fire by Johnny Cash... Burn, burn, burn, that burnin' ring of fire...My kooter was chafed and stinging, my back hurt, and I had horrible menstrual cramps--the kind that make you want to lay down in the fetal position and die. I had considered taking Motrin before the race, but I was afraid the Motrin might upset my stomach--so I never took any. At one point, I wanted to stop running and die. I wasn't prepared for that type of pain--it was worse than giving birth...seriously! My menstrual cramps were so intense I couldn't run for several minutes. I walked until the cramp passed. I walked/ran for 30 miserable, horrible, demoralizing minutes. Runners were passing me, it was raining, the wind was blowing almost 70 kilometers per hour, and my kooter was on fire. It sucked!
After 30 minutes, the cramps lessened, and I could run again. However, with each step or bounce, my girlie parts burned. The sweat, blood, and tampon rope were creating a nasty, burning problem. For all you men out there, I can equate the pain with having rope burn on your testicles and trying to run 26.2 miles like that. It was awful!
I ran hunched back, with my head down to protect my face from the wind and sideways rain. The last 2 kilometers were the longest of my life. I wanted to quit and give up, but I knew I couldn't. I shuffled my way to the finish line with my vagina on fire. When I crossed the finish line, I was so happy to be done. I was so pissed off at the situation that I didn't even bother to look at my finishing time. I think it was 5 hours and 9 minutes, but I'm not sure. And, they haven't posted the results, yet.
But, all I know is that the Tokyo Marathon kicked my ass and burned my kooter! I'm upset about it because I didn't finish at my goal time. I'm disappointed that my body let me down. I'm disappointed that I didn't achieve my goal. I'm just pissed off that I have a uterus, and it decided to shed its lining while I was trying to run 26.2 fucking miles. I'm pissed off I have a useless female reproductive system that I never plan to use again. I'm pissed off I'm a woman! It's totally unfair!
However, there are several good things I can smile about. I had a PR (personal record), Husband had a PR, my genitals are no longer on fire, I'm not injured, Cole and Em completed their first marathon, and no one I know died.
I want a re-do. Since I feel like I didn't meet my goal, I'm planning to run the 2010 Tokyo Marathon. I won't stop until I reach my goal...a 4:30 marathon. Call me crazy, neurotic, or just plain stupid, but, most of all, I'm just determined to reach my goal.
So, it's over now. Tokyo Marathon 2009 is now in the past. I'm not going to dwell on my short comings. I'm not going to dwell on the fact that I failed. I'm going to learn from what happened, and plan and train accordingly. I'm going to train harder and run even better next time. I AM going to meet my goal, no matter what.