Still a Runner

A Blog by Mary Lou Harris

A Beautiful Day for a Marathon – but

But, not my day.

It began as a perfect day for a marathon. With temps starting in the low 40’s and clear skies, I lined up with friends for the Aspire Harrisburg Marathon. Everyone was looking forward to taking a spin on the new course, seeing fresh neighborhoods and finishing on Restaurant Row among early diners and cheering spectators.

Cruising over the bridge at Mile 2.

Cruising over the bridge at Mile 2.

The first 7-8 miles were well-paced staying around 9:30 – 9:40. At around mile 9, I took a sip of my Tailwind and soon after began feeling nausea and light in the stomach. I continued on pace, hoping it would pass, but it was not to be. It persisted with some side cramps adding to the mix.

I was holding my pace but after another couple miles, I knew it was time to take stock and make a decision to tough it out or call it a day. I had looked forward to running the new course around mile 16 – 20 through a small neighborhood and historic rural scenery along the river.


On Front St. with historic architecture backdrop.

Around mile 12, the internal discussion began.
Ego was firm. “You can do this. We’ve finished marathons through nor’easters, waves pummeling over breakfronts, 80 degree heat on asphalt roads. You’ve never dropped from a race of any distance for any reason. Why now?”
Body said “I’m really not looking forward to another 14 miles of this. Give me a break.”
Mind piped in: “Rationally, this is the time to run the new section of the course while it is safe and closed to traffic.”
Then Spirit spoke with a louder than usual authoritative voice: “We’re only doing the new section if Ego goes to sleep. Body is hurting and must have consideration. If we continue to the new section, we walk so body is comfortable.”

OK, so team decision, we walked miles 16 – 20 with Ego only once or twice trying to pump back up to a run but quickly brought into line. We walked past Fort Hunter, past homes in the Village of Hekton, and saw both again on a fast walk back to the turn into city neighborhoods.

At mile 19.75 having run and walked 3 hours, 30 minutes and 32 seconds, we completed the new section. We then left the course, diverting to the McDonald’s parking lot and my husband’s waiting car.

A ginger ale with ice followed  by a hot shower did wonders. I felt much better although still slightly nauseous. I have a body that is thankful, an ego that is quietly grumbling and ready for the next race, and a spirit that is thankful I’ve learned to listen.


  Andy O’Donnell wrote @

You’re one tough lady Mary Lou. Rest and move forward.

  Still a Runner wrote @

Thanks, Andy. My thoughts exactly – rest and move forward.

  momof3 wrote @

it is so hard to keep Ego at bay–thanks for sharing your inner dialogue and the excellent compromise.

  Still a Runner wrote @

You are welcome. Hoping I won’t need to make that compromise anytime soon.

  janerunswild wrote @

You should be proud that you attempted the marathon! There will be other chances, other races. It is impressive that you stuck with it for so long, and have a good attitude about the end result. Thank you for this post!

  Still a Runner wrote @

I’m not sure it was a feeling of pride – more one of practicality. Just one of those fluky days. You’re right – there will be other races, a very good reason to let this one go by the wayside.

  Mind Margins wrote @

Oh well. It happens. It’s not fun, but sometimes the body can only get us so far! Keep a good attitude about it and live to run another day!

  Still a Runner wrote @

Thanks, and I totally agree with you in thought and intent.

  Cordell Affeldt wrote @

Delightfully told tale. After the battle was over, Mary Lou won. So glad you’re ready to go again.

  Still a Runner wrote @

Thanks, Cordell. And I am looking for (and forward to) the next race.

  Patrick wrote @

Cheers to You Mary Lou!!!

  Still a Runner wrote @

Thanks, Patrick. I know you toughed through your first marathon this fall. Congrats to you.

  Mother Hen wrote @

When you are raring to go, I am sure it must be hard to put it in reverse.. Take care!

  Still a Runner wrote @

More difficult mentally than physically, but I’ll be at the start line another day. Good to hear from you.

  Just a Running Chick wrote @

I’m sorry it seemed disappointing. I don’t think I could ever do a marathon – every time I try to increase I get all these aches and pains. I still think you’re awesome!

  Still a Runner wrote @

We’re rather opposites. Distance running feels better to me than just a few miles. I really don’t know why. If you’re happy with your distance, not to worry. If not, have you explored when & why the pain occurs? Thanks for stopping by.

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