OK, here goes. Very long race report ahead. You might want to go get a snack to enjoy while you read this one:
First of all - last night. The YMCA Country Music Kids Marathon. Carter had run 25 miles one at a time in the last couple of months and the final mile was at LP (Titans) Field. We (actually just me, he really didn't care too much) were hoping to get low 8 minute. We had run an 8:33 during our 5K so I thought if we pushed it for just one mile, we could get the low 8. I secretly had a hope of breaking 8 but I didn't want to push it. We lined up at the starting line at 6:30 when the 2nd grade boys were supposed to. There were 15 boys from Carter's school. They started us and 14 of the boys took off in full sprint. I knew we had to pace ourselves and not burn out too quick so we hung back. We had a good pace and I did have to really encourage Carter to keep up. He said he was fine but I could tell we were going pretty fast b/c he was having a little bit of trouble keeping up. He asked me to slow down at one point. We ended up passing all but 3 of the boys at his school. They all ran great and I saw some future Cross Country runners for my team. When we turned the corner and saw the finish line, I told Carter to sprint but he didn't have much left. To his credit, he was giving it everything he had and he ran a great race. I stopped my watch as we crossed the line. 7:25. Wow. We busted all hopes and were way under where I thought we'd be. I was so proud of Carter and he was certainly proud of the time. It was a great night and a very fun event.
Ok, now to today. My first half marathon in a year and a half. I wanted so much to break my PR of 1:34:44. That was my goal. It was one of my year goals as well. I woke up at 4AM, showered, ate breakfast (bagel, peanut butter, banana, water). I headed to LP field at 4:45. I got there a little after 5 and sat in my car debating. Do I take the Ipod or not? There was a storm on its way. They had already made the call that they weren't going to allow any marathoners to go past 4:30. If they weren't on 4:30 pace at mile 11.2, they would divert them to the 1/2 marathon course. I really didn't want to lose another Ipod, so I decided to go without. I never got rained on. I could've run with it. Not sure if it would have made a difference in my time.
I got in line to get on the shuttle bus to the start line. All of the sudden there was a tap on my shoulder. My sister. My older sister Allison was going to run/walk the 1/2 marathon as well. Her first. I had just been thinking in my car how cool it would be to see her but thought the chances were slim at best. But she found me and I'm so glad she did. We rode the bus together, and spent the next hour+ talking before the race. It really helped pass the time and I enjoyed being with her for a while. By the way, she ended up finishing strong and had a great first 1/2. Congrats Allison! When we were in line for the port-a-johns around 6:15, we heard the announcement that the race was going to start at 6:45 instead of 7. They were really trying to get everyone done before this storm. By the way, as I'm typing this, it's storming pretty bad. Hope everyone's done.
I went right to my corral and stretched really well. I saw Ryan from church. He would end up getting 5th in the whole thing. Congrats to Ryan as well. I was a little worried when the race was starting in 5 min. and the 1:30 pacer, Greg, was nowhere to be seen. I finally saw him hurrying to our corral with just a few minutes to spare. It was my plan to try and stay with him as long as I could. I would've loved to stay with him the whole time and get 1:30 but I didn't know if I could do it. I couldn't.
We started right at 6:45. I stayed with Greg really well at the start. We were hitting our 6:50's right on. I was still with him at the 5K where we were right over 21 min. Around mile 5, he started to get a little bit ahead of me, but I wasn't worried yet. The pace was good and I still knew that I didn't have to stay with him the whole time, just as long as I could. Right after mile 5, I saw my wife and boys. Always my favorite part of the race. I gave them 5 and enjoyed their smiles. Susan tried to take a picture of me. It was decent. Todd also took a picture. He's a friend from church and I know he'll read this so just wanted to give him a shout out. Miles 6-9 were tough. Greg was getting further and further away. I knew I had lost beating 1:30 which was fine but I was starting to doubt getting a PR. At mile 10, I started thinking what I would have to get on the last 3 miles to PR. I was going to have to run close to 7:30 min. miles to do it which was going to be tough. I was really slowing down. I don't know what it was. It was very humid. It wasn't super hot, but hot enough where I was sweating a lot. Also, my feet were starting to hurt and I could tell I was getting blisters. Not sure why. Haven't had any in a long time. I think my feet were just really hot. At mile 11, I started feeling pretty bad. Not nauseous, just light headed. I decided during mile 11 that I was going to visit the medical tent when I got to the finish line. If nothing else, to attend to the blisters that I knew I had. Free medical help - why not? Then it went from bad to much much worse.
At mile 12, I could tell I was in trouble. I was still running a good pace, but I was feeling very weird. I've never passed out before, but I'm 98% sure that I was very close to doing so. I could hear people cheering but it was hard to make them out. My vision was different. I was just hoping and praying that I wasn't going to pass out. I knew I was close so that was motivation to keep my pace but I was not feeling good at all. Now I know mile 12 was only a mile but I promise it seemed like 3. It seemed so long. I finally got near the finish line. I tried to speed up, but I honestly couldn't. I felt like I would fall if I did. I barely remember crossing the finish line. I had sense enough to stop my watch and look down. 1:33:06. I beat my PR by 1 minute 38 seconds. But I had no sooner looked at my watch then I was pulled to the side.
The medical people grabbed me. I later asked and they said they could tell I was close to passing out. They said I was extremely pale, I was walking funny, and my eyes were glazed over. They took me to a cot that was right by the finish line and had me lay down. They started asking me questions and I stayed conscious the whole time even though I felt terrible. I could barely move. What's weird is, I was talking a lot. I'm kindof a quiet guy but for some reason, I wanted to keep talking. I started asking them questions. I said some weird things also. I told them I was sorry for taking their time. Also, I thought one of the helpers was one of my former students so I called her "Leah". She looked at me kindof funny and said "I have no idea what you're talking about." I would later apologize and tell her that she looked just like a former student. She really did. I know a lot of what I said was just babbling, but I don't remember everything. They had me eat 2 packs of salt. They took blood to check my blood sugar. They looked at my feet which were indeed blistered. They propped up my feet. I lost all feeling in my hands which scared me. They told me to keep making fists with my hands. I ended up staying on that cot for about 15-20 minutes. I finally started feeling better and slowly sat up. When I finally stood up for the first time, I almost fell back over. I was still a little dizzy. They had me sit down again and I just watched them in action for a while. It was incredible watching so many people get medical treatment. I saw people passed out, vomiting, crying. It was a hectic place. I flagged down one of the guys who wasn't busy and asked who was in charge. He told me Matt. I found Matt and thanked him. The medical staff really did do an amazing job and made me feel so much better. They were so nice to me even though I was a babbling idiot. Matt seemed genuinely grateful for my thanks.
I was feeling close to normal again so I decided to leave. I walked through the finish chute and got my medal. I was still feeling a little weird so I walked pretty slowly. I got to the food section which was Heaven. I needed food. I ate a lot but it all tasted so good. I sat down on the curb and ate and watched people. I ran into another friend an we talked for a while. I finally left the finish section and very slowly walked to my car.
It was a weird day. I'm very happy with my time. My goal was to PR and I did. I don't know what happened to me or why I almost went down. It was just a very weird feeling. From miles 9-13 I swore off half marathons. I couldn't imagine ever running one again but of course now that I'm feeling better, I can start imagining it again. I would love to break 1:30 but I just don't know if I could. Maybe if the weather was a lot cooler and it was a slightly easier course. Maybe. Nashville's course is pretty hilly. We'll see what the future holds. For now, I'm looking toward a 5K on Memorial Day and my 2 marathons in the Fall/Winter.
I know this was long and I apologize but a lot has happened in the last 24 hours. It's been incredible. Not always great, but certainly incredible. Thanks for reading. You know, there were a couple of times today when I thought about walking. I can't help that thought when I'm hurting. But I'm proud to say I didn't. I stuck to my signoff and I encourage you to....
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