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 had 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.
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 things 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.
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 the 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, as 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.
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!