Today was awesome - and not awesome. It was definitely emotional. I spent the night at Mom's, close to the race.
Because I've been sick and really wanted a good night sleep, I made the mistake of buying some cold and cough medicine I'd never tried before yesterday and I took my first dose ever last night. It will be my last one. I am allergic to Nyquil and I am apparently allergic to this, too. I had hives and my pulse and blood pressure were very high. I could not sleep all night. I had the itches, the scratches, my heart pounding in my ears, diarrhea and my diastolic pressure was 107-120 for most of the night. (That's the number on the BOTTOM.) I was afraid to awaken Mom because Dad died of anaphylactic shock due to allergic reactions to medicine. He woke her up one night, said she'd better call 911 and died before she was even off the phone. So I felt stupid and full of dread. I kept the Epipen ready, but it makes my heart race even more, so I did not plan to use it unless I came down too low.
And I wondered: WHY do people ever want to be on uppers? I just don't get it. Yes, my mind was racing. No, it wasn't a bit of fun.
At 5:30 I had breakfast and tried to calm down with Tim Noakes' book Lore of Running, which is really incredible if you are into the physiology of the sport, although I don't agree with his stance on carbo loading. (He is for it.) By then I was coming down a little.
By 7:30 I was a little woozy feeling from lack of sleep, but it was time to go. My husband was going to drive up from our house and meet me there. I got lost on the way to the park. I ended up in a park that almost looked right. There were about 30 people stretching in the grass, but - funny - they were mostly doing the same stretches, and that didn't seem right for runners, who are individualistic sorts. I drove by really slowly, staring out my window. They stared back. Then I saw the park name. Skinner Butte. I didn't think my butt was skinny enough yet for me to stay there so I turned around and headed back the other direction. I was still apparently driving very slowly and got honked at several times. I couldn't decide on several occasions whether to turn left or right.
But I got there. I had preregistered and so they had my name and race number. I almost cried when I saw it.
Number 9. My dad called me Nine. It was my nickname my whole life. I may have felt like garbage, but I knew I was supposed to be there. They were expecting 140 people and I got to be number 9. I didn't know whether to cry or start laughing.
My husband showed up and promised again that he wouldn't go to meet me at the half way point. It was a GOOD THING, too, and not just so he wouldn't embarrass me. This was a race to benefit a suicide prevention awareness group and two families who had lost young men this year to suicide had quite a few runners and walkers participating. This morning the pregnant widow of one of the men who committed suicide went to the hospital with contractions. They sent her away, saying she still had a little time yet... so she called the person hosting the race and said she was bringing a nurse and she was going to do it.
I am not lying.
So they altered the course THAT MORNING so no one had to go on the other side of the highway. Instead, we went on Pre's trail for part of the trip. It was NOT on the original plans, but it was great. There were a few hills, but it was bark lined and shaded. There was, of course the symbolism and the wonderfulness. How could you not feel grand running past Autzen stadium, the home of TrackTown USA, while running on the trail founded by Steve Prefontaine, himself?
If my husband had brought his bike and biked to the other side of the highway, he would have been waiting there for a long time... no doubt fearing the worst, considering my medical history.
The person who redrew the race said it was almost 3 miles. We are not sure exactly how much. No one's pedometers and foot pods read exactly the same. I ran/walked it in 35.26 minutes. Lately, on a good day I have been doing about 3.11 miles in 39 minutes. I figure 2.9 is about the right mileage based on my time, the speed I feel I was running, Runnersworld.com's pace calculator, and how much it looked like was cut off the original route when I looked at an aerial map. However, people reported mileage from 2.7 to 3.5 miles. So that tells you how accurate pedometers are. People set them once based on how they walk alone and then they walk completely differently with other people. I got my own foot pod yesterday FedEx, but didn't have time to program it.
Either way, I felt like I was doing a 13 minute mile... and that's about what it looked like according to where I placed. There were about 20 people very far ahead of me, people who were obviously much fitter, who had trained longer, people who were doing 7 minute miles. One woman came in ten minutes ahead of everyone else and no one even saw her but my husband because no one even expected her to come in. She was super fit - had six pack abs - and we were surprised she wasn't running the half marathon that was also scheduled for today. She ended up with her picture in the newspaper, along with pictures of some family members.
There were also at least 100 people very far behind me, although to be fair, only about 20 of them were runners. (The newspaper reported about 50 runners total. They were being generous and including the people who ran when they saw the finish line. The race management crew gave out 147 numbers, I believe.) One man in his late 70s probably ran the whole way. Very slowly, but he never stopped. We talked a couple times. I eventually passed him for good, but when he came across the finish line, I started up a big hoot and hollar for him. He was the next person behind me, about 21st. They didn't keep track of our places or give out any age prizes. But I thought he deserved at least recognition for his steady effort.
The pregnant woman was NOT last. She came in about an hour later, in a small group. We roared with applause for her. We whoop whooped. We jumped up and down. We embarrassed the daylights out of her. We loved her up. I had tears in my eyes and I didn't care who saw. She is my new heroine. Some of her family whisked her away a little afterwards.
I don't even CARE that this wasn't a regulation race, although maybe one or two of the faster runners might have. I am so inspired by the thought that people would redraw a race for this woman and that she would complete the entire course, 3.11 miles or not.
When I got to Mom's, she took David and me out to lunch. David bought me a pair of Nike Flex shoes that I adore. I love the pair I already have - the only pair of shoes I have ever worn that have never pinched or rubbed my huge honkers. And they are so light! So I got pampered a little bit, as if I had run a half marathon or somehow done something awesome!
And then I relaxed before napping and read the Sunday paper... and found out in the Sunday paper in Oregon that the mother of a friend in Virginia died in a rather horrific plane crash. Complete with firey photo.
So today was a day of thinking about people who died and shouldn't have. Not Garrett Big Guy Brandt, whose widow finished the race today. Not my father. Not my friend's mother. All of these people died suddenly, unexpectedly, and none of us saw it coming. What can we do about it? We can honor their memories and do the best we can to love and care for the families that remain behind. We can take care of ourselves as well as we can, vowing to be healthy for ourselves and for our families.
I made a little collage. I could have just posted me coming across the finish line, but since I am all by myself, it looks kind of staged... like SURE she didn't just show up all by herself and pretend she did a race! Up in the left hand corner is the father of the soon-to-be-born (tonight?) baby. I promised a week or two ago that I would keep running until I caught Bigfoot. In the lower hand corner is Bigfoot, sneaking off before I could catch up to him. I guess I will have to keep on running.
And a close up of me trying to sneak onto the moonbounce:
I was going to go farther in, but it started to sag, so I backed up and my husband caught me with a silly grin. I am glad I didn't go any farther. I coaxed two very small children in a few minutes after this picture was snapped and it collapsed on them. I would have been mortified if I had caused the collapse!