Monday, September 12, 2011

2011 Dick Beardsley Half Marathon

The night before the race Erin and I were out babysitting rather late. When we got home I set the alarm clock for a few hours later and we got what sleep we could. After the alarm clock went off Erin and I feel into the usual routine of getting ready for a race.  Checking the weather, finding my favorite clothes to run in, putting together a bag of stuff for after the race, deciding if I want the hydration pack or just the hand held bottle. After getting my stuff together we headed over to pick up Heather who was riding down with us to Detroit Lakes for the race.

We were one of the first few people at the park that morning, which seemed to suit us just fine.  We picked up our packets and had some time to relax and talk to other runners that we knew.  Eventually we headed back to the car to drop of our stuff and make our way to the starting line. I had forgotten to bring a hat to keep the sun out of my eyes but Erin was able to pick up a cheap one for me just a short distance from where the starting line was.

When the race started Heather quickly raced off.  I wasn't planning on going for a PR so I was a bit more relaxed as I began.  I was primarily looking at my heart rate data instead of looking at pace.  I wanted to ease into things and save something for the finish.  The first 2 miles passed quickly, by keeping a close eye on my heart rate I was able to slow down a bit on the hills in the first section of the course and keep my effort fairly even. When I passed Erin at mile 2 I remarked that it was already hot and it was going to be an ugly day.

After I passed Erin I noticed my heart rate climbing a bit faster then I would have liked and made an effort to slow down and keep it under control.  The trees on this side of the lake were still providing a little shade and I tried to make the most of it. I was trying to drink plenty of water and Gatorade  when it was available at the aid stations. When I reached the halfway point I ate the honey stinger waffle I had with me and hoped it would be enough to get me to the finish. I had also forgotten to bring endurolytes with and probably could have used then at the point in the race.

After the halfway point the race started to go poorly.  My heart rate was higher then I liked and it didn't come down much when I walked.  I was feeling uncomfortably warm and just not having a very good time.  As the miles pasted the walk breaks became longer and the running periods got shorter.  With a little over a mile left to go Connie caught up to me.  It was great being able to talk with her.  After running for a bit I said that I wanted to walk for a while but Connie was having none of that.  She insisted that we keep running, but we could go as slow as I wanted.  I reluctantly agreed and we kept running.  Eventually rounded the last turn and I saw another runner I knew up ahead.  I told Connie I was going to try to catch this runner and finish strong. As I took off I could hear Connie cheering for me as if I was in contention to win the race.  I ran as hard as I could and passed the person I was aiming for within 30 feet of the finish line.  After crossing the finish line I began to pay for that last burst of speed.  I felt crappy, my heart was pounding and I was gasping for breath.  I collected my medal and found a spot on the grass to sit down.  After a minute or so I was still feeling awful, but I wanted to find Connie and thank her for the mental boost she was able to give me at the end.  I staggered back to my feet, found Connie and gave her a hug.  Shortly after that Erin and the rest of the gang found me and asked about the race.  I told them it how badly things had gone and asked about getting some ice cream.

When we got to where the line for ice cream was Nicky, Amber and Talon said they would head over to Zorbaz and find some seats while we picked up ice cream.  Once I had picked up the ice cream I plopped down on the grass again to eat it and to give my heart rate a chance to go down.  Erin said that I should just eat it on the way and she didn't want to keep the rest of the group waiting.  I still felt crappy but I complied headed off to Zorbaz.  When we arrived it took a little while to find out group.  I found a bar stool to perch on while Erin wandered in search of our party.  Mike Almquist saw Heather and I and chatted with us for a bit until Erin came back to get us.  After we sat down at our table my heart rate finally dropped out of the "working hard" range.  Erin went and ordered for us and came back with some cups for our drinks.  She asked what I wanted but I thought I should get up and get it myself to keep moving and not let things tighten up so bad.  When I stood up I felt light headed and got tunnel vision briefly. As we waited for our food I started feeling even worse.  I couldn't seem to get comfortable in the chair and felt increasingly nauseous. When our pizza finally arrived I felt so bad that I needed to head outside the restaurant.  I found a place to sit on the ground a little ways down the street from Zorbaz and let my head spin for a while.  Erin came out and found me a few minutes later.  She suggested that I not sit in the sun and we crossed the street to find some shade.  The little bit of a breeze that had kicked up felt good.  I lay down on my back and told Erin about how I felt. After a few minutes I got up and headed back into Zorbaz with her.  I ate a piece of pizza and drank a little pop before I told her I needed to head back outside again.  After laying down for about 10 minutes I heard some familiar voices behind me.  Ken and Monica were outside the restaurant chatting with some people.  I felt good enough to walk over and talk with them for a bit before Erin came up to look for me again.  We talked with Ken and Monica for a bit longer before I decided that my stomach had settled enough to try food again. This time I was able to eat more normally. Color had returned to my face and the people we were sitting with remarked how much better I looked.

On the drive back to Fargo I sat in the back seat.  I had trouble finding a comfortable position and felt like my body temperature couldn't find an equilibrium.  I constantly shifted from too cold to to warm. When we got home I jumped in the shower and that seemed to help things a bit.  After that I headed downstairs to watch TV for a bit and try to relax.  Later in the day I showed Erin how my legs were twitching on there own. The next day I felt almost normal, just a bit on the weak side.  Since it was the NFLs opening weekend I figured I'd take a rest day and I spent most of the day watching football.  It will be interesting to see how my body responds tomorrow when I get back out and try to run again.

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