Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Pacers Did It All For The Nookie

I remember when Dorcas first asked us BRA members for some assistance in pacing for the St Pete Women's Half Marathon. I walked away...nope...I ran away from her fast. You see I have problems pacing myself so how could I be responsible for pacing a bunch of women during a race. I manage to piss off a few women in my life on my own and didn't need to add dozens more with some whacked out pacing mess. A man sometimes has to realize his limitations but I also have a problem with that as well.

As time went by, I decided to give that pacing thing a try. I was going to pace the 2:00 hour group. I could do this. I also got a little nudge from C-Steve who had already signed up for the 2:00 group. Plus Dorcas has done so much for me and my fellow BRA'ers that I felt I owed it to her to give back to HER race and what guy doesn't want to be chased by a group of beautiful women.

C-Steve was glad I was doing it. C-Steve was very nervous about not being able to do it. He was so concerned about being too fast or too slow and having to catch up. I told him to relax. WE GOT THIS. We were supposed to practice pacing but never did. Or at least I didn't. I am currently training for the ING Miami Marathon and have been running faster than pace. There again...pacing issues. C-Steve is also training for the same race. We both have training plans but figured this one race would not hurt our plans. And I for one get more from helping others on their runs/races than I do mine. I have plenty of medals just sitting in a box.

C-Steve and I rode together to the race. Want to guess who drove. C-Steve was quite the chatter box on the way over. He was planning out our pacing strategy. I was telling him all was going to be fine. Just relax. WE GOT THIS. Plus I wouldn't wear a kilt for nothing.

We made our way to corral number two. C-Steve was already holding his 2:00 pace stick high in the air. I had shaved my head the night before and had Dorcas write 1:59 on the back of my head with a black marker. I told the women in our group that if you don't see the sign just keep looking for the back of my head.

Before the race started we gave our pace group a little pep talk. We told them we were all in this together. We did our best to explain the whole pacing concept. I also told them that at mile eleven I will pick up my pace by 30 seconds to a minute in order to finish under the two hour pace. We both told them to stick with us and they would definitely finish at two hours or better. Lots of smiles, cheers and positive looks on their faces.

We were able to start our group pretty close to the start line. We crossed the timing mat about 19 seconds after the start. We should be able to hold the pace from the get go. C-Steve and I were both wearing a Garmin, a regular watch and a pacing chart that C-Steve had made. The pacing chart proved to be the most reliable piece of equipment we used.

The first few miles were very good. The women were talkative and responsive to shout outs. There were times when I had to interpret for C-Steve. We were running on a brick street and he was saying watch your ankles. The women moved to the left side of the road just before the turn. He said it again and a few women yelled out, "but there are no turns for a while." I said he said ankles not angles.

At about mile 5 I really had to go to the bathroom. I told the group that I was going to run ahead to the porta potty. Do not follow my pace. I ran ahead and heard some of the women that got ahead earlier say to me as I passed, "I thought you were going to wait til mile 11 to speed up." I just going to potty. I finished just as the group was going by wit C-Steve and the group calling me out. Still on pace.

The course had us run out towards the St Pete Pier. This was into the wind. And for some reason the heat started to make an appearance. I told C-Steve to drop back and bring some of the stragglers up to us. We both switched doing this. I then noticed that we were losing more runners. I double checked our pace as we passed a clock at mile 8. We were about 20 seconds off. I picked it up just a little coming off the pier. At mile nine we were right on target.

Our group had shrunk and were not as lively as they were at mile four. The heat and pace was beginning to take a toll. We were on pace and had to realize that we were doing what we were supposed to do. At mile 10 I dropped back to bring a few runners back up. One of them was a fellow BRA'er who was doing her first half marathon. She was looking strong but started to fall back a little. She was with a group of about ten. I told them all that we could not let the 2:00 sign get any further from us. We needed to pick it up just a little. We managed to do that just before the mile eleven mark.

I looked back at the fellow BRA'er and told her this is the spot where I am going to take off. She nodded. I pointed to the back of my head and picked up the pace. C-Steve announced that 1:59 was taking off. The course had us run inside Tropicana Field. The Garmin still worked inside the dome.

I picked it up from 9:06 minute miles to 8:00 miles. I looked back and had a few women coming with me. A few said we must stay with 1:59. I then caught one of the RunningSkirts women and she said, "great. The 2 hour group caught me." I told her that I ran ahead and she is still under 2 hours.

As I was inside the last mile, I looked back and noticed that two of the women that spoke to me before the race about PR's had dropped back. I stopped and waited for them. I was not there to run for me. Once they caught back up, I paced them to the last turn which is when you can see the finish line. There was this one lady that kept yelling at me, "WHERE IS THE FINISH LINE?" I just said keep running. You are almost there which is a term I hate to hear because it usually doesn't mean you are almost there. Almost for who?

I again looked back and did not see the BRA'er. I ran back to the last turn to wait. C-Steve came by and brought the group that was with him in at 1:59:48 or so. I spotted the BRA'er and yelled for her to pick it up. I think she said she was going to die. I said you can die at the finish line. I ran her in to a 2:00:40ish finish time. I have now been recruited to pace her to a 1:55 finish at the Brandon Half on 12/4. I have 18 miles to do that day as part of my plan. It ain't about me. I have 5 to do after getting her to her 13 I supppose.

In retrospect, this was one of my favorite races so far that I didn't race. I had a job to do that was not for me. I was there to get people to a place where they wanted to be and needed me to get them there. I remember a woman who came up to me and C-Steve after the race saying that she didn't beat 2 hours but this was her best race ever. Ask C-Steve about his non-Christian hug.

Many thanks to the other BRA'ers that paced. Josh, Steve, Tom, Elton, Chris and Jeff. I encourage anyone to be a pacer to experience that feeling. It's easy to say you are going to give back but it means a hell of a lot when you actually do. You can't run it for them but you can run it with them. C-Steve and I have already booked our spot for next year.

Thanks again Dorcas for the invite.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Saturday...A Motivation For The Oldest

My oldest and I signed up to volunteer on Saturday morning at the bib/registration table.

My oldest had signed up to run the half as her first half. The previous week she had some heart issues on two occasions. One of those resulted in a minor seizure and a brief passing out episode. This caused her to be taken to the Cardiologist. He gave her a heart monitor to wear for 30 days. The monitor continuously records data and if she has any episodes, she has to push a button which will send the data to an off-site for up to date analyzing. I asked the doctor if I could get one. Shoot, two daughters. One that is 18 and reminds me everyday and the other that thinks she is already 18. I would be holding the damn button down 24/7.

Needless to say the oldest decided not to run the race because she wasn't sure how she would do having to wear the monitor. She still wanted to volunteer. She said it was the right thing to do. It wasn't Dorcas' fault she wasn't doing the race.

We were assigned the 7000 numbered bibs. This was for corral 7. It seems you were assigned a corral based on your predicted finishing time. And the 7000's were also late registrants. This was the first time that I worked a volunteer outing with my oldest. I would have to say I am very proud of her and told her exactly that. She was very encouraging to the women who had the attitude that they weren't sure they could do the race. "You can do it. This is why you are here. My daddy is pacing if you want some help. I think he is wearing a skirt to. And about the skirt. I know you have been out of the house but do we need to talk?"

Earlier in the year I volunteered at a Gasparilla sign up table. This time seemed more meaningful since I was with the oldest one. I was able to see how she reacted with people. She sure is a lot nicer than I am used to. I also got a great feeling of encouraging those that were doubting themselves before they even got to the starting line. Don't say "If I finish. Say, "when I finish."

During our assignment, the Co-Race Director came up to me and introduced himself. He then asked me if I was going to wear a skirt tomorrow. I said so the word has spread already. He said he saw me at the expo yesterday wearing it. I told him I had planned on it unless he did not want me to. This is his race and I did not want to be a distraction. He told me the pacers and men are encouraged to wear skirts. I said that was all I needed to hear. I just happen to look over my shoulder and see the oldest shaking her head no to him. I told her too late he already said it was okay.

After our assignment was over, the oldest and I walked to the expo. I had bought the oldest a book last year written by Kathrine Switzer and I knew she was going to be at the expo so I had the oldest bring the book. The oldest is not a reader and I reminded her to dust the book over before getting it signed. Ms. Switzer surprised me. She was more personable than I expected. She was not just sitting at a table signing a book and then off to the next book. She stood there and talked to the oldest for over 5 minutes. The oldest told her about her heart condition and Ms. Switzer was so encouraging about not letting minor setbacks get in the way of your goals. The oldest actually looked like she was listening. She then signed her book and also wrote a personal message. I then took their picture. I started to walk away when Ms. Switzer asked if she could give me a hug. I said sure. She then gave me a hug and told me she was happy for what I am doing regarding the oldest. Ms. Switzer had two new fans.

We then went in to the expo and said hello to Dorcas. I then stopped by the Runningskirts.com booth and said hello to the ladies. I then saw a guy from Fit2run buying a skirt for the race. Hey what is that all about. I was then told that he was not the only one. There was another guy walking around from another booth wearing one of their skirts. Great. A trend setter of getting guys to wear skirts. Super.

Sunday...It's a Kilt Darnit.

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's A Little Breezy Down There...

Have you ever had a weekend where everything you do just seems to go right? Where all just seems to fall in to place. Not from what you do alone for yourself but for what you do for others. I just had that weekend. Three days of it. I shall take you there but I must backtrack just a little.

I am a member of the Brandon Running Association which is a running club based out of Brandon, Florida. Check us out at brandonrunning.com or Brandon Running Association on Facebook. We have members from all walks of life and abilities. I must admit there are members that I don't know much about.

One of our members, Dorcas, works for Women's Running magazine. She came to us as a group over a month ago asking for volunteers and pacers for the half marathon. I initially blew her off so to speak because I did not want to commit to being a pacer when I wasn't sure what I would be doing on race day. Plus C-Steve had volunteered for the 2:00 hour spot and I figured he could handle it.

As time went by, I decided I wanted to be a pacer. I figured this could be fun and why not run with uhm 6,000 women. I talked with C-Steve and he told me he could use the help. I am not one to rely on for proper pacing. I DO NOT have pacing down but I shall give it my best. I have helped other BRA members on their long runs before and this is all it would be. Just help some ladies get to their goal.

Friday. I got off work and volunteered for the Pacer table at the Women's Half Expo. This is where I could help the ladies figure out what their goal was. Encourage them to get with a group that was just beyond their limit. I would get asked what this pacing thing was all about. "How fast do you want to go?" Convince them to stop saying "I can't" and start saying "I WILL." I converted a lot of women that day.

Some of you know that for some reason I like to wear different outfits when I run. Some call it costumes. I call it comfortable clothes. Either way I have fun with it and really don't care if others don't like it. I will say that I know my limits and try not to be offensive. So no jock strap only running. While I was at the Pacer table, I sent Speedy Jan and Gary to the expo to find me a plaid running kilt. Jan reported back that there was a booth that had some plaid skirts, I mean kilts, that had manly colors.

I found the Runningskirts booth. I was talking on the phone to Jan about the sizes when one of the ladies from Runningskirts was holding up a black plaid pattern skirt and saying to me, "this is the size for you." Seems word had spread already. I was then told I could have a great expo only deal if I put the skirt on now and wore it at the expo. Little did they know that I needed no encouraging because I am Walt. I don't think they thought I would wear them at the expo. I was given a pair of the athletic ones and went right to the changing tent. The first pair was a little snug. I was then brought another pair and those fit just right. I was "the hit of the party" some would say.

I walked around the expo with them on. Of course I got plenty of looks and comments. I will be honest, the kilt was comfortable. Not that I am choosing that as my only running option now but hey you will see me in them again.

I would like to thank Juli, Jodi and Julie at Runningskirts.com for their assistance and encouragement on Friday. So guys and girls if you want some awesome running skirt wear as well as other running outfits, go to Runningskirts.com and tell them that Walt sent you. I don't think that will get you any breaks but hey. I later found out that some other guys bought kilts for the race.

Next up...Saturday. Two Birds With One Stone.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Chapter 5 The Final Lap and an Awakening

First I would like to apologize to my reader for the long delay in this post. I have written and re-written several versions of what happened on that final lap. I have told numerous people the story. I had different responses based on who I told. I told them nothing was planned and it all just fell in to place. As some say, "things happen for a reason" or "if it's meant to be it will be."

It's up to you to decide how you feel after reading this. You may tear up. You may laugh. You may put your face in a pillow and scream. Feel free to do all three. If you do decide to put your face in a pillow, I bet you can't hold it there for more than four minutes.

Here goes. I left off with me at about the 16 mile mark bending at the waist and being approached by a medical cart. The cart was already coming my way and not specifically for me. I heard a voice ask if I was okay. I said yes. I straightened up and started to trot. I had to trot or vomit.

I would definitely say I had hit the wall at this point. I was having physical and mental issues.

Take physical. I could no longer drink water or gatorade. I could not eat anything whether it was gel, a cookie or a pretzel. I think my tank was full but nothing was being absorbed. I was sick to my stomach. Numerous times I felt I could throw up but I did not want to let that happen. I was tired, sleepy and just wanted to lay down. I knew I had to keep moving. As long as I kept moving I was closer to the finish. There were also others, who looked stouter than me, walking behind.

Take mental. I was strongly considering stopping. It wasn't that I wanted to give up. I was just exhausted. I couldn't quit though. How would my family feel. How would my friends feel. They all came up here to see me finish and I can't have them feel like they wasted their time. And quiet frankly, how would I feel if I quit. And then I would have to go through all this mess again next year.

I had no voice anymore. When someone at a water stop would ask me what I wanted, I just had to point. Not that I was able to take anything down anyways.

I began to trot/shuffle/walk/jog/walk and so on. I needed to finish this second lap. All I was thinking was that I had one more lap. Can I do just one more lap?

As I came to the start/finish area I picked up my pace just a little. This had to be pure adrenaline because of the family/friends cheering. This was going to be my moment of decision.

I looked over at my support crew and motioned for my girls' mom, Aimee, to walk with me. Out of the group of people that were there, she was the only one that I could talk to about my possibility of stopping. I don't want to say quiting but that is exactly what was on my mind. I did not debate should I talk to Jan. Should I talk to either Steve? Should I talk to my girls? Should I talk to Elton? She was the right choice at the time. There was only one other person that I would have had walk with me at that moment but she was not there. I still miss you mom.

As I said in the prelude, I had moved out almost a year ago. Aimee could have just dropped the girls off to watch their dad and drive back home. I have given her so many reasons in the past to walk/trot/shuffle/jog/run away. And the last year was no different even after all the cards were put on the table. When you spend over 20 years together raising two beautiful daughters, you still have this need to support one another at times even when your not together.

I grabbed a cup of coke at the water stop. We walked together. I was still moving forward. I told her that I did not think I could do it. I wanted to stop. I was sick. She told me that I was not a quitter. That I trained to hard to quit. Just keep walking if you have to. You still have plenty of time. All you need to do is finish. I asked what would the girls think if I quit. She said this race is not about them or anyone else. "It is about you." You can finish.

She then gave me the ultimate kicker. "I will do the last lap with you." What? "I will do the last lap with you if you want me to." How are you going to do that? It is about nine miles and you have never run more than four. "Well I don't suspect you will be running the whole time. If you keep this pace I can do it. And if you run off from me then that will be good for you." I told her several times that she did not have to do this. All the while she continued to walk/trot/shuffle/jog/walk with me.

I then got some energy and started jogging to the next water stop. There she was, right beside me. I was able to drink some coke. Now back to the start area for the long out and back. I walked and trotted some. And there she was. I again told her that this was going to be about 6 or so miles. I'm here.

We get back to the start line. The rest of the crew was standing there cheering me on. Again seeing familiar faces does a body/mind/soul good. Didn't really give me any fuel but it does energize you a little.

Navy Steve then started yelling that I had this. Only a 10k to go. He started going along side me. I started thinking, do I continue with who was with me the last 2 miles or transfer her for Steve. Who was I kidding. I was at the depletion mode. Not much left. I knew that if Steve went with me, my mind would play tricks on me and we would be rolling in the next ditch because I would have had enough. Don't get me wrong Steve. You are an encouraging person and always willing to help. That is needed at times but this was not the time.

I continued on with the final six miles. I was able to drink coke at the water stops. I had to sit down twice and just sit. The course was very dark in spots and that also played tricks on the mind. I made it to the turn around and now it was 3 miles to the finish. There were a couple of more times when I had to stop and bend over with my hands on my knees. I felt a hand on my back but no words were spoken. I knew what it meant. I managed again to trot/jog/walk the final 3 miles.

When I had a little less than a mile to go I had a sudden surge of energy. Do I take off from my pacer to the finish? I looked at my watch and realized that I could still finish in under 15 hours. No. The pacer deserved to be at the finish. I told her that I was going to stop so she could run ahead and tell the girls and everyone else that I was coming. She jogged off.

I started running and caught up to her twice but again stopped. With about 100 yards til the finish I could see that she had made it to everyone and said I was coming. I then ran to the finish. For some reason I again had a sudden burst of energy. Probably because it was about to be over. I was going to finish when just over an hour and a half ago I was ready to throw in the towel.

I crossed the finish line and started getting asked all kinds of questions. I am sure it was medical related. I am not sure what I even said. I could barely talk anyways. They did not cart me off. I got hugs from all. Even C-Steve. I then laid on the ground. I remember looking up at everyone and they were all smiling. I was smiling too. I was so glad it was over. I then had these two guys all of the sudden appear. They asked me if I was okay and did I need to go to the medical tent. I said I was fine. For the last 10 miles all I wanted to do was lay down and here I lay.

As I said before, this race was more challenging than I thought it would be. All the way around. It challenged my mind, body and soul. The swim and bike seemed to be a breeze. The run caught up to me sooner than I wanted it to. I thought back about someone telling me I should run more after I bike. I will next time Jan. There were 100's of people, places and things going through my mind the last 15 hours. I would be lying if I didn't say that was the case the last 10 months.

Could I have finished the race without a pacer? Probably, but "things happen for a reason" so I hear.

I was asked later how I feel. One of the emotions was disappointment. I was upset at my marathon time. At times I felt like I was giving up to easy. I was told that I finished it. That was the important thing. I still don't buy that. If I did, then I would not strive to do better next time. Next time?

I would again like to thank my family for being there for over 16 hours. My friends for showing up and providing support. Elton, who was the biggest surprise of all, Tom, Kathy, Tanya, Veronica, Jan, C-Steve, Steve and Ben. I would also like to thank those that trained with me. Jan and Karin for the swims. Steve, Casey, Jan, Dave, Jess, Sean for the rides. And Tiesto for the runs. And yes I did go to McDonalds afterwards but all I had was a chocolate shake.

Well hell let's do this again next year. I have signed up for Ironman Florida Nov 3, 2012. Wish me luck. Seems I may not need it next time. Just sayin'.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Prelude To The Final Lap

I feel it necessary to give a little history before posting the final lap of my GFT marathon.

At the start of this year for private reasons, I moved out of my house. It wasn't like a "hey I am going out to get a pack of smokes" move. It was what was needed at the time. I stayed in the local area so I could still spend time with my girls who I love dearly and always will regardless of how they feel about their father at times. I know how important it is to be there for them having grown up myself, for the most part, without a father in my life. And the fact they are girls, it's even more important to have a father deeply involved in their lives.

Not long after I moved, I got involved in a project. A project I was longing for. Sure I have had other projects before but this was going to be a project like no other.

At first I was skeptical. Was I ready? I had doubts that this would be the kind of project I needed. Should I give myself time to sort things out in my life before I put something else on my overflowing plate?

In order for this project to really work, I would need to put the time and effort in to it to reap the benefits. Did I have the time? Was it worth the effort?

This project was starting to take time away from my girls. I did not want this to happen but hopefully they would understand. I would make it up to them for the lost time on other days. The problem is, I may not get those opportunities to make it up. They are getting older and one will be off to college soon. I didn't want any "cats and the cradle."

The project was starting to take it's toll on me. Gone were the occasional times together. We were together six, sometimes seven days a week at up to eight hours on some days. I was so wanting to sleep in at times. Take a day away. Maybe back out. The project did its fair share of pushing back. Making me want to throw in the towel. But again, if I put all I had in to this project it would eventually pay off.

I was starting to notice a physical change for the good. And so were others. Maybe it was the lack of home cooked meals and the cutting back on visits to Brasstap or World of Beer. Nope. I will have to say it was the project.

The project was also starting to affect me mentally. Making me doubt myself. Was it me? Was I doing something wrong? Did I need to try something different or just stay on course and let it all come together.

My girls started wondering why I wasn't around as much on the weekends as before. Why I was so tired. Why I would fall asleep on the couch when visiting. I finally had to tell them about this project. I had them sit at the kitchen table. I told them it was time I take on a new challenge. Something to test myself. And it may also be something to take my mind off of all the other stuff going on around me. What is it they asked.

I have signed up for an ironman/ultra triathlon. Wow. They were more excited than I thought they would be. I told them the training was going to take a lot more of my time. Much of this time will be away from them. They seemed to be okay with it. At first I thought since I was out of the house they were already moving on. Maybe writing me off. I did not want that to happen. It's tough to see them pretty much everyday of their lives and then maybe 3-4 times a week. I know your saying, "hey, that was your decision there mister." Yeah I know but it was still hard.

I told them I could call off the project if they felt I was not being the daddy they wanted. Start another one a year or so from now. Again they were encouraging. Their mother was also supportive and always has been. She felt it was time and if it made me happy then give it my best.

I again reminded them to let me know if they felt I was slacking on my daddy duties. "I will be the first to let you know," the oldest told me. The thing about her is that she doesn't hold back.

I am reminded of something a friend of mine told me. He said he saw my oldest one at her job. He asked about me and she said, "My daddy is out riding his bike all day. He is training for one of those ironman races." He said she was smiling when she said this. For that I knew everything would be okay. In the long run.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Part 4. Miles 1-17

So I left off with me getting off the bike feeling pretty good.

My run gear bag was given to me and I again entered the changing tent. I sat in a chair and took a deep breath realizing I was almost there.

I recently purchased sleeves for my calves for the marathon. I had worn some compression socks before and they did not bother me. I know people say that you shouldn’t wear or try something new for a race but I have been and will always be known as someone who doesn’t listen to “people.”

I also ordered some new spandex shorts from Spandees.com for the run. For some reason I tend to wear costumes, of some sort, to races or events. It just happens to work out that way. I figured I needed something to stand out during the run so there was no problem finding me. I talked to the owner of the company and we are working on something special for the Women's Half.

In the sport of triathlons, you can make up or lose valuable time in transition. A fast transition they say. Well here I am going to have to put on spandex shorts and compression sleeves while sweating and in a rush. So much for the fast transition.

Prior to putting my shorts on, I applied a half stick of Glide all over the twins and such. The shorts were easy to get on. I had worn and ran in them twice during the week just to make sure there were not going to be any issues. At least not for four miles. I did put some other shorts in my essential needs run bag just in case.

The next challenge was putting on the compression sleeves. They were brand new. I dyed them red the day before but other than that they were fresh out of the box. It must have taken five minutes to put each one on. I then put my socks on and realized I should have put my socks on first and then the sleeves. I did mention earlier that I learned many things during this race.
I put my shoes on. Put all my bike stuff in the run bag. The only bottle of sunscreen in the tent was empty. I took my bag out and then dug a can of sunscreen out of my bike bag. I sprayed myself good and headed out to some fresh cheers.

I ran to the port o let first to do a pee check. Uh oh. A little darker than before. Not good but no panic. I then headed out for the 26.2 of joy. I was currently on pace for a sub 13 hour finish. But who was counting?

The run course was three out and backs of the same length. The first out and back was about two miles and the other out and back was a 10k ish. The first short out and back was easy. Just warm the legs up and drink water. Seemed and felt easy enough.

I then passed the finish area to start the first of three long out and backs. I was met by Steve who had put age and race numbers on his calves. This was to appear that he was a participant. Although I appreciated his willingness to help/pace, I told him that it was too early for him. I would need him later like maybe during lap three. I just asked if I could use his Garmin. He gave it to me. It was different than the one I have so I did not try to change what was showing.

It was at the second water stop, just past mile 3, that I started walking. I only walked through the water stop and then picked it up again. I walked again through the next water stop. I then started noticing that the watch I was given would beep every time I walked. Not fair Steve. Now I started thinking, “oh great. Steve is going to be able to analyze my walk/run/walk/walk/trot/shuffle and I would hear about it later.” Later to me would be several days after the race. I found out that later was when I gave him the watch back at the end of lap one.

At about mile eight, I first began to notice that the marathon was going to be longer than I expected. I tried to eat a gel and could not. As soon as the liquid got in my mouth, I spit it out. I grabbed a few pretzels and was barely able to eat part of one. I knew I had to get some calories in. I was still able to drink which was a good thing.

As I was finishing my first lap, I saw another familiar face. Ben. Thanks again Ben. He had stopped by on his way to Orlando just to give me some shouts and take some pics. I want to reiterate that it does give you a bit of a boost when you see people you know on the course, especially when they have gone out of their way to get there. I heard Jan say as I ran by, “he still looks pretty good.” Little did she know.
Another encouraging word was when I heard some ladies say my shorts were the best ones they had seen all day. One mission accomplished.

I then headed back on the long out and back stretch. I was still walking through the water stops and then running, all be it at a slow pace. It was already starting to get dark. It was at about mile 15 or so that I started getting sick to the stomach. I think I filled up on liquid and it was not being absorbed. I began to walk when not at water stops now. I started to walk or stagger as if I had a few drinks. I still had my shorts on so it was only as if I had 2-3 drinks and not 4. I started feeling sleepy and just wanted to lay down.

I again tried to drink and eat something at one of the water stops. I could not. I was debating on throwing up but I had never done that in a race before and was not sure how I would feel afterwards. I also did not want to be seen by a medic and risk the possibility of being taken off the course.

The thought of quitting was definitely on my mind. I leaned over and put my hands on my knees. A golf cart with a medic just happened to ride up.

To be continued…..