I want to start off by apologizing to everybody for my absence as of late.Â I have been through quite a few things these past few months, including two moves and two job changes.Â I am now working for a farmer/rancher in Wibaux, Montana and am loving it.Â It is really nice getting to use my hands for manual labor rather than typing on a keyboard. Â I do not currently have internet connectivity…..except when I go to visit relatives, so it may be a while in between posts.Â Please bear with me.’
September 18, 2010
Baldhill Dam about 10 miles north of Valley City, ND.
It was a brisk morning…and when I say brisk I am being kind.Â It was 38 degrees in the sun when we all lined up on the face of the dam for the start of the race.Â I was trying to clear my head and attempting to focus on the task that I had laid before myself.Â To finish a half marathon.Â I had trained for months for this event, but when it came to race day, I was unsure if I had prepared enough.
As I was warming up before the race I was unsure as to what I should wear….should I keep on my sweat pants?Â Should I dawn my sweatshirt?Â Thirty Eight degrees is pretty damn cold.Â I decided against the sweatshirt but for the pants.
At precisely 9am the gun went off.Â When I started the race I had no misconceptions that I was going to win.Â All I wanted to do was finish and enjoy my own race.Â I knew there were water stations scheduled for 3, 6, 9 and 11 mile marks…approximately.Â And I had planned stopping at each one even for a few seconds.
It had taken me 3 miles, to the first water station, to warm up.Â At which point, I had removed my sweatpants and greatly accepted a cup or two of water.Â I stayed there maybe a minute before moving on.
As I was progressing I had noticed everybody pulling farther and farther ahead, but it did not discourage me in the least.Â I was running my own race and did not care what everybody else was doing.Â I wanted to enjoy the moment and push myself.
I then reached mile marker 6…the next water station.Â I took advantage of the privy, some water and a banana.Â While I was there I apologized profusely to the deputy sheriff that had been following me….in last place….for holding him up.Â He just followed along without any worries.
I was timing myself throughout the course on my own stop watch and once I passed the 6.2 mile mark, I was ahead of my 10k (Prairie Rose State Game) time by about 5 minutes.Â Which helped to boost me along.
At the 9 mile mark is where things started to go south.Â My hamstrings started to cramp.Â I pushed through it, because at this point I started to enter the Valley City, city limits.Â I knew that things were downhill from here.
Once I got into town I was being escorted by a police officer out front and the deputy behind.Â I then progressed to Chautauqua park.Â The course rounded the park then continued to move through the city.Â After the park I headed towards the hospital, then across the river to the 11 mile mark.Â At this point the cramping had moved to my quads.
When I got to the 11 mile aid station, which I must say the volunteers they had for this race had just been outstanding to this point…standing in the cold, plus waiting for my slow pace.Â As I approached the 11 mile aid station I mentioned, “Have you seen a bunch of people run past here recently?Â I have been trying to catch them all morning.”Â My attempt at levity had brought a few chuckles.Â Even though I was in extreme pain, I pressed on after a short break.
On a side note….at the 10 mile mark I had beaten my previous (two weeks prior) personal 10 mile record by about 7 minutes.Â After which, the last 5k seemed to go worse than ever.
After the 11 mile aid station I pressed on.Â Knowing at this point that if I would stop I would not be able to go any farther.Â I chugged along past the Eagles club to main street, where another policed cruiser as well as a cordoned off area was awaiting me.Â I knew I was last..by approximately 30 minutes or so, but still I did not care.Â My goal was to finish…and that I would!
I pressed along down main street…a police cruiser ahead of me and a deputy behind me…both with lights flashing.Â I felt like a person carrying an Olympic torch…..minus the torch.
I ran West down main until I hit Central avenue, where I had to head South.Â I had lived in Valley City for several years, so I knew this neighborhood well.Â I took Central all the way down to the rec center where I again headed west.Â As I passed the rec center I passed the 13 mile mark.Â Knowing the race was 13.1 miles, I figured I was in the home stretch….the only problem was that I could see 3 blocks ahead and had yet seen the finish line.Â My legs were failing….I had been cramping for some time with no relief in sight.
I ran the next 3 blocks or so before the trail went into the city park.Â At this point, which to me had seemed a mile too far already, I could see the finish line.Â Just on the other side of the park.Â At this point I kicked in the afterburners and pressed forward.Â Step by grueling step I crossed the finish line at 3 hrs 15 minutes.
Once I stopped forward movement my legs seized and did not want to move another step.Â I felt like I wanted to collapse,Â Â but I managed to stay upright to the cheers of the volunteers present.