It's very simple if this was any other race I would have skipped it, my body was feeling like crap and I knew running a half marathon would do more bad than good. As Kate, Jared and I boarded the train early Saturday morning I was not myself. Rather than being hyper and excited I was coughing and extremely tired. Sleeping for most of the ride did nothing but I would find ways to keep going as I needed to get my bib and do some sight seeing. Getting my bib was one of the highlights of the weekend, my running idol, Stephen England was working the pacing booth. I quickly grabbed my bib and shot over to the pacing booth to say hi to Stephen. After exchanging pleasantries Stephen and I got talking about running and our goals for the upcoming season. What I got from this fifteen minute conversation was motivation, hearing Stephen talk in such a positive manner about chasing his own dreams made me believe in myself and reassured me that I'm chasing a dream but that it is possible.
All weekend I received nothing but positive reinforcement form Kate, I can't put in to words how much it means for someone to fully trust and believe in you. She knew I shouldn't have run, not once did I hear "Don't run, you're to sick!!" Instead I was hearing words of encouragement, "grab some water, you can never be to hydrated for the race" "great blood sugar, you're going to kick ass tomorrow" Was Kate nervous, of course but her delivery was key, her outlook was and always is positive and she believes in me. That helped tremendously as I ran the race. I did have Kate keep her thoughts on a notepad on her phone all weekend and her feelings are below and a good little read before I get into the race itself.
"This race is a little different from all the others. Usually I go to sleep the night before knowing that everything, blood sugar wise, is where it should be the night before and with that waking up knowing you'll be fine throughout the race. This time running around a few days before grabbing decongestion medication and knowing that you're under the weather just a few days before the race is worrisome. When you cross the finish line tomorrow they're will be be excitement of course, but also a little bit of relief. You made it, you finished, and will hopefully have great numbers. However I am excited for the race because you've been looking forward to it for months now.
Waking up in the morning, I had completely different feelings about the race than before I went to sleep. "Should he race? Should he not? Do I say something?" So I decided to just have total confidence in your choice, you know your body well enough. I think I may have been more nervous than you were on our way to Central Park. You went off on your way and I started getting really excited walking through time square and exploring the rest of the city. Until I looked down and realized it was already 930 and then my stomach turned and I started thinking, "how is he going to find us at the finish? What are his levels going to be at? Am I going to find him fast enough in case he needs his tester?" Suddenly I realized I can download the 1/2 marathon app and track your bib number. I had a sense of relief when I saw you were still moving along. As soon as the tracker stopped when you crossed the finish, the feeling came right back... scanning the area through hundreds of runners to find you. Once I saw you I was at ease. Normally, I never have these questions before and during a race. By having my knowledge and background I scared myself a little too much. I couldn't be anymore proud of you finishing in a reasonable time given the circumstances and especially finishing with your blood sugar in an awesome range. I love watching you cross the finish line, it reminds me every time how lucky I am to be one of your biggest supporters and fans!"
Personally I was extremely nervous as I waited in the corrals for the race to begin. I was having trouble breathing and dizzy, I knew I was sick but also knew that I could run and finish the race. As I hit the start line the adrenaline took over and I was running like I was feeling fine. My first mile was finished in just under nine minutes and I said to myself "Perfect keep that pace until the 5k mark" The problem was that pace quickly fell apart, I would hit the 5k mark at 27 minutes but I was still feeling ok. Then the fun started, I tried to pickup the pace as the Thomas the tank engine theme song came on my ipod (motivational song to make me think of Sharky) ten minutes later I was looking for a bathroom so that I could puke. All I remember from mile four until mile ten was trying to find a bathroom to puke, chanting M&M as I passed the M&M store in Time Square, finding a bathroom to puke, and do I go to the medical tent. The second time I puked was at mile nine after having a gel to try and get some nutrients. As I puked I fell to my knees and wanted to just lay down and sleep. I knew I was in a bad place but sat down on the toilet and gathered myself. I sat there and thought about quitting, I then thought about my life, Sharky, Minnie, and Kate. I'm not going to try and explain all of that but how could I quit after everything that has happened in my life, how can I quit after everything Sharky, Minnie and Kate have taught me about life. Quitting was not an option. I also heard my running idol Stephen England in my ear "I can't quit a race because I can't quit diabetes!!"
I would find a way to finish the race, I finished in a time of 2:15:00. Does the time matter? No, but it does piss me off that it took so long. At the same time I learned that it was perfect training for a 50k and honestly that is how I will remember this race. My goal is to run a 50k a 50 mile race and a 100 mile race. I want to be an endurance runner. I know that the half marathon will push me in May when I run my first of many 50k races. My body will hurt and I will want to quit but if I can almost pass out and run a race with bronchitis then I can finish any race no matter the distance. The time of any race doesn't matter, what matters is what you learn and the person that you become once the race has finished!! No matter the time or what happens I'm just happy that I can finish a race that almost had me in the hospital with a blood sugar somewhere between 100-120!! That more than anything was the most impressive part of the race!!