I am very tired and beat up a bit from a lot of races. I still started out with the 3:15 pace group, but fully expected to fade away into the distance behind them as the miles accumulated. Anything around a 3:30 would be fine with me.
At mile 7, I stepped on some road debris that created a very sharp pain in my foot. I thought I slammed a rock and with racing flats that hurts. I kept going. Each step hurt. I did not hear anything clicking so I did not want to stop, but I did slow down.
By mile 12 the pain was getting worse, and I contemplated bailing at the half finish line. So I finally stopped to check my shoe and sure enough a chunk of some mangled metal was embedded under the ball of my foot into the sole. I popped it out and kept going figuring it would start to hurt less. It didn't.
It was not terrible pain, but coupled with the fact that I was so very tired, I reached my low frustration tolerance for the day and I just knew this race would feel much better if I just slowed it all down. I saw Les and he ran some with me. I told him today is not my day. He said I was probably due for a not so great day. I agreed that I thought I was due for a "bad" race by now and this was it. :) He told me to just do what I could. Thank you Les! It helped to run with you.
I was passed by Aya, who is so pleasant. I ran with her and we covered much of 12-19 miles together at a comfortable pace of about 8:20's. That was nice but as I approached 19, I needed a break from pounding on my foot. I was twisting my foot oddly to avoid the tender spot and that was just throwing other things off. So I walked a bit and it felt a lot better.
Once I started running again, I took it easy and when the pain grew enough to change my foot strike I would walk a bit. I figured I would just do that all the way in.
I saw a girl in pink, looking like she was struggling too, but she was up on the grassy part next to the sidewalk, not on the road. Runners around us were moving well but she looked just as tired as me. I ran over and asked her if she wanted to walk some with so we both could have some company.
That is when I noticed how unwell she looked.
She mutter that she needed help and told me how she was losing control. She looked liked she was about to faint. Her eyes appeared to roll back a little and I immediately asked her to sit down, so she would not fall down. I ran back (not very far) to the Aid Station we had most recently passed. I asked them to call for help and I returned to her. Spectators had walked over and told me that I could continue on with my race, but it really wasn't that important. I wanted to wait for the aid station volunteer to come to her before I left, since I had said I would be with her when he got there. I wanted to know help was coming to her before I left.
At 22 miles in, I was pretty tired and had no idea what I could do for her, except to talk to her. I asked her named and she told me, so that was good. She said she wanted to call her dad and tried to give her cell phone number to someone to call him. She pointed to her shoe where she had her Road ID tag and that was a big help once people knew it was there. She asked me my name and I told her my first name. She asked for my last name and asked someone near her to remember that for her. I really wanted to make sure she was ok, so I pulled my gear bag tag off my bib, since I didn't check a bag, and gave it to her so she would not try so hard to remember it. I know it had my name on it and I thought it had my contact number, (but later I realize it did not). I don't know why I did that, except I felt horrible just continuing on with a race with no way to know whether she was ok.
When the Aid Station volunteers got up to us, reporting that an ambulance was coming and that they would watch her, they told me I could go on with my run. At that point she was covered in a blanket and in good hands, so I continued on.
I was very concerned and a little overwhelmed with adrenaline and my pace quickened until I saw Bill. I stopped to tell him what just happened because I just could not concentrate on running a race at that time. We pondered where John and Maria might be and then I took off again to finish off the last 3 miles.
By the mid-to-end of the final mile, I was passed by two guys who signaled me on to run with them so I did. Whenever we passed anyone we tried to convince them to join us. We got a group of about 4-5 at one point all running very well together.
I noticed one man in our group had a bloody face and he said he fell down at mile 20. Another man had no shoes on... just socks! He said his shoes were hurting his feet so he took them off an gave them to someone on the course about 5 miles back. What a group! :)
My foot still hurt, but knowing I was almost done helped so we all picked it up. I found that running faster hurt less so I picked up pace as fast as I could and I hurried to finish it.
Total time was 3:47. It was never going to be a great race, but I am grateful I stayed in it to help someone out.
As I walked through the shoot with Alister (Ali), the guy with just the socks, some random runner arrived asking "Are these yours?" He said, "Yes!" as he collected his shoes from her. He asked how she got them and a random spectator had given them to her from the sidelines and asked her to catch up to Ali.
Ali proclaims "I LOVE people!" and we walk on out and say our goodbyes.