Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gobbler Grind 1/2 Marathon

It's been almost exactly a year since my friend Emily and I set out on a 2-3 mile run/walk in Omaha. We alternated running 1 minute and walking 1 minute.  Today, we ran our first 1/2 marathon! She got into Kansas City Saturday afternoon and my parents took Emily, Ross and I went out to lunch. Then Ross peer-pressured Emily and me into going to the Upper Crust for dessert, despite the fact that we were stuffed.

Emily and I then spent the rest of the afternoon picking up race packets and driving the race course.
Timing chip: time to make history!
This morning we got to the race start, waited in line for the porta-potties, snapped a few photos, and then, without further ado, the race began.

15 minute porta-potty line
Ross and me before the race
with Dad
with Mom

We had great spectators: my mom and dad, Ross, and Emily's mom were all cheering for us out on the course. Ross was a spectator extraordinaire, popping up in random places with his big smile and his purple TCU shirt (Emily and I are both Horned Frog alumni).

Nervous! I like how we each have one earbud in, too.

During the first 5k
The weather report kept changing the week before the race, but we ended up having great weather! 50-60 degrees and cloudy, but no rain. The only thing that could've been better was if the wind wasn't blowing at 15-20mph. But most of the time we were between enough tree cover it didn't matter. It did matter, though, between miles 6-8 when we were running uphill into a headwind.

Emily looking good after mile 6, when the uphills and headwind began
Happy to see Ross at the halfway point!
I took Cliff Shots around mile 4, mile 7.5, and mile 10. And I'm so glad I brought my water bottle because the water stops were few and far between. Mile 3-4 was rough for me because that's when we left the spectators and got on the trail. Reality sank in and I felt a little overwhelmed. It was so great to see Ross around mile 6.5 because I knew I was halfway done and I also needed a little boost headed into what I knew would be a tough few miles. It really wasn't that bad, though, because Ross kept popping up every 0.5-1 miles between miles 6.5 and 9. It made the time pass quickly.

Emily booking it.
Me finally headed into the downhill/tailwind portion!
When I hit mile 10, I felt pretty good and started to speed up. Some great songs came up on my iPod shuffle and the end was near. I may have sped up a little too soon, because by mile 11 my quads were complaining and my legs were getting pretty tired. I took it easy for 5 minutes and then started to psych myself up again.  

Then at mile 11.8, I just lost all my wind. A runner had collapsed and the paramedics were doing CPR. Chest compressions and everything. I wanted to throw up, cry, hyperventilate, and quit. I felt so superficial for worrying about my finish time and I just wanted to go find that man's family. I think the entire "pack" I was kind of running in felt the same way. Suddenly lots of people were walking.

But that last mile I realized the only way I could stop running was just push through to the end, so I did.
Emily's awesome finish
My finish. Sort of. Apparently I quit running at the marathon finish and not the half marathon finish. Lame.
I had a hard time pushing myself after seeing someone needing CPR and somehow, even though I only finished 2 hours ago, that's my most vivid memory from the race. When I did finish, everyone was congratulating me and was so excited and I just broke down. Not because I was so happy to be done or so overwhelmed with our accomplishment, but because it's all I had wanted to do since seeing that runner on the ground surrounded by paramedics.

I realize I have no control over that man's fate, and I'm not sure what the outcome was. All I can do right now is be so thankful that I am surrounded by such selfless people (standing outside for 2 1/2 hours on a cloudy, windy November morning is not most people's idea of a good time). Mom, Dad, Ross: I can't emphasize enough how thankful I am that you were there to cheer me on and I know that whatever I do, you'll be there to support me. I hope I am able to return the favor! And Emily, WE DID IT!

13.1 miles- conquered!


  1. congrats on your finish, I completed the half today as well. I found your blog while doing a search on that runner who was down. I passed by about 2 mins after it happened before the paramedics got to him, there were about 15-20 people there, some preforming CPR. I still don't know the outcome either but I too was sick to my stomach...

  2. Apparently he is still alive...

    The nurse in me is still worried sick. That's a long time to go without a pulse, yet effective CPR can move blood around pretty well... if he wasn't super dehydrated. Ugh. I hope things turn out okay, and I'm glad he made it this long! That must've been some serious CPR. Paramedics are awesome.

  3. Not only the paramedics but the runners that were there performing CPR before the medics arrived. They were awesome and had such excellent teamwork,and should definitely be recognized as the ones who saved that man's life. Without them, I am sure the outcome would be different.

  4. I'm so glad to hear that fellow runners/spectators were able to stop and help at the time. I know if I'd passed about 5 minutes sooner than I did, I would have done the same. Early chest compressions can make a big difference!

  5. Congrats Therese!! What a great feeling of accomplishment! Hope all is well! Miss you around work!!


  6. Therese, what an experience! I can only imagine the emotions for every single runner witnessing that event. I find it deeply profound that not only did you achieve your personal goal of completion today, but even more, your faith was challenged. Sometimes things just don't make sense, but as you already are proving, that man's circumstances will be used to effect people for the good. No one, those running, nor us hearing of the situation thorugh your sharing, will soon forget that our goals are not nearly as important as realizing that we must be ready by running our life race each day as if it were our last! Thank you for sharing!

  7. Thank you everyone for the update...I am so glad to hear he made it. There were several people there doing some serious chest compressions on him, I was not sure at the time if anyone had any medical experience, but obviously, regardless, they saved his life. I felt helpless & gulity not knowing what was going on or what to do, so thankful for those who did. I think I will educate myself more on the latest CPR versions, this was a sign. God is great.

  8. I think a basic CPR class is well worth the money. For non-health care workers, the most important thing you can take from the class is proper hand placement and compression techniques. If you can't remember anything else, the American Heart Association is saying that chest compressions at a rate of 100/minute will help more than anything until medical workers arrive.

  9. He is still in intensive care, and has not come around yet. Thank you to all the runners who performed CPR. Not quite sure what to think of the OPFD walking over to him.


  10. Dear family member: Thank you for the update. I know many, many people are praying for him and rooting for him!

  11. I ran on Sunday too-I actually found your blog by looking for news results about the man who collapsed.

    I completely sympathize with how you felt, my sister and I were completely shocked and nauseated-and could only think about his family waiting at the finish. I've been trying to find updates-but other than brief comments on news articles and GG fb page I have been able to find much. We were SO concerned and thought about him the rest of the day, so the previous commenting family member-he's definitely still in my family prayers.

    Congrats on the finish despite the emotional ride. I saw Ross several times throughout the course-and my family is the background of your finish line pictures! Too funny!

    Sorry if this seems stalkerish.


  12. A very close family member is posting updates in the comments under the story on kmbc's website.

    Thanks for all your thoughts and prayers.

  13. Way to go Therese! (I know how bad of me for being so belated.)

    I can only imagine how many other runners were feeling what you felt when you came upon that man in distress. Life is short & sweet and it's far too easy to take for granted what we are given.

    Keep pursuing your goals and use that mans story as your motivation to take life by the horns so to speak when you feel like you can't keep going.