Sunday, November 11, 2012

Half done...

Adam giving instructions at the Ministry Center
I woke up Friday morning at 4:00 to the screeching of my friend Marc's cell phone alarm. It was a good thing he was staying in the same house I was, because I didn't wake up for my watch's puny alarm. It had gone off three or four minutes earlier. I got out of bed. My legs felt great! I felt nothing but excitement. The day for which I'd prepared had finally arrived!

I dressed and got everything organized, stopped in the bathroom a couple of times, then headed up the stairs just as we got a text from Greg that our ride was waiting at the curb. Marc and I stepped outside and were met by pleasantly cool air. It was 61 degrees. We loaded our stuff into the car and hopped in. Greg and Issac, our support crew, greeted us. As we drove up Seneca, I made a quick peanut butter, banana and honey sandwich. I finished eating it about the time we pulled into the parking lot at the Friends Ministry Center on Maple.

Greg parked the car and we all disembarked. That was the last time I would sit in a car seat for hours. It was 4:45 and we were the only ones there for a few minutes. About ten till the rest of the support vehicles and Adam, my running partner, showed up. We talked and prepared for what was ahead. At just before 5:00, we gathered in a circle and prayed. With the final "Amen!" we were off on our adventure.

We ran a few feet down the sidewalk to the first street and headed north toward McLean. Adam and I were joined by our friends Marc, Taylor and Jeff. We joked and laughed a lot as we ran through the darkness. Everything felt good. There was no thought of not finishing. Our lights cut through the darkness. Greg and Isaac drove by and took pictures.

Bright lights along Central
When we hit McLean, we turned left and headed toward Central. The atmosphere among us was still light and jovial. No one was under stress at all. We took another left on to Central, ran a few blocks to Zoo Boulevard and turned onto the wide sidewalk. We ran northwest along Zoo meeting up with our support vehicles here and there. Jeff's Garmin kept our pace honest. We didn't want to go out too fast and burn out. A run of 100 miles is not a sprint.

At the I-235 bypass, we crossed Zoo and crossed the flood control ditch on the bike path bridge. At the next intersection, we left the bike path and ran along the shoulder of 21st passed the zoo and Sedgwick County Park. Just before Ridge, we crossed over to the north side of the street where we picked up the sidewalk. We ran right past Greg and Isaac who had stopped at the QT.

I don't remember exactly when we made our first visit to our support vehicles, but it was somewhere along the next stretch of pavement. All I really remember is getting more water. We were taking electrolyte pills every half hour and drinking a bottle of water each hour.

Somewhere along 21st we lost Taylor. I didn't see it happen. I looked around and he was gone. The same thing happened with Marc a little while later. Jeff, Adam and I ran on till we hit nine miles. Jeff called it a day. Adam and I were on our own.

Greg keeping close in the support vehicle.
As we were leaving the city, the sun was just beginning to rise. We wove our way through road construction and ran past the Northwest YMCA and St. Teresa's. At daybreak we were in the country. Neither of us had on a Garmin at this time, so we ran by feel. Even though I was pretty sure we were running faster than we had when Jeff was there reminding us to slow down, my legs were happy so I just ran alongside Adam.

Shortly after we left town, a nine-year-old from Adam's church was dropped off with his bike. He rode along with us for a few miles. Adam and I ran one in front of the other while Ky rode his bike on the shoulder. We certainly didn't want him out in traffic. He kept up pretty well for awhile, then started to get tired. I don't know for sure how long or far we enjoyed his company, but eventually he stopped and Greg and Isaac loaded him and his bike in their vehicle.

To be honest, the next 10 or 15 miles are kind of a blur. I felt good as Adam and I knocked off mile after mile. There was no doubt in my mind that I would finish. Life was good and I was running with a good friend who had a ton of ultra experience. I did everything he did and everything he instructed me to do. I took gels every half hour and electrolytes about the same time. We munched on homemade monster cookies prepared for us by a woman in my church. They were the best cookies ever! We drank water mostly, but I added a Powerade every two or three bottles. After the first Powerade, I had Greg and Isaac pour the blue liquid into the lighter water bottles. I didn't need the extra weight in my hands.

Our youngest supporter
I matched Adam stride for stride for a little over 25 miles, then backed off just a bit. I was still confident in my success, I just wasn't sure I could keep up with Adam. I didn't even feel bad really, I just knew it was time to slow down for a few minutes at least. After hours and hours of running, I've learned to pay attention to such things. When I ignore them, I end up dead tired or worse.

I asked for my Zen Mosaic at some point. I let Petra blast away as I ran on, my feet matching the rhythm. I couldn't read the display in the bright sunlight, so every once in awhile I'd had the device back to Isaac and have him change groups. I listened to Sanctus Real and sonicflood among other groups.

As I ran on, the temperature and the wind increased. I was sweating like mad! I increased my intake of water and Powerade to two to three bottles an hour. Adam had told me that I should be peeing every hour throughout the run. I remembered that and tried several times along the roadside without success. Finally, I got something to come out. The stream was weak and did not last long. I was concerned. I drank more. A while later, I peed again. Same result. Not much.

The good feelings were pretty much history as I ran past 35 miles or so. I'm not sure how hot it was, but it got up to 84 sometime during the day. I was putting ice on my neck in a bandana to cool my body as much as possible. I was still dripping with sweat. I was running most of the time, but pain in my right foot was slowing me down. I walked off and on.

My emotions started going crazy somewhere along the way. When Greg and Isaac drove up ahead and disappeared over the crest of a hill more than a mile away, I freaked out. I actually cried. When they came back, I said, "Don't do that again! Don't disappear unless you tell me what you're doing!" I didn't mean for it to, but I think that made Greg feel bad. He and Isaac really were great. They served my every whim quickly and efficiently. I couldn't have asked for a better support crew.

Still feeling good as the sunrises behind us
When we got to the road that went into Kingman, Greg asked permission to go to town to buy more sports cream. I'd been using it off and on throughout the day to keep my injured shoulder from aching. He was afraid we would run out and wanted to get some while we were near a town. I told him to go ahead. I ran on all alone. The other support crew was up with Adam, out of sight over the horizon. Rather than freak out, I turned up my music and had one of the most personal and intimate worship times I've had in years. I raised my hands and praised Jesus as I ran along singing. I felt God's closeness and love. It was wow!

Before Greg and Isaac got back from their errand, Frank and Marc came back in the other support vehicle. They wanted to check on me. I suspect that Greg had sent them. I asked them to help me tape a bag of ice to my right foot to see if I could numb the pain there a bit. Marc contrived a way to do what I asked and I was soon walking along. I'm sure it looked silly, but the ice helped a bit. I wish I had pictures. Maybe someone does, but I haven't seen them.

I was past 40 or 45 miles and my foot was bothering me more and more. I was mostly walking with short runs here and there. The next time I peed it was red and still little more than a trickle. When I met up with Greg and Isaac again, I mentioned my concern about this to them. Greg texted the other vehicle and soon Adam's mom, a nurse, was back talking with me. She asked about the color. I said it was really light red. She told me that my kidneys were stressed, but that since I was young and in shape I didn't need to worry too much. She assured me everything would go back to normal in a day or two. She went back up to Adam.
Adam gave lots of good advice while we ran together

A short time later, Frank and Marc showed up in their van. They had a cup. Adam's mom wanted to see my urine. I didn't need to go at that moment, but I promised them that the next time I went, it would be in the cup. I was slamming water and Powerade as fast as I could, but my body felt horrible. I was dehydrating.

I was near fifty miles when I asked Greg to let me talk with Adam. I was ready to quit. Greg dialed the number and put me on when Adam answered. I told Adam about the pain in my foot that was keeping me from running and mentioned my bloody pee and told him how I was feeling. He told me to stop at fifty miles and rest for a half hour. After the rest, he told me I should try to walk another half hour before making my final decision. I agreed to give it a try.

I made it to the 50-mile mark, peed in the cup, handed the ice tea colored liquid to Marc and stepped into the van. I'm pretty sure Marc didn't expect to be transporting medical samples when he signed on to help. Makes me laugh now to think about it. In the van, I cooled off and drank more water. I downed two bottles in the thirty minutes. The most entertaining part of the rest time was watching my foot and leg muscles dance. They were moving constantly and then the cramping started. That was not funny at all. Most of the time it was one foot or one leg at a time, but once or two both legs seized at the same time and I yelled loudly.

As my half hour rest was coming to a close, Marc and Frank showed up again. I tried putting my socks and shoes on by myself, but I couldn't manage it. The cramps kept grabbing my foot or my leg every time I bent to do the job. Once again Marc got the fun job. I swung legs to the side and he pulled on my socks and placed each shoe in place. I somehow managed to tie them and step out of the vehicle.

My poor cramping leg
As I was walking away, Nate showed up. He was going to run with me, but ended up walking instead. I tried running, but my right foot was stabbing me with every step. I kept moving for forty minutes and covered only about a mile and a half. Realistically, there was no way I was going to finish. I walked up to Greg's car and sat down. Denise pulled up just about that time. She was there to witness my decision to pull out. I sobbed for a bit. I was so disappointed. I had wanted so badly to finish the 100 miles. A dream was dying.

With the decision made, I climbed into the car and we were off toward Pratt. I felt awful and got worse. I talked on the phone with a few people who had been planning to come out and run with me or help with support. I tried reaching my wife, but she wasn't available. I cried every time someone said something nice to me. Marc helped by telling me I was a wimp. That made me laugh.

Less than a mile from Pratt, I felt really sick. "Get me a bag!" I yelled. I was handed a big plastic trash bag. I filled it as I vomited three or four times. I felt better after that, but yuck! We made it home and I dumped my bag out on the grass, then walked into the house. Greg and Isaac followed me in with a few things, then Greg left Isaac with me and took Marc up to his house. Isaac helped me get a few things and then went with his dad when he got back.

For the next few hours, I sat alone at home. I took in fluids, but didn't eat anything. I wasn't sure what my stomach would tolerate. I sat at the computer and responded to some of the encouraging words that had been posted on Facebook, Twitter and dailymile. I let people know that I'd had to drop out and new encouragement started pouring in. I am grateful to have so many friends who care about my well-being. If you posted something, I saw it and my heart was moved.

I talked with my parents and a few others on the phone and then my wife got home from the play. I talked with her for awhile. My eldest daughter came home. I talked with her for a bit, then just before I went to bed around 10:30 I called Frank and asked him to call me when Adam got near Pratt. I wanted to go out and cheer for him.

I slept for a few hours before the phone rang. It was nearly 1:00 in the morning Saturday. Marc was back to his place in the support vehicle with Frank and the runners were a mile from Pratt. My wife and I got dressed quickly and drove out to meet them. The headlamps that Adam and those who were running in support of him came into view about the time we got to Pratt Community College, so we pulled off into one of the driveways, got out and yelled loud encouragement! Adam gave me a quick hug. That meant the world to me. I greeted Ellen, David, Andy and Gabe. Adam asked if I had a key to the church. I did, so we drove back to get things ready for the lot of them.

As the group crested the hill just east of the church, I let out another whoop and holler. When I realized I was in the city, I stopped. No need to wake the neighbors. I talked with the runners as they rested a bit. Adam ran in for a pit stop. I was feeling pretty good after my sleep, so I decided to go with Frank and Marc in the support vehicle.

For the next few hours, I rode around and made sure the runners had what they needed. Frank and I took Marc back to his house after a McDonald's run. I got Ellen's car and drove it in short spurts back to Haviland. I got out when the runners approached and cheered. I met whatever needs they had to the best of my ability.

When Adam and this posse passed us with a mile and a half to go, he asked me to please run the last tenth of a mile with them. I wasn't sure I could do it, but I agreed. So when they got to the corner of Main and Elm, I pushed my legs up to a slow jog with them. It hurt, but I made it to the orange paint mark that was the finish. A few minutes later, I was in the car with Ellen headed home to Pratt. (Read Adam's report)

Though I'm disappointed that I didn't reach my goal by completing this 100-miler, I am not discouraged. I did what I could for a cause I care deeply about. Young men and women called to serve God as missionaries will be helped by the scholarship fund that Adam and I and all our friends ran to support. That matters more than whether I ran 100 miles or not. Way more!
Post a Comment