Wednesday, January 10, 2024

DFL Again

In the first week of this year I finished the dead fucking last in two races. The first one wasn't really a thing. My running club puts on a handicap race on New Year's Day. Everyone estimates they're finished time for a loop of prospect Park and I overestimated my speed.I forgot that I was going to take it easy because 6 days after that race I was going to attempt to run a 50 km race. 

Last month, on December 3rd I registered for my running club's 50 km race. The Prospect Park Endurance fest. The fact that it was paired up with a 50-mi race and had a time limit of 15 hours made it just right from me.I knew that I would have no problem finishing 31 mi in 15 hours.But what I didn't anticipate that day was that it was heavily raining from the start. Within minutes of the race my feet will water logged. That wouldn't have really been a problem if it weren't for the fact that I was wearing ankle foot orthotics and custom made prosthetics holding up my fallen arches. I felt my feet moving around in my shoes and after 13 miles i really worried that either my shoes my orthotics or my feet were going to break. So I walked off the course after running about 14 mi. A DNF is a hard thing to accept, but I didn't want to let that little voice in my head that kept saying "at least you finished" cause an injury.  To add, i wasn't disappointed that I didn't finish. I was disappointed that I didn't meet the second set of guides that we're going to keep me company while I went around Prospect Park.

A couple of weeks after I walked off the course in Prospect Park a friend of mine that also happens to have Guillain-Barre syndrome sent me a message about a 50k in Queens. She told me she was going to try it. How can I not sign up for a 50K where two of the competitors would have GBS. So clickityclick I'm signed up for another 50K. I should have known that a race named the Frozen Flamingo 50k wouldn't have better weather than a race in December.

Well, weather comes in a spectrum. It was not better and it was not worse. There wasn't continual heavy rain. The race started at 7:00 a.m. and for the first few hours there was light rain. Then there was some heavy rain. Then it stopped then there was a little sleet. And then it's snowed a little. The snow didn't stick nor did it cause anything to get slippery. But the rain didn't go away when it hit the ground. They were multiple places on the course where the puddles were unavoidable. And when I say unavoidable I mean to say that you had a choice of three or four inches of water or walk through mud that yanks people's shoes off.Or walk around our entire ball field that was also saturated with water.I actually found a detour to the entire course and spend some time on some sidewalks outside the park.I didn't think walking through the mud was a safe alternative.

Are those of you that do not know me I should tell you that I am an Achilles athlete. That means I'm an athlete with a disability. I could run by myself but it's really not a great idea. If I'm going to walk out of my house I wear ankle foot orthotics that hold up my toes. Otherwise the likelihood of me tripping over my own foot is pretty high. So if I run a race or go out for a long training run I go out with an Achilles guide. They mostly keep me company. Sometimes they're a little overprotective but I can't complain. If I fall, they have to pick me up. But getting a guide for 31 mi race is kind of a challenge. So, I Set up a Google spreadsheet so people can fill in their names for each lap I was running.The course was 15 laps of slightly more than 2 mi each.The plan which I pretty much kept to was to run each lap in 40 minutes.About a dozen people signed up to guide me for one or more laps.Some of my guides were people that I met before and for two of them I was the first athlete they ever guided. I really appreciate it the help and companionship that I got from all the guides that came out. I hope they also had a good time

And I'm really proud of my accomplishment. I recently did some math and it was my 39th Marathon finish. Five of those marathons were distances above 26.2 mi. It was my 10th marathon finish since being diagnosed with GBS. The race director pointed out that my splits were very even. All but one of the 2.06 mi loops we're in about 40 minutes. The one that took 47 minutes was when I changed my clothes. Once my guides told me the weather forecast said the rain was over I, took off my not so waterproof rain jacket, hat and my hoodie. I actually wanted to put the hat and hoodie back on but my guides had to point out to me that they were completely waterlogged. I had no idea. I'm also happy to report that I do not have a cold. It's been 3 days since I ran the race and having wet feet for 11 hours didn't make me sick.

here's a picture during the first half of the race

after I changed my top two layers

to the left is the Facebook post about 20 minutes after finishing, it says...
I just won a 50K race. edited to ad a little clarification. 50 km is 31 mi. It was also a D2D race Dawn to dusk. I started at 7:00 a.m. and I finished just before 5:00 p.m.. there was significant periods of light rain short periods of heavy rain a snow shower and some sleet.
Without my Achilles guides it would have been a terrible experience. Because they were with me it was wonderful.
10 years ago there were some doctors that thought I might die. I didn't just live, I reaffirmrd that I am alive
#GoAchilles #FUGBS 
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— at Kessina Park.

To the right is a photo provided by the flamingo kid running company. There's a lot going on there. It's a picture of myself on the right and to the left is Marie. She's responsible for getting me into this. We are both survivors of Guillain-Barre syndrome.We are both holding up the special awards we earned for finishing dead fucking last. They are little turtle key chains. TurtleIs are the mascot of people with GBS. 
Getting Better Slowly.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Basically, I hope that you know that you are Warrior material, my friend.


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