- HEALTH TRACKER
My "official" chip time was 2:47:12. My Overall Place 4440 out of 5221; Gender Place 2606 out of 2861, and Division (M 50-54) Place 232 out of 256. So while I didn't win the National Championship, or even finish is the top half, I did finish, and I wasn't last. LOL!
As I sit the the "day after" and look at my splits and think of the entire experience, many things come to mind.
First, what an awesome and great event. Over 20,000 participants in several different races: Runners, Hand Cycles, Wheel Chairs and walkers doing 5K, 10K, and the 25K. There was a great community spirit from the Pre-race Expo, to the Start, along the entire 25K course, at the Finish, and post-race Celebration. It was a blast just to be in the midst of it all.
There is a "very sad" note to the day. One of the 25K runners collapsed and later died. He was a 37 year old, father of three young kids, who was a former GVSU Football Star and member of the GVSU Football Hall of Fame. Thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Jason Kinzler. May he rest in peace and God give his wife and family peace and strength during this time of grief and loss.
I guess the "official" part of the River Bank began when my wife (Lyn) and I went downtown (Grand Rapids) to pick up our race packets and visit the Expo at DeVos Place on Friday afternoon. Just seeing all the exhibitors and the organization behind this event in the big exhibit hall gave us both a sense of how big this really is. It was also great to see some "running friends" from the Grand Rapids Running Club and introduce them to Lyn. We also met fellow Facebook Good Guy and HCR, Rich Lohman.
After the Expo, we then stopped at Carrabba's and enjoy an Al-Fresco Carb-loading dinner of Steak Marsala and Pasta, with a nice Cianti and dessert of Lemoncello Bread pudding. It's OK my OH Friends. I knew I would burn off those carbs and Yea, a runner has to do what a runner has to do to carbo load ya know.
When we got home, I did a little yard work, which may have been a mistake. I think I over-did and I should have been resting my legs. This may have contributed to the ITB issues I then had on race day. I did take a nice warm bath in the spa tub and tried to go to sleep early, but was too excited to sleep. Kinda like a kid a Christmas.
I was awake at my usual 4:30 am time. I ate some oatmeal with protein powder, an orange, had a cup of coffee, and drank a bottle of Vita-water. Lyn's friend Mary, who also did the 5K with Lyn got to our house about 6:15 and we headed downtown around 6:30 am.
As we left the house, it was a light drizzel, which i thought would be ok for a run. By the time we got downtown about 15 minutes and pulled into the parking lot, the rain got heavier. We had about 1/2 mile walk from the parking lot to the start. As we walked it started pouring. We got to DeVos Place just as the Mayor was giving the invocation, then the National Anthem. The first 5K heat was due to start a 7:00 am. There were about 2,000 runners lined up and then they were off.
Mary, Lyn, and I went inside DeVos Place to check our gear and get out of the rain. Of course it was packed full of people getting ready and waiting for the other races. My early morning (5 am) SNAP Fitness running buddies, Jim and Nick Burri (a Father & Son Team) were there. It was really great to be able to introduce them to Lyn. We all just took it easy, stretched, and waited. They called for the 2nd 5K heat, then the 10K, then it was time for us to head out. Lyn gave me a kiss for luck and we headed out. The rain had tapered to a very light drizzel. Perfect running conditions!
You could feel the excitement in the air. Jim, Nick, and I joined in between the 9:30 and 10:00 minute pacers, closer to the 10:00 minute group. Everyone was upbeat and ready to run. The sidelines were packed with spectators, already cheering the runners on. We heard the "gun" and started to move foward, walking slowly at first. We actually started to run, but had to stop a few times as this "human snake" began to move down Monroe Ave through downtown Grand Rapids. The crowds were cheering, the runners whooping and WOOHOOing back, then just as we neared the official starting line, we began to run!
As the Monroe turns and become Market, as far as I could see both in front and behind, were runners. I was right in the middle of them all and loving every minute. I began picking up my pace and at the end of mile 2, was running at an 8:52/mile pace. I backed off a little. I average about a 9:30/mile pace through about the halfway point, where we started into the hills on Veterans, Maynard, and Butterworth.
One of the greatest things about the entire race was the support from the volunteers at the aid stations and the local community support. Between miles 6 & 7 where the course crosses the Grand River over Wilson, people were lined up on both sides cheering on individuals they knew, as well as the other runners. It was great encouragement!
As we hit the first small hill on Veterans,at about mile 8, my pace slowed a little to 10:02/mile. I maintained that pace through mile 9 as I then slowed a little more as I turned from Maynard to Butterworth and began up that hill near mile 10. It was there where I started to have pain in my left hip and knee. I really was P.O.'d as this was the part of the course where I had done most of my "Long Run" training with the Grand Rapids Running Club. These were "MY HILLS", I knew them, had beat them before. I did not want to walk, but knew I had to let my leg rest. So I walked through the next aid station.
The leg felt better so I started running again. The pain quickly returned. As I started down the last hill coming back into town, near the Coke plant, I had to walk again. I was so, P.O.'d! I'd walk a bit, then run a bit. This part of the course is through the neighborhood around John Ball Park. People were lining the streets, sitting on the porches, cheering the runners on. I was able to run through John Ball Park where there was a pretty large crowd, but the more I ran, the worst the pain in my left knee became. Ugh! I only had two miles to go! I wasn't going to quit even if I had to walk the rest of the way. But I did not want to walk!
I continued at a very slow 'jog' pace and occasionally had to walk. Everyone along the route was encouraging and cheering all of us on. I finally neared the corner of Fulton and Ottawa and new it was the "Home Stretch". I saw the finish line ahead and heard someone call out my name. It was Lyn, right at the front of the crowd. She did get a picture of me giving a thumbs up! It was about 100 yards to the Finish Line.
I pushed through and RAN across the line, completing 25K (15.5 Miles) in 2:47:12! WOOHOO! I did it!
I was handed my finisher's medal and a bottle of water. I turned around to see my running buddies, Jim and Nick Burri cross the line together! How great! I waited for them and we gave each other "high fives". As we were talking about the race, Lyn joined us and gave me a big hug and kiss, and told me how proud she was! I felt great! She took a picture of Jim and me with our medals.
Then we started to walk through the shoot to the food & beverage tables. My leg was 'killing' me. I leaned on Lyn for support and thought about how she has been my support through this entire adventure. I had some food and drink, then we headed up the steps to the where the post-race party was taking place. I was wet and cold, and my leg really was bothering me. I was a little worried I may have been foolish to keep running.
Lyn and I decided to head home. We walked back to the DeVos place to pick up my bag. I had thought to put in some dry clothes and really wanted to get out of my cold, wet gear. As most of the crowds were at the "party" there wasn't too big a crowd at DeVos Place. I did notice several people walking like I was. A couple of guys and I laughed and joked about it to each other. I got changed then Lyn helped me hobble back to the car.
We got home, got a shower, and started the RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) therapy. As I sat there thinking about the day and the entire experience, I was blown away by the fact that a little over a year ago, I was at nearly 300 pounds and could barely walk up the stairs, let alone run 15.5 miles. I am so thankful that I've had the opportunity to "get healthy" and have a second chance to live a healthy lifestyle that includes good nutrition and exercise as part of my daily routine.
As I continue on this life-long journey I also sincerely appreciate those who have been there to help and support me along the way. First, I thank God for the second chance to be a better steward of this earthly 'temple'. I am also so thankful for the love of my life, Lyn, and all the support she has given through the weight loss, training, and being there for the races to cheer me on.
There are so many others who have encouraged and supported me. To my Early AM SNAP Fitness running buddies, Jim and Nick, my thanks for allowing me to 'horn' in our your father-son time and join you for those early morning training runs. It has been a privalege to train with you and I am so glad we were able to connect before the race and at the finish. I was also inspired by the other early am 'crazy' people at SNAP (Chris, Mike, Mr. Kim, Sue, and the other regulars). Knowing that I am not the only crazy person to get up and work-out in the wee small hours does help!
Thanks and Kudos to the members of the Grand Rapids Running Club and especially the Francine and the Green Bandits from the Mentor Group! I learned so much and sincerely appreciate the advice and encouragement.
To my friends on the OH site, Men's Forum and Exercise and Fitness Forum, your stories and encouragement have been amazing. I am constantly inpsired by reading everyone's posts and sincerely appreciate the ongoing support. Paul, Jim, Special KUDO's to Dan Benintendi who inspires and motivates us all. THANK YOU!
Last, but definitely not least, my Facebook friends, both the "old" friends with whom I've been able to reconnect, thank you for your encouraging words! And my "new" friends, some of whom I look forward to meeting at a race someday. Yea, all you HCRs from the GG v BG gang, you know who you are! It was great to meet GG HCR Rich Lohman at package pickup on Friday. WOOHOO! Someday I look forward to making it over to Chicagoland for a race to meet up with Adrian, Cindy, David, Jeremy, and any other HCRs that can join us. I'm also thinking about the one of the Disney races where I know several of you will participate. Then, of course, there has to be a California race where I can meet up with Thanh and the CA gang!
But for now, its a few days of rest to get this ITB under control, then back to training for the Grand Rapids Marathon in October! WOOHOO! Run ON!