I’ve been rather quiet the past few weeks, and if you know me beyond this blog, or follow me on social media, you know why: last weekend, my grandfather passed away unexpectedly. What started out as a fun and healthy family weekend has turned into a seemingly never ending collection of the longest, saddest days I’ve ever known. I could go on forever about my grandpa, the memories I have, the events of the past week…but frankly, I need a break. This is my first real brush with death, and I can say that in no way was I prepared for the overwhelming exhaustion, sadness, and complete lack of focus I’m experiencing.
My grandpa would absolutely not want me making a fuss over him, so instead, let me share with you all the highlights from last weekend…
Originally, I had plans to travel up the road a bit to St. Cloud (where the majority of my extended family lives) to run the Graniteman Race with my cousins. Friday night, I met up with one of said cousins to grab dinner and drinks at an adorable new(er) restaurant in town.
We chatted for hours while scarfing down some delish salmon and sweet potato fries, along with a couple cold beverages.
On the drive home, we stopped for froyo (obviously) and rocked out to Nsync—just like when we were younger It was a perfect night.
However, I went to bed extremely anxious about the Saturday’s race. After some research, I began to realize that the Graniteman was more like a race for serious runners. Which I am so not. So, the nerves had kicked in big time.
When my alarm went off at 5am Saturday morning, I was horribly apprehensive, and doubting my decision to participate. I didn’t doubt that I could and would finish. No way. But I was absolutely terrified of being the very last person to finish. I mean, it has to be someone, right?
Well, we showed up, tried not to pass out from the ridiculous heat and humidity, got our race packets, extensively discussed how the field looked quite experienced (i.e. fast, i.e. Amanda, what are you doing?!), lined up for the 5K portion of the race and took off along the Mississippi.
As usual, I ignored my fellow racers and focused on myself. After the first mile or so, though, I looked up to see my cousin (who runs about a nine-minute mile) two people in front of me. I typically run a 14-15 minute mile, so this wasn’t good. I knew I couldn’t keep up that pace. I was already cramping and feeling nauseous.
Reluctantly, I slowed my pace and fell to the back half or so of the pack. But that didn’t ease the nausea or the cramping. I was feeling awful and seriously contemplating stopping, finding a medic, sitting in someone’s lawn sprinkler…something. About a mile and a half in, I threw up. I probably should have stopped at that point, but nope. I figured for as much anxiety and pressure as I put on myself, I was going to finish this damn race. I’m no quitter!
So that’s just what I did.
The entire week before this race was an off week. I had been on vacation, I didn’t run, I only did yoga, and I didn’t make the best food choices. But in the back of my mind, I still wanted to PR.
I hustled my butt to the finish line best I could—the last few hundred feet were pure torture and I honestly thought I was going to have stop and walk across the finish line. With the announcer calling out my name and all those people, including my family, standing around cheering? That would have been complete embarrassment.I ran through the finish line and immediately started gagging. A boy about eight years old came up to me and asked if he could cut my timing chip from my shoe, and as he bent down to do so, I literally thought I was going to throw up on him. Good. Grief!
Thankfully, I held it for a few more seconds and made it to a trash can before I threw up for the second time. Yuck!
When I had finished being a total disaster, I grabbed some water and a banana, and sought out some shade. I immediately felt fine, and spent the rest of the morning proudly celebrating my PR (I cut three minutes!), cheering out my family and friends that did the 10K and half marathon, and watching my cousin and another friend win their age divisions for the 5K and 10K. And for the record? I was definitely not the only one with heat stroke-like symptoms.
Another race in the books! After all the festivities, we beelined it over to Starbucks for a caffeine boost before heading out to my grandparents to join the rest of the family for a cookout. As usual we spent the afternoon eating (healthy, mostly!) and really enjoying each other’s company.
The good, the bad, the success, and the failure…this past week has shown me the invincible strength, love, and power of family. With them, you can truly get through anything.