One of the common traits most of us share is being pretty goal-oriented. Our race goals—particularly marathons–run the gamut from age group placings, personal records, Boston qualifiers, streaks, to just finishing. All laudable goals. But I have one more: I have vowed to never end up in a race’s medical tent.
I’ve come close.
Several years ago, I ran the Philadelphia Marathon and pushed the last six miles so hard, that I would have crashed in the finish chute if a volunteer hadn’t caught me. Even though I PR’ed that day, my quads were so crushed I could barely move. The volunteer wanted to escort me to the medical tent, but all I needed to do was walk it off.
Maybe I should have gone, but I just never wanted to be that guy with an IV in each arm and a team of doctors and nurses hovering with blood pressure cuffs and stethoscopes.
Medical tents, I’ve always figured, were for the folks who had serious medical issues and needed immediate attention. Fortunately, that’s never been me and I never actually visited a medical aid station.
Until last year when I ran the Army Marathon (actually the half) up in Killeen and Temple.
The forecast for last year’s race was for warm weather and even though a cold front was headed our way, it wasn’t forecast to hit until much later in the afternoon. So much for accurate forecasts. The cold front barreled down on Bell County just as the races started and the windchill plunged to the low 20s. Toss in a little sleet and rain and it was tough sledding. What made it even tougher were few of the runners were prepared with gloves, and cold weather gear.
I had nothing more than a thin race jacket which I could at least pull over my hands, but like just about everyone else, I was frozen to the bone when I made the final turn to the finish, directly into the teeth of a 25 mph north wind. I had some dry clothes at the finish that didn’t help much and just shivered uncontrollably as I waited for my friend to finish the marathon.
A bunch of us huddled together next to a truck for a wind break, but I couldn’t get my core temp back up and didn’t see how I could possibly wait another hour for my buddy to finish. Then, an Army medic spotted our pitiful group, handed us some blankets and suggested we warm up in his tent.
“But, we’re not hurt,” I protested. “Just really cold.”
“March!” OK, he didn’t really say that, but the medic directed us into his super-heated tent and packed the shivering souls with hot water bottles and more blankets. Then, another volunteer, handed out coffee which would have been great if I hadn’t been shaking so badly and could actually hold onto the cup.
By the time we finally warmed up, the first marathoners were coming in and the Army medics enlisted us to distribute blankets to the finishers who were taken directly into the tent. Some of them were in even worse shape than we were, including my friend who PR’ed by 10 minutes, but everyone quickly recovered.
Anyway, when I finish the Army Half in Temple on Sunday, my first stop will be the medical tent. Pretty sure I won’t need medical attention, but just want to express my appreciation for their thoughtfulness and care last year.
I’ll never forget it.
O Anita Perez Quirino of San Antonio finished second overall in last weekend’s El Paso Marathon in a remarkable 2:55:33. (She won the women’s division by 25 minutes.) Anita, who is originally from El Paso, said the race didn’t go quite as well as she planned (with a bathroom break at mile 14), yet still was fairly close to her marathon best of 2:53:43.
O Another top San Antonio runner—Jose Munoz—is calling it quits. Munoz, who won the 2012 San Antonio Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and raced periodically in Austin, has had a chronic ankle problem that hasn’t gotten better with rest. The former UTEP runner has switched his energy into weight lifting and is also a personal trainer.
O After taking a short break from the triathlon wars, Kelly Williamson got back into it last weekend in the Challenge Philippines 70.3. There, Kelly finished second in 4:52:14, and, as is often the case, had the fastest run of the day (1:21) among the women pros. Next up for Williamson is another 70.3 in a couple of weeks in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
O In case you missed it, KXAN did a terrific piece last night on the Survivor’s Summit Club’s recent trek to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. The climb is for cancer survivors and their families and this year, six Austinites made it to the summit, including Mike Thompson of Jack & Adam’s fame and Stephani Smolucha who is Livestrong’s annual giving manager. If you want to view Shannon Wolfson’s story, go to kxan.com/2015/02/25survivors-summit-group.
O The H.E.B. Alamo Run Half Marathon was on Sunday in San Antonio and Sipho Ngxongo of South Africa was the overall winner in 1:09:12, followed by Robbie Wade (1:12:40) and Efraim Velasquez in 1:17:08. The first three women were Julee Guinn (1:25), Rochelle McClanahan (1:26:56) and Ashley McGee in 1:30:47.
O Think it was cold the last couple of days on your morning run? Occasional Austinite Scotty MacPherson, who lives in Columbia, Missouri, did a 20-miler on Sunday in seven-degree below zero temps. The Texas native’s water bottles and nutrition froze on the run (so did his beard), but he finished the thing in 1:53 as he gets ready for Boston.
O The fourth annual Austin 10/20 race is coming up on March 29th at The Domain. Race director Peter Douglass is expecting 6000 runners for the 10-miler which offers plenty of prize money as well as special money reserved for Travis County residents, masters and wheelchair racers. Douglass has reduced the prize money from prior years which, he said, means some of the top Kenyans who have run in the past, are by-passing it this year for greener pastures, opening up some prize money spots for locals. Last year, Ali Mendez of Rogue took home a sweet $4100 in the 10/20, including bonus money.
O Leo (The Lion) Manzano and his coach John Hayes are off to the snowy climes of Boston for the USATF Indoor Championships. Manzano is running the mile (natch) and will face off against the likes of Matthew Centrowitz, Ben Blakenship and Lopez Lomong who used to be coached by Hayes. Former UT runner Kyle Merber will be running the 1000 meters and Rogue AC’s Kristen Findley is running the 2-mile. The meet will be televised live on Saturday and Sunday on USATF.tv and NBCSN.
O Jennifer Harney, who runs the training programs for Rogue out of the Cedar Park store, is on the shelf with a stress fracture of her left foot. Harney, one of the top women marathoners in town, dislocated a joint in her foot and kept running on it before it finally fractured. She’s swimming now to stay in shape and vows to be back in racing shape by this summer.
O What I’m listening to this morning: “The String Cheese Incident, Live at Waterloo Park,” by The String Cheese Incident. This series of shows in April, 2002, also featured Jack Black and Tenacious D with an insane version of “Tom Sawyer.”
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