Saturday, August 18, 2012

Kansas Wesleyan University XC Camp

This past week I drove to Simla, CO, with my men's and women's cross country team for our XC camp. Running at elevation for four days isn’t going to make anyone into an aerobic machine, and that was not my goal. My goal was to take my runners to Colorado and let them know they are family. I would not bring someone I didn’t care about into my home, and I hope they can see that I trust them. With this awareness of my trust in them, I know my runners will be more likely to trust and believe in me which will make it easier to push them and help them reach their limits.
On day one, we drove from Salina to Simla stopping in Limon to check out the Bailey Track. That evening my family grilled a great dinner for the team, and we were early to bed. The following day we left "dark" and early to drive to the base of Pikes Peak. The hike up the mountain was very successful. We stopped many times as we hiked to play games and work on building team chemistry. This journey up the mountain showed each one of my runners just how strong they were physically, but more importantly emotionally. There will be many challenges they face this fall, but after a day climbing the mountain, they know they can overcome the challenges. After we made it back down the mountain, we drove through Garden of the Gods and enjoyed some beautiful views. We capped off the day with some delicious Cold Stone ice cream. On the third day, besides fitting in a few runs, I also allowed them to ride horses and had a great evening of team building and a talent show.
Looking back, it was a bit stressful for me as a coach to put on such a camp, but it was totally worth it, and I hope to make it happen again next year. My team is not just a bunch of runners, but as you can see the engraving on the rock in many pictures, we are a family. If someone wants to go to a bigger school and just be a number, I wish them the best, but for those who are looking for a family to grow in and reach their running, academic, and spiritual goals, I would encourage those runners to consider Kansas Wesleyan University.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Boulder Half Ironman DNF

Today is a day I will never forget. This day marked my first race in all my running career which I did not finish. This may seem very uncharacteristic of me, but in my defense I did survive over 30 miles of riding my bike with a dislocated shoulder and ran 8.5 miles on a 13.1 mile course before throwing in the towel and passing out from a heat stroke.
Rewind to the beginning. The Boulder Half Ironman began with high hopes and marked my last triathlon of the 2012 season. After spending the summer training at altitude, putting in many races, and even getting a new bike this year along with going to Swim Labs in Denver to break down my swim stroke, everything appeared to be in line for a low 4:20's race.

By random selection, my age group swim wave went off 1 entire hour after the first wave which made it certain that I would be competing in the 100+ degree weather. In spite of swimming over the top of hundreds of people, I managed a new 1.2 mile swim PR of 34:40.
Out of the water and onto the bike- I was flying. Everything was going great, my nutrition plan was right on schedule between the water, energy drinks, and energy gels; the day was setting up perfect. Just before mile 25 on the bike as I passed an aid station, I pulled wide left to avoid the chaos. Unfortunately a woman who I believe had come to a stop to get a water bottle took off on her bike, and while fiddling with her water bottle, her front tire "T-Boned" my front wheel just behind the front fork. At her speed, she did not go down; however, I went flying over the handle bars. My shoulder, neck, and head broke my fall, and there was only minor damage to the bike. I quickly got up and in spite of my anger, I grabbed my bike and stood it up. A volunteer ran over to check on me and held up my bike while I put the chain back on. After the chain was on, she asked if she could help. I said, "Yes, take that water bottle and spray the dirt and blood off my shoulder." After that I was back on my way to finish the bike with my right arm losing feeling and having numbness, but I believed I had just severely bruised it.  I finished the 56 miles in 2:29.19, a new PR even with the stoppage for the wreck.

To the run! Knowing I was in pain and that I had spent a lot more energy than planned to finish the bike which put me in nutrition and hydration debt, I took water at every aid station until mile 6. At that point, I became very dizzy and stopped to walk for 100m while trying the triathlon cure of Coke, Gatorade, and water. As I continued, I became more and more dizzy as I dropped to nearly a 7 min mile pace as I threw up multiple times. At the top of the hill past mile 8, I swerved, and it was clear I was about to pass out. I sat down, and luckily a runner ran ahead and sent back an EMT on a Gator. He brought water and fought with me for a few minutes as I wanted to continue the race. He made me realize I was about to pass out and got me into his cart. After a few minutes of driving, I passed out in his cart and was awakened by people carrying me into the medical tent.

In the tent they managed to figure out that my shoulder was out of the socket, so put it back in place. Unfortunately, I was not passed out at the time they put it into place. I was so dehydrated that it took several attempts to get an IV in. Before my afternoon was over, I had received 3000 ml of fluids. After fighting to keep me conscious, the workers in the aid tent made the decision to load me into the ambulance and haul me to Boulder Community Hospital. There, they continued with fluids, ran x-rays, and even did an EKG on my heart. It took my mom and brother a long time to arrive at the hospital because they didn't know where I was or what had happened until I had made it to the hospital. Finally, I was released and am doing very well recovering here at the Bailey Ranch.

I am bothered by the fact that I did not finish the race, but I don't know many people who can stand enough pain to ride 30+ miles and run over 8 miles with a dislocated shoulder. Also, the fact that I ended up passing out shows I pushed myself literally to the limits and still managed 2 personal bests. I really appreciate the texts, calls, emails, comments, and most of all the prayers. I literally said over 200 prayers and was reciting Bible verses from the wreck till I was released from the hospital. The Lord is my strength, and although my finish may not have been as glorifying as I had imagined, I spent some quality time with Him and am blessed to have Him looking out for me.