Sunday, July 3, 2011

Running On Faith. The Fairfield Half Marathon 2011

I ran another one. This race was harder than the last one for several reasons. It was mostly hills; I hate hills, it was June 26th; much hotter than the October 9 race, and oh yeah I went through that pesky coma, brain trauma, broken jaw, broken wrist, titanium face implants, right homonymous hemianopsialegally, (which in English means blindness that is caused by brain damage) and optic nerve damage, the day after the last race. Okay sure maybe I am being a wimp but all those little things combined makes for one tougher Half Marathon. So how does a suppose-to-be-dead girl get conned into running the hardest Half in Connecticut you ask? I think that brain damage part had something to do with it. I was not making sense a lot of times, and many missing memories, when a friend suggested we do the race together AND she would drive me there, I was very agreeable, probably even enthusiastic. The missing memory part was the culprit, forgetting how hard the last one was, plus now I had something to prove.

The day after my first and only Half a reporter told me the accident I was involved in was heard over the police scanner as a fatality. Cops aren’t right all the time. I was taken to a hospital and the doctors told my family I was not likely to live. Doctors aren’t right all the time either. Plus I am not very fond of a big time specialty doc at Yale who said I would not get any better. I have. Hey I ain’t no slacker Buck-O but back to the race, this is not a blog on coming back from the dead, that will be another blog. I start training, my friend Kelly and I plan to run 8 miles of the hardest part of the course. We go to a place with a parking lot and crazy enough it’s where my pediatrician office was. He has long since relocated to doctor heaven. When I was a kid going there was a big deal. We get out of the car, Kelly pees in the parking lot so she won’t have to do that on someone lawn later. Over an hour and a Gu later we finish, it was tough. 5 weeks to go, no problem.

The next week it’s her, me and Elizabeth, a super fast runner friend of Kelly’s. Park in the same spot and their off, they run so far ahead of me I occasionally see them in the distance. Being slow and mostly blind stinks more than usual today. Midpoint Kelly pees at a secluded side of the road near a bridge, I caught up to her but she gone again, next I see super fast Elizabeth find a porta potty, I keep running as hard and as fast as I can and pass the WC. Run, run, run, it was probably only a minute but I was ahead of Elizabeth. Then I hear the tap tap of running shoes on the pavement, tap, tap, so much faster than my thud thuds. She passes me. I look at her she is focused, got her running face on and that is the last I will see of her until I make it back to the car to find them both stretching and waiting for me. 4 weeks to go.

The next week a benefit concert is thrown for me so I can pay some hospital bills. I can’t run with them. Elizabeth is now out of the race do to a running injury! What? She’s the best one. Then another one of Kelly’s friends is out due to injury. I was in a coma, in critical condition just several months prior and I am more healthier than them?? Impossible.

I check the race website, it’s sold out but I am not listed as a runner. Oh no this is not happening! I send an email; no reply. I contacted my bank, the check was cashed so I should be fine but I had major brain trauma and this is causing more trauma for me. It took some time and more e-mails but I got my conformation. I would be bib number 700, my friend Kelly who registered way before me was 2792. It makes no sense I know.

Kelly and I do another run of a different part of the course, this time she parked at the library because although we wanted to park at the beach where it would start the beach wanted 20 bucks. We said we were runners doing a practice run, hint hint, there were only two cars in a lot that would hold hundreds of others, but who’s counting, nudge nudge. Nothing. I woulda paid a couple bucks, no way would we will pay 20. Kelly peed at the library. I use to pee a lot more but I cut back on my water intake since I did some research and learned I was drinking too much. However I sometimes get the pre-run poo, that’s so lovely. I now down a half bottle of Kaopectate and so far it works. Our run was tough, I pushed it at the end since I knew where the end would be. We only did 8 miles instead of the 9 we set out to do, it should have been much easier than it was. 2 weeks til race day. That was our last run together. I did a few 5 milers and gym workouts but no more long runs. We both had a good attitude, we would finish even if we had to walk to the end.

Race Day:

Elizabeth drove, she couldn’t run but she wanted to support our efforts. We got off the exit an hour and a half before the race and traffic was at a stand still. Everyone was going. Slowly we made it to the lot. Now onto bib search and vender booths for free stuff. Alone Elizabeth and I talked about running the Chicago Marathon and we would convince Kelly to do it also. It's pre-race line up so Kelly returned and we made our way over. Girls start one place guys another, then we all join up after a mile or so. There’s the gun and we’re off.

Mile One. Too fast! We wanted to do a 12 min mile pace but did a 10:30 pace. It is too easy and awesome, plus live music from different bands played. It’s a great day.

Mile Two: Guys joined girls, still running awesome-ish

Miles Three: I slow down just a tad, still a nice pace.

Mile Four: First hill, it’s long but I can do it. I slow down even more

Mile Five: Oh crap, nothing but hills. Kelly and I hook up, she said she was with me the whole time I had no clue.

Miles Six and Seven: I think all I am doing is taking walk breaks up these stupid hills, aren’t they suppose to go down too? How come I don’t notice the down just the up? I must need a Gu to think clearer.

Mile Eight: People are packing up their lawn chairs and heading to their cars. The roads are half open and cars are driving too fast near us. Apparently all the fast runners have finished, most people do not like the slower ones

Mile Nine: Crappy guitar player doing an awful solo, I play guitar so I know he stinks. I run as fast as I can to get out of listening range…maybe that was his intent, or maybe he’s fine and I just need more Gu

Mile Ten: DJ and people hold up funny signs cheer us on, Kelly and I dance our way past the music. We have lost out minds and we swear we will never ever do this again. What were we thinking signing up?! This is so hard we vow only to do 5k's from now on.

Mile Eleven: Oh crap. I finally feel the hill going down, muscle spasm big time. How the heck am I going to finish in this much pain? My thigh totally spasms up but I still ran. That has never happened before and I have been through so many different aliments over the years.

Mile Twelve. Kelly says she has to slow down, I tell her no, run on your ego, she repeats she has to slow down, I tell her no, run on my ego. We pick it up our pace we must be lunatics.

Mile 13.1 I literally sprinted to the finish and pass two people. I cross the finish line and an EMT worker seeing me hang on to the edge of something, I have no clue what, asks if I need medical attention I say no, I move down and lean over something else. Another worker comes over and says they have oxygen and I can get looked at in the ambulance. No, I am fine just give me pizza.

Kelly and I grab some watermelon and lemonade, I down 3 slices of pizza way too fast. It was a very cool race once it was over. In the middle of the race I couldn’t believe how hard it was but it’s over so I am okay with it. As the days go by the race seems more fun. More days pass and I am signing up for another one Sept 17th. Yeah I do forget how hard they are and how much I don’t want to do them when I am in the middle of doing them. It wasn’t the brain damage, missing memories at all, it’s just my personal craziness.


  1. Wow! That's an amazing story, Carole, and you are an excellent writer. What do you mean that men started in one place and women, another? I had never heard of that.
    I thought you were going to rip the guitar out of that guys hands and give him a guitar lesson!
    Did the GUs help you?
    Oh, I hear you about the thigh cramp. I got the same thing in my first race after my first marathon. It was two weeks after. It stopped me for about 10 seconds. I thought my race was over. Another runner urged me on, though.
    I'm glad some fans hung around to cheer on the slower runners. I clap for the slower runners as they pass the finish line.

  2. Incredible Carole -- only a year after the accident! Congrats. I am AMAZED. : )