I have spent the last 17 weeks training for my first half marathon with a wonderful group of women – Women in Motion. The training was tough and I knew the half was going to be one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. But I was ready!
However, my half marathon did not go as expected. There was a 30% chance of rain, but no reports of a major storm in the weather report. I had a cheap plastic poncho a warm layer thinking that would be good enough.
However, the marathon goes down a beautiful canyon and the storm funneled right up that canyon, so when I made the turn to head to the causeway and then go down the canyon, the storm exploded out of the canyon.
My friend and I, Nina, fought for 2 miles through 50+ mph winds and rain and hail. We couldn’t see where we were walking and there were boulders in the road that the wind had brought down from the mountain. I kept wondering if this was my forest gump storm moment. But we kept pushing through hoping that once we got in the canyon it would get better.
We made it into the canyon and the storm raged on :(. By this time, my legs were burning from the icy rain hitting them, my face was puffy from the rain, and my shoes were holding 5 lbs of water each. I thought even if the storm subsides, I’m not going to have any skin left on my feet if I do the walk. I thought about having my dad bringing me new shoes and socks at the other end of the canyon, but that was 5 miles away still. So finally, I decide for my own health and safety it was time to call it quits. I told the sheriff behind us that we had to stop, and he said he call for a shuttle for us.
My friend and I went to grab shelter under a deck at a conference center in the canyon. We we got there, we found a 73 women that we had seen earlier going into severe hypothermia shock. I gave her my poncho to wrap around her legs to try to get her warm. Then the elite marathon runners started to go by. And we had one make it over to us and start to collapse, I gave him my emergency blanket. He kept trying to pass out. I ran out to the sheriff and said we have a medical emergency and we need help. He said he see what he could do and would be back. I asked if he had any blankets and the answer was no. And he left. Then we had another marathoner come to us colapsing with hypothermia, my friend and I pulled out our extra ponchos to wrap around him. I took of my soaked coat, which was fleece so it was warm and wrapped it around him. I felt completely helpless trying to get these three who were shivering and trying to pass out warm and from getting worse. I told them to curl up and get their blood to the core. Finally, we found a door open in a back room of this conference room. We carried the one runner who could no longer walk back into the room and got the woman back there. The room was a storage room so there was only room for the worst off back there.
I was about to go run to the medic tent about half mile away to try to get help, but final about 15 minutes later the sheriff finally pulled his head out of his butt and came back and loaded up the woman, the first runner, and another older gentleman, and took them to the medic tent. The ambulance had been called but had to come from the bottom of the canyon. Now I got to hide with the marathon runner that was going bad into shock and had my coat and my friend who now was also going into hypothermia. I had to help her pull her arms out of her clothes to wrap against her body and put under her arm pits. Another sheriff came back and got them into his warm truck and then told the rest of us to walk back to medic tent. I have no coat or poncho at this point because I gave to those who needed it more. Luckily my friend said she was not going without me, so the sheriff let me into the truck.
So I was taken by the sheriff to the next medic tent where I could get a few emergency blankets. Then my friend who would get on an ambulance or see the medic because she was irrational with hypothermia and I loaded on a bus. It had the heat on but it wasn’t enough and we had to sit on it for an hour before they finally drove us back to the finish line. My friend was right next to the heat, so she did warm up and come out of hypothermic shock.
When we made it back to the finish line and got off the bus, the wind was still blowing. I couldn’t keep my emergency blankets around me in the wind. I was just trying to walk over to where my parents were with a warm blanket and dry clothes, but the marathon finish had the road block and I couldn’t get to them. That was my last straw and all my adrenaline was gone, so I slip into hypothermic shock and start shaking uncontrollably and can barely walk. My friend is now pushing me to keep moving to get to a hotel where I can get warm. Luckily we run into another friend who has an extra blanket which they wrap around me and saves me from getting worse. She didn’t need that blanket and just had a feeling that she should bring it. And that blanket totally saved me.
So I did not finish, but I had one of the wildest, scariest adventures of my life. However, I claim that I won in one way that no other racer can claim. I am the breaking and entering champion of 2016! My friend Nina who was racing with me, made me a medal for it. This by far is one of the most special awards I have ever received and I could barely keep from crying when she gave it to me. I was disappointed about not finishing, but now I have to think that maybe God had a different purpose for me that day. So I’m happy with the result. Next weekend I am planning to do a Christina Half Marathon and inviting all my friends to walk with me and celebrate at the end.