Weary but happy
After my disaster race of 2007 I had to find out why I passed out at the end and blew that one so bad. Initially I pinned my poor performance on dehydration as that was what the first aid folks said. It seemed probable. All year I certainly was more careful about fluid intake. In late summer, and into the fall I had some reoccurrence of dizziness and rapid heart rate. This year I began to wear a hear rate monitor. I noticed that in some of my long runs my rate would go up and not come down, even after stopping and breathing normally. This was scary for me.
My father died at 35 of a sudden heart attack. I wondered just how stupid I was to do this running with that history and for a while felt down and confused. I went to an amazing Doctor in Manhattan whose specialty is cardiology. She was so great and thoughtful and concerned. I had every test I could have, ran with event monitors to see if I could re-create the symptoms. She also put me on blood pressure medication to finally deal with my high blood pressure. That might have in the end been the cause of my rapid heart rate last year and this fall. I felt great on the medication with no side effects. But that wasn't all. There then was a question about me having an enlarged heart. This caused concern and as a result I saw another cardiologist. He felt that the size was due to being an athlete and not due to damage from the blood pressure. Still, HE wouldn't give me a go ahead until I got a magnetic resonance test. This is one of those great color 3D images that can show everything. I got the all clear the day I had to start the Time cover. That was a good day.
So, I got ready to race. I trained all year to run slower and steady, so no more going out fast. My desire and goal was to HOLD BACK. I repeated this mantra to myself all race..."hold back!" When runners inched past me I resisted the sprinter in me and let them go by, even if that meant looking at my feet. I actually spent much of my time scanning the faces of the spectators, slapping kid's hands. Amazing experience.
I went out slow and tried to just run and not get winded. I never did and never hit any wall. I'm amazed! I ate goo all day but also feasted on spectator bananas and oranges, water and more gatorade than you want to drink in a year.
For those that know this race, it ended like this. As I entered the Bronx I pulled off my earphones and took in the sounds. The music in the Bronx was loud and fun this year. I waited for the sudden and upsetting wall to wash over me and then I was on the bridge to leave the Bronx. Out of that borough and into Manhattan and I could feel that the last 5 miles would be easy. Still, I held back. I passed my family cheering section at 93rd and smiled this year to let them know I was fine. It was now time to push. I started opening my stride and felt fine. Now I entered the park and looked for Dave Flaherty who said he was there to watch bleeding nipples on the hill. I scanned the folks but missed him if he was there. Soon, I could see ahead, the place where I fell out of the race last year; mile 25. I burst past it and headed for the finish line. With the lights and crowd in view and sprinted. I raised my arms in victory and crossed the finish line with a smile. It was perfect.
I heard from so many people pre-race and that day and I have to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. It meant a ton.