Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Rethinking my Motivations

Lately I’ve been thinking about why I run.  I know that I started because I wanted to lose some weight, get my heart in better condition, maybe even get to a point where I no longer need to take my blood pressure meds.  And then I ran my first marathon, and suddenly it became, “I can beat 5:15.”  I’ve even had small delusions of grandeur where I think “If I find the right race, and be a bit more dedicated to the training, I could get a BQ, all I need to do is knock 1:50 off of my time.”

And then came Saturday.
I had been signed up for a half marathon, that was suddenly and thankfully (since I wasn’t really trained for it) cancelled.  And since I’m an alumnus of Team in Training I had been invited to work a water stop in the Big Cottonwood Marathon.  That’s always fun, so we went.

I’ll definitely work this marathon again because the volunteer jerseys are really nice.
Anyway, our water stop was at about the 25 mile marker, and at about 2 or 2.5 hours into the marathon, we had our hands full with the main pack of the half marathon, when I looked up the road and could see a couple of guys carrying a third between them.  The third guy was slumped over, barely conscious, so I yelled at my wife, to get a chair ready.

When these guys got up to us, I could see that the unconscious guy had a full marathon bib on, but the other two guys didn’t have any kind of bib at all.  When Terri told them to put the runner in the chair, they said “No, he can make the last mile.” 
I love it when my wife gets mad, and it’s not directed at me.
“He’s not even awake!” she said, “Put him in the chair!”  So rather than tangling with a 5'-5" mother of 4, they wisely put their friend in the chair, at which point they began to try to revive him with water and Gatorade.

When I looked over at them, I was kind of praying that this guy wouldn’t die, because we was looking like he was considering it… and I’m not being metaphorical here.  He was seriously looking like he was about to expire.
At about that time a police officer rode up on his motorcycle, and immediately contacted medical.  The whole time this was going on, the two guys who had dragged the patient in to the water stop were insisting that this potential corpse was capable of finishing the last 1.2 miles.  When the cop asked them who they were, one of them said that he was his coach.  HIS COACH!?!  Are you freaking kidding me?

Well, "the coach" shut up pretty fast when the medics arrived, checked the runner’s blood oxygen levels and immediately slapped an O2 mask on his face, they then decided that he was most likely severely dehydrated as well and started an IV.  A few minutes after that, the runner started coming around.  He was then put in an ambulance and driven to an area hospital.
I just could not believe the stupidity of that coach.  And I started to wonder… is a BQ that important?  Is it so important that you would put your health, your life in the hands of some guy who would rather drag your lifeless carcass over the finish line, than have you not finish?

So ya… I started reevaluating the reasons why I run, and what it is I want to accomplish with my running, and I’ve decided that running is really only my way of finding balance in my life.  That through running I can do great things for my health and my body, and that while I may run races in the future, I will be doing it for fun, and to maybe race my own personal bests, but I know my limits and while I may push those limits, I know that a BQ is beyond those limits, and I'm Okay with that.
I will go to Boston one day, and I will most likely try to go as a volunteer.  I will try to work a water stop, or an aid station, or anything else.  And I will rejoice in the spectacle that is the human spirit.


Melissa said...

Great post! That poor guy!

PlumpRunner said...

That's the only way I'll make it to Boston too. And I think it will be amazing to just be there :)

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