Wow that was painful! But before I get in to that I want to write about the Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) guys. I am in total awe of these guys! After the 5K and 1K kid’s race these guys did a EOD Bomb Suit Relay race. There were 4 teams of four men would run 1mile each in a 100 plus pound EOD Bomb Suit. They first team member would run a mile take off the suit so the next could put it on and run, who would them run the mile this repeated another two times till all four team members had run a mile each in the bomb suit. It was amazing; as each person came running toward the finish line you could see the pure determination in their face. Check out this video.
So before I left for the Philippines I signed up to run the 3rd Annual EOD Warrior 5k Memorial Day, Monday, May 25th at NTC Park San Diego. If you read my other blog entries you will know that on that trip I got really sick so had not been running at all, 19 days to be exact. So as luck would have it the night before the race I was not able to sleep; I’m not 100% sure but pretty sure it was the jet lag; I laid in bed all night with my eyes closed trying to sleep but no matter how hard I tried and no matter what I did sleep evaded me.
When the alarm finally went off at 5:30AM I had a headache from lack of sleep so I took two ibuprofen and jumped in the shower. I thought to myself ahhhh it’s ‘ONLY’ a 5K I can do this easy even though I didn’t get any sleep. Since I was up early and we didn’t need to be at the race until 8:45AM I decided to make breakfast for my wife and eight year old son who were still sleeping. I rousted them out of bed at about 6:30 and we were out of the house by 8:00; I was still thinking even though I’m tired it’s ONLY a 5K and it will be over quick, no problem.
I was excited for this race even though it was ONLY a 5K because it was my eight year old first time running a race. When he found out I was running in this race he asked if he could run too so I entered him in the kids 1K; so I was excited to watch him run and get his medal at the end.
After parking at NTC Park San Diego I felt strange because I was standing in very place I ran 38 years, 5 months and 25 days prior. NTC Park is where the United States Naval Training Center (NTC) stood back in 1977 when and where I went to bootcamp. As a matter of fact the running route ran though allot of the places I ran, marched, and practiced while attending.
The 5K was supposed to start a 9:00AM but they were a little delayed so they didn’t start loading us in the ‘shoot’ until about 9:30AM. I’ve never been this tightly compressed at the starting line of a race so this was new for me. We were loaded by speed; sub 7 or better first, 8 and 9’s next, then the rest. I chose to load in the 8/9 pool but wish I would have loaded in the 7’s because when the horn went off it was total madness. People would run fast and then for whatever reason slows down, then there were people moving right and left causing me to drop off my pace. Then there were the people with dogs and strollers you had to watch out for. It’s kind of a confidence killer when a stroller passes you LOL. It wasn’t until about the 1/8 mile mark things thinned out to where I was able to keep a steady pace.
I was okay for the first mile; my pace was at 7:37 per mile a little faster than planned so I throttle back just a bit. It was in the first part of the 2nd mile I started to get fatigued; I knew I was in trouble. I was breathing though my mouth and my throat was getting really dry and I wished I had brought a bottle of water so that I could just wet it. By about a one and half mail mark I was running out of steam and I started having thoughts about walking but I wouldn’t do it, I couldn’t do it, so just kept running. At about 1 and ¾ mark we were coming to a bridge, at the foot of the bridge was a water station so I grabbed a Dixie cup of water as a ran by; most of it ended up on my shirt but I got just enough to wet my now raw throat. The bridge had a pretty good incline and most days I would have loved to run up it but today I had to fight to not only get up the bridge but to go to the other side and then return back up the bridge again going the opposite direction. I was spent and to make things worse I suddenly needed to pee.
I had reached that point where I started to question if this was worth it or not, I wondered what the hell I was doing. My mind was trying to convince me to just walk, I had the devil on one shoulder tell me just walk, just a little break.. you can make it up at the end.. whats it going to hurt YOUR ONLY RUNNING AGAINST YOURSELF ANYWAY! Then I had the other guy on the other shoulder; Don’t do it! Don’t do it!, don’t listen to that guy, don’t be a pussy!, Common man solider up you’ve been though worse, you can DO THIS. In the end it was the shirt that I was running in that kept me going because it read “UNITED STATES NAVY SEABEES – Proudly Served 1977 – 1983” I couldn’t quit because there was no way I could let the SEABEES be associated with a quitter; but I gotta tell you when I ran past the porta potty’s I was really tempted.
I sprinted the last 75 yards or so to the finish line placing 203rd out of 699 runners in 26:54.7 minutes for an average pace of 8:41 min per mile. For the Age group 50-59 Men, I came in 12th of 34. After crossing the finish line I almost ran past the person placing the finisher’s medals on the runners in my rush to get to the porta potty’s before I peed on myself.
I’m disappointed in my performance but I’ll do better next time.
When it came time for my little man to run I lined up with him. Luckily, one of the boys from his cub scout den also showed up to run so it gave him someone to hangout with and run with that he knew. At the horn the kids took off FAST! I got stuck behind some other parents and small kids so I cut across the grass at an angle to catch up to him. I ran parallel to him in the grass and encouraged him when he would slow down. There were two time I could see him slow down and could tell he thought about walking but with a little coaxing and assurance he pushed on like a champ. About 100 yards from the finish line he took off like a rocket! I was taken by surprise and he left me in the dust. He was huffing and puffing when I caught up to him “I made it without dying! My legs are dead!” you could see the joy and pride in his face as they placed the finisher medal on him.
Later that morning he said “Dad, I should run with you when you run” which told me I think I found a sport my son, whose somewhat a loner, a sport he will thrive in.