Challenge,  running

The Promised Running Post

I Finished…

It was not pretty, but I finished and that is all that counts.

A number of days back I did a post about finishing the 5K on Saturday in cold and wind and stunning amounts of rain.

What I didn’t mention that was when I got home after a fun dinner with Lisa and Ron Collins and Brenda and Dave Hendrickson, four hours had gone by and when I took my shoes off, there was a puddle on the floor and my socks were soaking wet. And worse yet, my feet looked like prunes and all my carefully built-up protection from blisters was gone.

Now, I am stunningly out of shape at the moment, twenty pounds overweight (30 from my best running weight), and 72 years old. But I figured I could finish the 5K one day and the half marathon (13.1 miles) the next. I had really worked on getting the feet in shape. That had been my concern.

Well turns out, the rain killed that prep the day before, and the extra weight caused another issue I had not planned on.

So with Ron Collins following me in his car, we picked up Dave at his hotel. Ron was doing the 10K that started in the same place as the half and I knew how to get fairly close for parking so we only had to walk about a half mile before and a half mile after.

All went well and I was sent out a full half hour before Ron and Dave.

And after the first three miles I realized just how much the run in the extreme weather the day before had taken out of me. I was out of shape and overweight and now also exhausted. So I dropped into a little running, but mostly my fast golf walk, which Kris has to run to keep up with. I can maintain that for a very long time.

All good out to the airport and back through the heart of the Strip. It was a nice night, a little cold, but nice.

Then about a mile from the downtown area (about eight miles into the 13) I started having lower back spasms. I blamed it on the extra weight I was carrying and called Kris to bring Advil. I was going to meet Kris a block from our place and Brenda was going to meet Dave, and Lisa Collins and Lisa Silverthorne were going to cheer as we went by and then came back by again after a mile or so downtown.

Advil might have helped. I don’t know. I was still in pain. Kris stayed with me all the way to mile ten where I was in pretty bad pain. At this point I decided I was crossing the finish line no matter what.

At mile #11 there was a tent for the Bio-Freeze people. I figured anything to kill the pain, so I went in and they sprayed my lower back and by heavens, it worked, so I knew I wasn’t having a kidney problem.

Worked great and I felt almost human. For about one mile.

Medical tent at mile 12 had Bio-Freeze and they sprayed my back again and it worked until right before the finish when the pain came back so bad I couldn’t catch my breath. I sort of remember the finish line and them handing me a medal. I was stumbling toward another medical tent when Dave found me.

He had heard from Brenda when he finished about 15 minutes ahead of me (he actually beat me by forty-five minutes in time since I started 30 ahead of him. He had heard that I had a back issue and he had picked up my extra medal and  talked his way through security back into the exit chute to help me. (Exit chute was a half mile long.)

We made it to another medical tent and with a double dose of Bio-Freeze, I was ready to go.

Dave and I made it to the car and the moment I sat down in that wonderful custom-fit seat of the Cadillac, my back eased and except for a slight “careful” sign from it when I move wrong, no issue since, but wow, that pain was something and I won’t do a distance like that again without dropping this twenty pounds I am carrying on my stomach. And carrying Bio-Freeze..

Thanks, Dave, for the help!! You are a fantastic writer and even a better person.

So I got home after dropping Dave off. Kris met me at the car and I discovered on the way up to our condo that it wasn’t my back that was now causing pain, but my feet. I had done that day just over 18 miles total in steps (37,000 steps), had started with soft baby-like feet from being soaked the day before, and I once again had socks full of blood.

So I have done little except at my computer the last four days and rested a lot. Almost feeling human and I got out some today for the first time and felt like I could walk again.  Blisters are getting better quickly. So all good there, and no sign of the back, but I know it is waiting for me to not lose the weight to punish me once again.

It will take me some months, but the weight will be gone. And I will do exercises in the gym under professional help to strengthen those back muscles.

But no matter what, I finished both races. And I actually beat a few of the old guys in my age bracket, but very few. I came in under four hours and Dave was close to three hours.

However, I beat everyone my age and younger who didn’t start. And to be honest, even with the pain and the struggles, I am damn proud of that.

Thanks, Kris, for the fantastic support on this. And Dave for coming back to my rescue.

So pictures…

First is me knocking on my head to see if I still had a brain before I left. Seems it was missing.

Next picture of me just making distance vanish. That is my pain face.

Next picture by Lisa of Kris and I going back past the building and Kris staying with me until Mile #10

This is Dave passing me and Kris somewhere between mile 9 and 10. I got a thirty minute head start and he passed me in 9 miles. Amazing.

Me in the car after I got home afraid to get out.

The three medals to prove I finished them both. They are now hanging proudly on my wall in our entry way. Two very hard-fought races. (Got the third because I did both.)


  • Deb Miller

    Wow! You are amazing, Dean! Most people wouldn’t have finished the 5K in those conditions, let alone come out the next day for a half. I love your comment that you “beat everyone your age and younger who didn’t start”. Good analogy to what you and Kris always say about writing. It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be finished. Congrats!

    • dwsmith

      Exactly, Deb. Exactly. Finish and move on.
      Picked up packets for the Raiders 5K tomorrow morning. Well, that will be interesting. (grin)

  • Annie Reed

    Congratulations!! Finishing under those conditions is no small thing. Bio-Freeze is amazing stuff. So is Point Relief, which our chiropractor recommended over Bio-Freeze. It’s like the nuclear option for knotted-up muscles.

  • Desikan

    Wow Dean!

    Congratulations …..

    Inspiring as always. Just unimaginable for someone like me who is much younger than you.
    Staying fit is a very important aspect for anyone with a desk job, especially writers.

    Something to remember and follow your foot steps [literally :)].

    Just do it.