Strength and Weakness


The 2015 Barrie Waterfront Half Marathon was my 4th Half Marathon, and by far my strongest race to date.  Finishing in the top 23% of the entire field of 330 Half Marathoners, my finishing chip time ended up being over 12 minutes quicker than my previous personal best.

View event: http://www.zoomphoto.ca/event/19740/

Image via Zoom Photo

Crossing that finishing line I felt very powerful and so strong.  But coming from that full blown final push to the finish, after 21.1 kilometres, then abruptly stopping, and starting to walk, all of a sudden everything started spinning around me.  To keep myself from collapsing, I grabbed the shoulders of the person nearest to me.  Immediately realizing what I just done so abruptly, through my dizziness I blurted out, “I am SO, SO sorry”.  Then taking my hands off the young ladies shoulders, I bent over, and steadied myself with my elbows on my knees.  A gloved hand reached out and gently rested itself on the middle of my back, and in a calming voice she said, “Take deep breaths”. Then she added, “It is what I am here for”.

Charging towards the finish liner! View event: http://www.zoomphoto.ca/event/19740/

Charging towards the finish line! Image via Zoom Photo

 

After about only 30 seconds, I felt completely fine.  It was as if nothing ever really happened.  Standing straight up again, the dear lady, who was an emergency medic working at the finish line pointed to a table filled with bottles of water.  I picked up my finishing medal, grabbed a bottle of water and drank away.

On the verge of collapsing. View event: http://www.zoomphoto.ca/event/19740/

On the verge of collapsing. Image via Zoom Photo

Soon several of my running team, many having completed the 5k and 10 k runs were praising me and giving me fist pumps, high fives and hugs.  Outwardly, I was taking it all in stride, but inwardly my mind kept playing those 30 seconds at the finish line, where I felt SO weak, and SO vulnerable.  Did any of my running friends actually see me in this condition?

After arriving home, I did what most people will do if they require medical information…..I googled it.  I typed in “dizziness after running a marathon”, and pages of articles came up.   They all pretty well said the same thing, some more technical than others.  The easiest article to understand that provided answers was from Runners Connect, with the article “Why Runners Collapse During or After a Race?”

Fortunately the medic lady was right there to keep me from collapsing.  But it frightened me, and gave a vivid reminder how frail life is.  One minute I am running strong and powerful charging towards the finish line, the next minute I am weak and dizzy and on the verge of collapse.

Often through my own observations, I find society has the perspective that health and fitness represent strength.  But I also see much greater strength far removed from the gym or the marathon course.  I see strength in the person fighting cancer, having to face treatment after treatment with the will to survive.  I see strength within people with Multiple Sclerosis, or Fibromyalgia.  To be able to go on, despite such pain and discomfort.  I see strength in those with physical and mental disabilities.  Overcoming barriers, it takes a lot of perseverance to fit in, and be a part of this world.  I see strength in the one who has lost a dear loved one to death.  As difficult as it is, to have that will and fight to carry on is astounding.

I am not a strong person, and in reality, I am very, very weak.   I get irritable when I get a cold,  whine when I stub my toe, and get impatient waiting a minute at a traffic light.  I take my health way too much for granted.  I know it could change very, very quickly.  All it could take is an infected tick bite while hiking, and I could contract Lyme disease, or any pathogen that invades the body could change one’s health very quickly.  An accident could happen, or who knows, even a collapse at a finish line where one hits their head on the pavement.

A big thank you the Barrie Waterfront Half marathon for such a well run event.  And a special thank you to the emergency medic lady working the finish line.  You positioned yourself very strategically, you were focused, was right there when I needed help, and got me through that critical 30 seconds.  Without you, things might have ended up much different!  THANK YOU!

My running bib, cool event jersey, and sweet finishers medal! :)

My running bib, cool event jersey, and sweet finishers medal! 🙂

Life is very precious.  Please live each day to the fullest, and please remember to tell those you love that you love them.

Thank your for reading!  🙂

~Carl~

P.S.  I am curious.  Particularly from my running readers, have any of experienced dizziness immediately following a race?  If you do, how do you prevent it from happening, or at least lower the risks?  Thank you!  🙂

Categories: RunningTags: , , , ,

66 comments

  1. What a beautiful message, Carl! I love when life serendipitously hands us the opportunity to find something much deeper than what we see on surface levels, and it sounds like you received this gift after your latest race. I agree that it is often times the very people who appear the weakest on the outside who are the strongest on the inside. And aside from the deeper meaning, congratulations on your accomplishment- shaving twelve minutes off of your PR is no small feat!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Karen so much for understanding head on what I was hoping to convey. That finish line experience really got me thinking long and deep. Sometimes I am so far out in left field when it comes to the true meaning of strength, and it really does take events like this to put everything in a proper perspective.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read, and write such a beautifully articulated comment.

      Have a great weekend my friend! 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Like

  2. Your posts always bring me to tears. You are able to parallel your marathons with life with such beauty and humanity so naturally. Your genuine, authentic and loving soul comes through each time. It leaves me in awe and so blessed to call you my friend. Yes, every post leaves me with that.

    Sometimes, I will say to people that you find your greatest strength in your weaknesses. I have had to learn that through not just my recovering my abuse but also my physical pain. This post so beautifully stated that.

    Congrats on your run. You deserve it. You are an amazing human being and your blog touches many, as I am sure you touch so many each day. Much love to you always. -CC

    Liked by 1 person

    • “You find your greatest strength in your weaknesses” I have never heard this before CC, I really love it. It is so true. Thank you for this.

      You were certainly on my mind as I collected my thoughts to write this post. I see so much strength within you, it humbles me when my aches, pains and troubles I get from time to time are so petty in comparison to what you face daily. Your blog posts no doubt provide strength and courage to many, many people.

      You are a beautiful human being, and a dear friend. Thank you for always being so caring and supportive. I too am in awe to be blessed to have your friendship.

      Thank you for reading and sharing such a touching, personal, genuine and caring comment.

      Much love always to you from the heart!

      ~Carl~ xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh…well unless I read it somewhere and forgot, that is a CC original..lol….but one last thing dear friend…that I also always say …

        “Never compare people’s pain.” What may seem like little to one may feel so great and what may seem like a huge burden to another may be light to carry to another. It is simply something I never do and do not encourage other’s to do, especially when they read what I write. If I can inspire others that is a wonderful thing, but to some, their pain is just as great or greater. ❤

        Have a great weekend, old man. You look very feisty in those pics, however. Hope all is well with your family. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you so much CC. Your final paragraph put a smile on my face. 🙂

        And thank you for the quote. I can see this being a “CC original.” You always have such an amazing way with words. Thank you always for your encouragement and words of wisdom.

        The famjam is doing great. Take care dear friend and have a wonderful weekend yourself! ❤

        ~Carl~

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Carl, great job on the half marathon and on writing this post. Congrats on your personal best. Events of this magnitude are tough to call. I can get dizzy after a 30+ minute workout, usually because I don’t like to eat before my morning workout. And since you’re over 50 like me, no telling what other random O.L.D. things are lurking in our bodies to try to take us out 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congratulations for finishing the line! Gosh, what experience you had during the marathon, Carl! I guess it is quite intensive sport at certain point..Dutchie had his ankle injured after continuous training and now he has to take easy for a while before starting his next running event. I hope you will be well!! Thank you for sharing valuable message – live each day to the fullest and never forget people around us 🙂 best wishes for your health and have a lovely weekend 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Always wonderful to have you drop by Indah. Thank you so much for reading, and your kind words and concern.

      Sincerely hope Dutchie heals quickly from his injury. Going into peak running season, this must be very difficult for him. It is tough to “take it easy”.

      Keep well Indah, and have a wonderful weekend yourself! 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Like

  5. I am glad all turned out well Carl. Your message is full of wisdom friend. I cannot say for certain why you felt as you did afterwards but it is always a good idea to stay well hydrated and to continue moving for a short while after instead of just stopping. If you feel like that again take a knee if you can and try to squeeze or flex all your legs muscles squeeze / relax /squeeze/relax and so forth…this should help get more blood return back to your heart and brain to keep you conscious. 🙂 Great job out there!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for reading and sharing Shawn. Really should not have stopped so suddenly, and could just imagine my blood pressure plummeting, which would account for the dizziness.

      Yesterday I did a fairly intense 11k training run, but kept up a brisk walk when I finished, and experienced none of the dizziness. Also the flexing/squeezing muscles makes sense. All about getting blood back to the heart.

      Hoping you are healing up okay after that quad tear from the sprinting. Thank you for your kind words. Have a great weekend! 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This was an awesome read, Carl! I’ve never had the dizzies, but once after a long haul I remember crashing on our living room floor with zero energy. What cured it was a can of ginger ale… weird! I think it’s probably a symptom of stress on the body and low sugars. Glad it was only temporary! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a lovely post, Carl. Introspection is such a wonderful gift. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and insight. And, congratulations on your accomplishment! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well done on your 1/2 marathon PB! There’s a reason why medics are at races. We think we’re tough, but we’re human! The only reason I can come up with why you felt faint, is maybe you gave it your all and had nothing left in the tank, literally nothing and blood sugar levels were at a minimum. I’m not an expert by far, but this could be just one reason. Maybe you need to play with carb loading (but not in the pasta sense the night before), loading up gradually through out the week, or take snacks while running. Email Sarah from http://runningonhealthy.com She’s a running coach and may be able to help. And your right, strength isn’t just health and fitness, it’s all around us in many shapes and forms and we don’t acknowledge it enough. Every human has their strength equally as much as they have their weaknesses. One ‘mans’ weakness is another ‘mans’ strength.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Natalie, thank you so much for leaving such a detailed response. You are an amazing friend and support. I have been following Sarah since around the beginning of March. Always hesitant to send a direct e-mail, but with you mentioning it, I think I will.

      I did not have much for breakfast that morning, (was a bit behind) so it could very well could be nothing left in the tank. Carb loading gradually during the week sounds something I might want to try. This afternoon I want to read into this. Have another half marathon next weekend.

      Have a GREAT day!! 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Like

  9. Well done! Very impressed by your achievement of a new PB. And I am very impressed that you felt comfortable to explain the aftermath of the race and your feelings. Your writing may help others in the future. Good stuff!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I really, really appreciate you sharing this. I was actually starting to have second doubts, why did I make myself so vulnerable with writing and sharing this? Thank you for reading, and sharing this extremely timely comment. It could not have come at a better time. 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Like

  10. Such an interesting and thought-provoking post – and I’m not even a runner! I do enjoy your bloggings

    Liked by 1 person

  11. When it comes to running, I push myself to do my best never, so this would never happen to me. I was so surprised to read that the person you grabbed turned out to be a medic. That was a good thing! God provides!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. You look very strong in your photo! What a great post and great message at the end. We are so strong, but yet so fragile. Happy to hear everything turned out okay!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Excellent pictures here Carl! You look raring and pumping 🙂 The adrenaline rush in those last few minutes is so liberating! Congratulations for such a successful marathon. It is not just physical strenght but mental or inner strength that we often talk about about but neglect while practicing. Weird isn’t it how inner strength is independent while a lot of our physical strength depends on our inner stability.
    And while I have not felt dizzy after a run (never really went beyond 7.5K) I did get that “knees buckling” feeling a few weekends back post a hike. I did what you did – Google! I added my own input there – a piece of chocolate or cheese really helped! But that might be my love for food talking 🙂
    Stay happy Carl!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Prajakta. You are always so very supportive.
      The atmosphere of the races really do help me dig deeper and push harder, definitely harder to find that same drive during practice runs. There is nothing quite like it.
      “Google” is great isn’t it? As long as it Is not something life or death as far as medical advice, there is SO much info available on-line that can be applied.
      Your knee buckling does sound a bit disconcerting, hoping all is well. Food really does go a long way to help in many circumstances. I had a slice of pizza and some ‘Clif Bar” (a health food bar) samples. Always taste SO good after all that energy expended.
      Thank you again for dropping by to read and comment.
      Have a wonderful rest of the week. 🙂
      ~Carl~

      Like

  14. Carl, congratulations on completing the Barrie Waterfront Half Marathon, finishing in the top 23%, and cutting 12 minutes off your previous personal best. Amazing! Thank goodness recovery from the dizziness was quick, and the effects were not lingering. Certainly an eye opening experience, one you so gracious turned into a positive. “Life is precious”, very well stated, one I think we tend to forget. A lovely post as always, written from the heart. Please take good care, and keep running!

    Warm wishes,
    Pepperanne

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Wow Carl, what a strong finish and a personal best no less, congratulations! I’ve not experienced that dizziness after a hard run but I don’t do the distances you do either. I do know exactly what you mean though by seeing strength in otherwise not so obvious areas. It seems the times when we are at our most vulnerable is when our greatest abilities are awakened; a sick person who stoically faces treatment, a grieving mother making sure her guests are well cared for, a person at the very end of hope still showing kindness towards others. Thanks for the great reminder of this and on being thankful in the moment for what you have.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia, thank you for reading and sharing your wonderful comment and you are most welcome. I love the examples you shared of people that are pillars of great strength. You come across their path, and you wonder “How do they do this”?
      Thank you for being such a supportive blogging friend! 🙂
      ~Carl~

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Great post and congrats on the finish! I agree we do take our health for granted (for those of us that have been healthy our entire lives) and how quickly things can change! I feel His strength when I am in difficult situations and stop to give thanks as I know he presents us with challenges to “grow” us!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Carl, glad you’re okay! Congrats on finishing your race, and thank you for such a timely, important message. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi Carl,
    Just linked to your blog through Rod’s blog and am enjoying reading it. This is a great post, we all take our health for granted, we do need to step back and appreciate what we have. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the numbers of running, sometimes I like to just be in awe of the fact that my body does what it does.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kristi,

      Rod is great, such a positive encourager for the sport of running. Thank you so much for linking over here. It really means a lot. And thank you for your wonderful comment. The functioning of our bodies is so very incredible, how it thinks, remembers things, converses, and with the running part, how it moves. It really is amazing.

      Thank you again for linking, reading and sharing such a kind, well worded comment. Have found your blog and heading over there now. 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Like

  19. Hi Carl,

    Congrats on your PB! I’ve never felt super dizzy after a race but I have dealt with a little lightheaded feeling and nausea after pushing really hard. Usually this is directly related to inaduquate fueling before a run. Your very brave looking it up in Dr. Google, it always seems to tell me I’m a goner whenever I try finding anything medical! My advice is to get the all clear from your doctor so your not worried about it happening again on future runs. Stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for stopping over Janine. In my heart of hearts I know I need to have a doctor check things over. Had a checkup with an echocardiogram 2 years ago before I seriously started running, and everything was fine back then, but things can change.

      Been working hard for a good full marathon finish this fall. Completed my 1st full last fall, but was nursing an ankle injury, and just went slow and steady to complete it (just under 5 hours). My pace was 1:47:32 for that last half a couple of weekend ago. Would like to train to keep that same pace for the full. Maybe it will be too much for my ticker, I don’t know….LOL. But a doctor’s checkup is due for me.

      Thank you for reading and sharing! 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Like

  20. This might be one of my favorite posts here to date. What thoughtful, humble appreciation for the different kinds of challenges people face – those who could never keep up with you on the track. And congrats on such a fine run.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. I really enjoyed reading this post and especially appreciate you sharing how you put things/strength into perspective. Thanks for the good read and the reminder. The only time I have ever felt super dizzy like that was when I got over excited to cross the finish line at top speed. I have come to realize that those last couple blocks are such a short section of 13.1 miles that I am better off running a more steady pace through out. I just get so excited at the finish line! Who doesn’t right?! Thanks again for sharing your experience and thoughts. Have a wonderful weekend!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Diana for stopping by and sharing your very kind words. You actually described (from the time you became dizzy) what I did, crossing the finish line at top speed. Did another half marathon last weekend. Since I have not yet got to the doctor, decided it would be a more steady pace throughout the entire race, including the finish. And there was no dizziness whatsoever, which is a good thing! 😉
      Thanks again for sharing! 🙂
      ~Carl~

      Like

  22. Carl my sincere congratulations on a wonderful finish. I love this post and how you put life in perspective. We are definitely reading from the same page in the book of life. Each minute is a gift and living big is so important in not wasting such a treasure. It is rare I finish any races strong as you describe but i have found myself dizzy at certain times in races. Sometimes it is dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, lack of oxygen. When the body is given what it needs to correct the issue it often resolves quite quickly. However should the symptoms persist then medical attention is required as one may need IV fluids or a more thorough investigation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sue, we really are reading from that same page, in the book of life. You are experiencing it, and living life to the fullest. I love dropping over, to see what you have been up to, where you have been, and what is next on your list. Life is so precious.

      Thank you for taking the time to read and share. Our bodies are engineered so incredibly, and in the physical demands of a race, our body sends out these warning signals like dizziness or nausea, that something is not quite right. And in the case of injury, pain receptors are engaged. Really mind boggling.

      Thank you again Sue. Appreciate you so very much! 🙂

      ~Carl~

      Liked by 1 person

  23. How very profound and touching. As I think I’ve mentioned to you before my health changed very quickly recently, affecting my mobility and making me feel old and vulnerable. I’ve taken up hula hooping (very low impact and fun) and I’m hoping to be able to start running again soon, but I don’t think I’ll be up to doing marathons in the near future.
    Keep well and keep posting. I love reading your stuff x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much Paula. You did mention that you had to stop running due to a health issue, but I did not realize it was this serious. I am sincerely sorry. I know you really enjoyed your runs, this must have been a big disappointment. Admire you so much, that you will not be defeated. Hula hooping is amazing. It has been decades since I have hula hooped, was not good at it. I remember I could only keep it going for a couple of turns, then it was on the ground at my ankles. 🙂
      The running again will come again in time. Please do take care. I have not forgot your book review. Am looking at having it as part of a “mega post”. A one year “Blogaversary”, some awards, and your book review.
      Am very proud of you.
      ~Carl~ x

      Liked by 1 person

  24. I like what you’ve done with this experience–how you’ve taken it in and let it push you deeper into life, into gratitude toward the stranger who was there for you, and into admiration for all kinds of strength. It would be so easy to set it aside without thinking.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Carl, I loved so many things about this post. You inspire me to push myself as you take on these races. I loved your definition of strength and i can relate to y(our) personal weaknesses. So glad you were really fine after your run. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Dear Carl, Congratulations to reach the finish line! Tears rolled down my face while reading your post. Loved your experience and the way you have put it. And did I tell you that you inspired me to take up running seriously for better health 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  27. What a beautiful post and important reminder. lovely. (and that *is* a cool event jersey!)

    Liked by 1 person

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