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.
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”.
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.
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!
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! 🙂
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! 🙂