Thursday, August 2, 2012

SALT LAKE CITY! DONE! 7 down, 5 to go!!!

I'm flying to new York for debs parents 40th anniversary. I was just in town a few weeks ago to visit with my family on long island who I will see as well. All this traveling and flying is getting to me and I'm looking forward to doing less of it in the new year. I wasnt even unpacked from my last trip before replacing and sorting last night for this trip. My last trip was to salt lake city, Utah for marathon number 7!

This was an unusual circumstance. Several different circumstances than what I'm used to, starting with the day of week the marathon landed on. A Tuesday. This is the first and only marathon this year that isn't on a weekend for me. I learned once I got into Utah that the date of July 24th plays a significant role and is quite the big deal in salt lake city. It's pioneer day! From what I heard while I was there is that it's a Mormon holiday. Back when states were still trying to be official states Utah had tried to become part of the union. However, and this is just what I heard, they weren't allowed because of their belief and practice in polygamy. So they said they would stop polygamy and not practice it any longer to become part of the union. I suppose not everybody stopped. People take off from work, close businesses, have parades, it's funny that that's he back story. Or at least that's the story I heard from a woman in Park City where we stayed. And where pioneer day goes unnoticed.

I needed to fly in a few days early. From what people were telling me and scaring me with, was that altitude adjustment was going to be important. I've never run a marathon where elevation was a factor. But the Deseret News Marathon was starting atop a mountain 7500 ft above sea level. Deborah wanted to come to the marathon. True blood had stopped shooting recently and she was free. The flights weren't too bad since its a fairly quick trip from Los Angeles. A new friend and worker, Tracy, heard where my next run was and offered her condo in somewhat nearby Park City. Great! Saves about $500 in hotels. It is about a 40 min drive but well worth it. The area of Park City is gorgeous. That's where Sundance film festival is held and none of us have ever been. David was my guide once again for this race. This is to be his 3rd marathon with me this year and his 4th race with me counting the half marathon a couple months ago.

We rent a car at the airport, which was very helpful. I had set up a fundraiser with an improv group hat performs short form at a theater called the off broadway heater in salt lake. I think I may have waited too long to do my usual contacting people due to a lot of traveling since my last marathon, because I got zero publicity! None. A woman fro the Deseret newspaper who was running the race interviewed me right before she start but I don't think that ever became anything. I can't find it online. I was really disappointed by that.  There was a woman from fox news that called me while I was running the actual race but it was too late.

From the airport we went to get a bite to eat at a good seafood place. Close by to the theater. I was invited to sit in and give my two cents to a workshop of some performers. We were pretty wiped out so we only stayed for half of the class and I was only able to give one cent. From there we took a drive to the condo in Park City. Beautiful area and scenery. And alot cooler than salt lake. I've been keeping an eye on the weather and it's been incredibly hot in salt lake. And of course rain was being mentioned for the day of the marathon.

We unpacked , got groceries,relaxed a bit but I had a show that night so we couldn't rest to long. The theater is really cool. Very old but spacious. Sadly, our audience was very small but they seemed to have fun. It helped that the performers were having a great time playing with each other and being goofy. It made fun for me too. About a 2 hour show. I was very ready for bed by the time we got back. Good night, Gracie!

We walked around Park City and checked out the town. I wanted to go to bed early. The race  on Tuesday starts at 530am before sunrise. And I was going to need to start acclamating to the time. I was going to try to get up the next morning at 4am. We thought we would need to take one of the offered shuttle busses to the start line. Which would mean getting to the shuttle about 3 am tuesday.  My nerves were starting to get to me. I was trying to sleep while Deborah was next to me watching her iPad or trying to do other activities like writing things down (not sure what she was writing) but after a few hours I had to kick her out. Luckily there are three bedrooms in the condo.

 I still didn't get to sleep for a couple hours. My brain wouldn't shut off. I even tried taking a unison and that seemed to do little or nothing. My alarm went off at 4, but I slept til 6. I got up and watched a DVD I brought with me called chronicle about a few high school kids that get super powers and how they deal with it. Pretty good movie.

When david was up and around we (he and I) got in the car and drive back to salt lake for the expo. It was the smallest expo I've ever been to. It reminded me of a yard sale. I was able to get a special parking pass for us which meant that we didn't have to take a shuttle! Awesome! That meant an extra 90minutes in the morning, hopefully, to sleep.

Before we went in the expo we met a guy that wanted to run 12 marathons in 2012 but got injured a couple months ago. This was going to be his first marathon back.

After the expo we got got some supplies and found a chiropractor to help adjust me and david for the race. He was very good and spenta  lot of time on us and took walk ins. Thanks dr Sean Mann! From there we grabed deb. we wanted to go to Olympic Park. Not too far from where we were staying in Park City. It was raining on and off that day. But we knew that Olympic Park had a bunch of cool activities, one of which I wanted to do, zip lining! I thought it would be perfect because of the overcast weather. But when we got there all the actives were closed, except bob sled. Ok, it's a bit pricey, but when are we going to be here again? THe woman signing us up asked we had back problems. I mentioned my bak issues, she seemed to mean more surgical type stuff. She said that there is 4-5 g forces on you in the sled. I don't know what a g force feels like . I asked how long the ride was, 1min 5sec. Ok I can handle that I thought. We had to sign a waiver where it says we can't sue if we get hurt. Interesting.

We drove up he mountain to the start of the bob sled. No lines. No waiting. The rain stopped. Seemed all good. The 4 of us, including the driver, packed in the bob sled with our helmets and we were pushed off. The couple seconds seemed fine. Then I started feeling his g forces she mentioned. We got jostled around pretty good. I started getting really nervous about my back. I felt a few twinges of pain and there was nothing to do but just wait for the end. Sadly, I couldn't fully enjoy the ride, I couldn't see anything and I was so focused on trying not to get hurt that it was a bit of a let down. I'll take a fun roller coaster over hat any day. If you're in Olympic park, I would skip the bob sled. Deb seemed to really like it though. I think david did too.

Pasta dinner time! Deb and david made a great meal while I got set up for the next day. I went to bed early and I was sleeping in a different room by myself hoping not to disturb or be disturbed . But it didn't matter. I had the worst nights sleep (since my last marathon). I just can't seem to settle my mind before marathons. That's becoming the hardest part. The days before hand. The exhaustion. The worry, the fear. The stress. I didn't know all this was going to happen when I decided to do this. I thought at least it would get better along the way, but it hasn't. It's gotten worse.


Deb woke me at 3am. But I was already half awake. Here we go again. Groundhog day. I keep thinking about that movie. Love bill Murray and that film. But This a lot of work.

We took the drive to the top. We got a little lost but we got there on time thankfully. I had visions of us missing the start and not being abl to run. Which sounded terrible and wonderful at the same time.

It was black out except for he spotlights that were set up. Porta potties were lined up. Only about half a dozen or so. Lines were already formed for them. I decided we were in nature and so peeing in the woods would be ok. After my first time a ton of motorcycle cops showed up. And we're dispersed into the words. I guess to cut down on people going to the bathroom in the woods. I was suppressed they had nothing better to do. But ok. I'll wait til we get in the course for my next pee stop.

As I. Walked to the start to check it out I got stopped by that Deseret News paper reporter. She must've gotten one of the emails I sent out to people because she knew part of my story. She asked a bunch of questions and her photographer took a pic of me.

I couldn't find a camera man for this run so Deborah was my camera person. Thank good ness she was able to make it. She hates filming or taking pictures but she did it for me and I'm very grateful for it. Only about z500 hundred people ran the full marathon. It looked like even less. I had heard someone mention a 6 hour cup off. I didn't know there was a cut off for this race or at least I forgot. I guess it didn't seem to be a big deal. I thought I'd finish by my usual 5hr 30min average if not sooner, since most of it rk was downhill. How wrong I was.

We stated in the dark, but it didn't stay dark long before david started telling me about some light and colors forming in the sky. David had had a lot to drink that morning and needed to pee worse Han me. I was nervous about the peeing thing. Not for getting caught, but my last race was so uncomfortable because of a possible bladder infection? I still don't know what was wrong with me that day in seattle. Long story short, my pee for this race seemed to be normal. Thank you. :)

About 5 miles of it was downhill. Nothing super steep or particularly dangerous, although the roads were open and david and I were two people wide. Cars and trucks had to drive around us which got to be a bit hairy sometimes. Since I'm blindfolded I can only hope they see me, because I can't see them.

There was but of an uphill for a bout 2 miles. I ran up most of it. I think I was feeling pretty good. The altitude didn't feel like it was affecting me too. Much. Before I left for Utah I had come down with a but of a cold which, almost 2 weeks later,  is just about gone. I don't know if it was officially a cold, but ideas congested and stuffy and coughing and sneezing. I just kept hitting it with vitamin c.

Somewhere after toes 2 miles up it went back down with a surprising side street of about half mile up. I was beginning to get tired now. People like talking during running which surprises me. David is very friendly and has no problems talking with people and asking questions and all that but I'd much prefer to conserve my oxygen and energy.

I was feeling pretty beat up by the time the half way mark came up. Uh oh. Only half way and I'm ready to go home. That's a very bad sign I'd say. Deb was ale to meet us around mile 15 or 16. That was towards the end of the downhill. It would flatten out around mile 18 and run into the city. Now by the time I was on flat land the temperature was rising and I could feel it. It was hotter than any other race I've ever run. And I knew I was going to slow. I knew I wouldn't make that 6 hour cap unless I hustled. At mile 20 or so deb was there again. I told her this is really really rough. It didn't help that I had 2 pop songs that were played on the Howard Stern show that week. One by Katy Perry the other by Demi Lovato I think, it could've been by someone else. Either way, they were torturing me.

I was nt making that 5hour 30 min average.that thought was long gone. My legs were hurting pretty bad. I felt dizzy and thought I may actually pass out, maybe even need an ambulance. But that would mean not finishing and that was no option. I really pushed myself. And at points David even dragged me.

I started crying somewhere in mile 25 I think. So much going on. I had nothing left. My body was so weak. I country hold it in. It just poured out like a dam. Damn. Disappointment, regret, pain, my nephews, my brother, me, pregnant Liz Lucas smith with her first child a boy who she already knew has Choroideremia. My grandfather. Was I going to get my medal? My time? What did not making it mean?

We ran. Into a parade for pioneer day. Hundreds of people. None of whom I could see. We were running through them. Or really david was dragging me like a rag doll. At one point he pulled me hard in one direction, I learned later I was about to run full force into a poll. David screaming at people to get out of the way "BLIND RUNNER!!!" I guess that's what I am now. It says it on my signs I put on our backs when I run. Growing up, I never thought I would be either of those things.

We got passed the chaos and finally heard the finish line. I was able to run over it hearin the announcer recount my story. I thanked david and gave him a hug. Deb was there shortly after. I hugged her and cried all over again. She cried too and we held each other very tight. After we released I asked her to film me. And I cried again on camera talking about the race and how hard it was for me and how hard this whole experience is, not just the race or marathons but going blind, trying to bring attention to something most don't want to pay attention to.

I got my medal but I was almost 4 minutes beyond the cap. 6hours 3min 44sec I think. I'll have to double check the exact seconds.

Walking seemed like a terrible idea. But it needed to be done. Somewhere during the marathon, I developed I nice headache. I thought would go away with some food and drink. I wasn't even hungry which was a first for me after a marathon. I was forcing myself to eat and a bar and grill we went to. But I felt nauseous and full. I don't know why. David said he felt the same way. Maybe it's the altitude.

We drive back to the condo, packed, showered and headed off to the airport. Yup I had made flight reservations for the same day. At the time we were staying in hotels and I was trying to save some money. Plus the flight is pretty quick. At least I'll sleep in my own bed that night.

It took days for me to start walking normal. I took an ice bath the next day but maybe needed mer ice. My compression socks may have helped but it was hard to tell from all the pain.

Regardless, number 7 is done and now I focus on number 8 in Mesa Falls, Idaho. About 4 hours from salt lake city. Funny. I hope that one goes better.

My next three marathons will all be in a 6 Week time span. Can't wait til number 12 is done. I just can't.

Please donate at the above Paypal button. I'm so far behind on my money goal. You can also help me out on twitter and Facebook. Tell people what I'm doing. I need more publicity and if anyone has a contact at Guinness world records I'd like to talk to you. Thanks!


I'm running 12 marathons in 12 states in 2012 blindfolded!
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7 down 5 to go!!
Next up, Mesa Falls marathon in Ashton, Idaho! (Work in progress)