Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Thawed at the Frostbite 5 Continued

This past Sunday at 1:45 I was prepping for a four mile walk through a Centerville neighborhood. I was sitting on a bench stretching when a man walking by paused and addressed me. “You’re going to need to replace a lot of fluids,” he warned, “not just beforehand, but throughout the race.” The concerned man proceeded to describe his experiences with another bird like me: a severely dehydrated, overheated dancing turkey. I didn’t exactly heed his warning. I should have.

Now, not even a mile into the course,  I stood before the course marshall as he questioned me  “Chicken, you’re not going as fast as you usually do. Are you okay?” I didn’t think I could make it. I felt beyond miserable. I so wanted to make it. That was the plan. That was success. Quitting now would be failure and I hadn’t worked so hard for weeks to get to this point and fail.

I also hadn’t worked so hard to get to this point, pass out, and be carted off to the hospital. I turned and left the course. The surprising warmth of that day was just making it too dangerous for this chicken.

So, I stumbled along the west side of the high school toward the finish line. I meandered like a drunken rooster towards the part of the parking lot where I left my car. Inside I had stowed an emergency cooling pack and an extra bottled water. Only problem was the heat truly was affecting me. I can’t tell you how long I roamed about before I found my car (it was pathetically long). I was at the point of hitting the car alarm button on my key chain when I finally spotted it in the distance. Clearly the weather was not jiving with me. I flung myself into the car, promptly guzzled water, deposited my Yoda backpack, and grabbed the cooling pack. I then plodded to the finish line and decided to perch on the concrete base of a light pole. I slumped back against the pole, activated and smacked the cooling pack against my neck and wrists, all the while gulping water feverishly.

I reflected on the past fifteen minutes. Yes I had planned to complete a four mile course and had failed to do so, but maybe there was still success to be had. I could have just jumped into my car and gone home to roost but that wouldn’t have been any fun. Here at the finish line I could be a part of the success of so many different people; I didn’t have my own success but I would help to celebrate theirs!

That is how I passed the afternoon, cheering on those runners who did complete the course. I felt better about my decision after one of the faster runners went out of his way to seek me out for a post-race high five and after a mother and child walked past and the boy smiled at me, not knowing or caring whether I had finished, just because he was glad to see me. :)

This over-baked chicken didn’t crawl into the nest at the end of that day with sore leg muscles, but since I clapped so hard for so long I ended up with sore arm muscles. In the end, I bore witness to so many different kinds of inspiring finishes that I’ll have plenty of motivating memories to drive me to be better prepared for the conditions of my next event.

Follow Dayton’s Charity Chicken on Twitter @CharityChicken

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