This is a story I have been wanting to tell for the last month and I have finally gotten a chance to sit down and share it with you. It’s another example among a myriad of experiences I have had, that truly makes my heart happy and makes me believe there is good in this world.
I already shared with you my emotional ups and downs while running Eagle Up Ultra last month in Ohio. What I hadn’t shared, was what happened after I crossed that finish line. I was super stoked and super exhausted, as well as having a little trouble standing just to get my picture with the Race Director, Eric, at the finish line. If you look close enough, you can see that he is helping me stay upright. lol 🙂 He helped me to a spot on a bench to rest and get some food and fluids. I sat there and called my mom (of course!) to share my happiness and excitement of finishing with a new PR. I examined my chewed up feet, removed all the medical tape from them and was beginning to get chilly. The night was not particularly chilly, but having stopped running my body hadn’t caught up yet and it was still trying to figure out how to regulate my temperature after such a long run.
I was ready to crawl into my tent and pass out! I stood up to walk back to my tent and suddenly, my legs cramped up and my entire body began to shiver. I stayed there for a moment, gathering the courage to push through the pain and muscle tightness to get back to my tent. As I began to walk…..I mean hobble 😉 the shivering got worse. I maybe got two feet before two ladies sitting at a bench further down asked me if I needed any help. Being the stubborn, determined person I am, I said no! 😉 I continued attempting my journey and before I knew it, both of these ladies jumped up from sitting and said, “Where are you going? We will help you, come on”. They each grabbed an arm and began walking me away.
As we walked, the shivering and shaking got worse, worse enough that it made me even more unsteady than I already was. There were two hot tubs set up outside and they suggested that perhaps, I try to warm up in one of them. We got to one that the water seemed somewhat warm and decided to give it a try. They helped to ease me in the water and I quickly discovered that the heater wasn’t working and the water was COLD! (side note, it was most likely lukewarm, but in the state I was in, it felt like an ice bath) I’m pretty sure at this point I yelled or cursed or a little bit of both, lol. 🙂 The problem now, was getting me out of the hot tub!! These lovely ladies couldn’t pull me out! They began asking for help and over comes, Eric (RD) and two other gentlemen who helped lift me out of the water and carry me to someone’s (I still have no idea who it belonged to) RV that was nearby. My teeth are chattering so bad now that I am having trouble talking. They get me into the RV cover me in towels, blankets and sweatshirts. They begin massaging my legs to help keep them from seizing up anymore. Someone ran to get me broth and water, as well as something to eat. They continued to monitor me and make sure I was getting back to a more normal state before letting me head back to my tent.
Honestly, I don’t know how long this went on, 20 minutes, an hour??? All I know is that these amazing human beings saw someone alone and in need and stepped in to help. They stayed with me until the shivering stopped, the color returned to my face and I wasn’t getting sick. Because of the kindness of these strangers, I was well taken care of and looked after. Here I was, alone, hundreds of miles from home and being helped by a handful of people I didn’t know. When I finally laid down in my tent, I felt a big sense of relief knowing that there are good people out there. Despite what nasty things go on in our world everyday, there are still genuine, kindhearted people amongst us.
Aside from that nice realization, it also brought a couple more to mind when planning for my next Ultra. So, despite the pride I had of being able to say I traveled to another state on my own to run an ultra, next time…..perhaps I should think twice and travel with crew. Also, I knew that in the past, I have had trouble maintaining my body temp post-race. From now on, I should plan for that and have warm clothes ready at the finish line.
Everyday we are here on earth is another day to learn, to love and to show kindness to others. You never know when the time comes for you to be there for someone, just be ready! 🙂