Race Day Support
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Wiehan’s big race day two weeks ago was ultimately a tough one, with a big disappointment for him. But I wanted to share a bit about my experiences on race day. Sometimes I race too - usually in a shorter distance than him. Sometimes he tells me it’s okay if I stay home and sleep in. This was one of those days, but I’m so glad I braved the 5:30 alarm anyway to tag along and cheer for his half marathon participation.
We arrived to the local high school just in time for the race to start. With both a GoPro and Nikon D750 / 70-200mm lens in tow, I stood about 100m from the starting line and readied my gear. “On your marks, Go!” The crowd ran passed me, but I didn’t manage to see and photograph Wiehan at the start. I gathered my gadgets and went for a mile-long walk from the school, past a lake, to mile marker #3, across the street from a shopping center. Along the way, I recorded the walk with Strava. I checked my time and made the approximation that it would take about 20 minutes for Wiehan to get to mile 3. And it would take about 16 minutes for me to walk. Not a lot of breathing room, so I walked quickly. But along the way, my phone completely froze up on me. It turned off on its own and when it turned back on, the battery level was at 10% and quickly dropped to 6%. What the heck? I hadn’t charged it during the night as I usually do, but thought it at least had 50% battery life. The phone completely crashed and I forged ahead on my walk, planning to visit the Starbucks in the shopping center to borrow an outlet and charge my phone after spotting Wiehan. I arrived at the shopping center, crossed the street, walked beyond the small crowd of other supporters and found a nice spot slightly up the hill to take photos. It wasn’t more than 3 minutes and the race leaders ran by, with a police motorcycle leading the way. A total of 5 runners went by and I thought I still had another few minutes before seeing Wiehan, but there he was, in the top ten with a big smile on his face. He looked great and was running a solid pace! I was thrilled for him!
After the quick sighting as he ran by, I walked back to the shopping center and found a spot to charge my phone. I estimated that I had about a half hour before I needed to start walking back to catch the last mile of Wiehan’s race. So I sat in the Starbucks for a little while, people-watching and eavesdropping on conversations. And suddenly, a feeling came over me like I was a traveler passing through a foreign place. That feeling grew along my walk back to the school for the race finish, as I stopped to take some photographs of the lake and spring blossoms. It felt incredibly similar to the time I lived in Finland and rode my bike to and from the suburbs of Espoo and the city of Helsinki. I was quickly snapped out of this poetic moment when a text message came through from Wiehan. My first thought was wait - why is he texting me?
Knee busted! Walking back now. I gave him a call as I put away my camera and started walking quickly back to the high school. He was on a trail in the middle of a wooded area and wasn’t sure he could walk all the way back to our car. When I got back to the car, I realized that I was blocked in, as runners were already starting to run by, headed to the finish line. So, in great pain, Wiehan walked up to a main road and found a race vehicle that could take him back to the school. Fortunately, when he was dropped off at the school, two medics examined his knee and determined the cause to be ITB tightness. Deflated with disappointment and wincing with pain, Wiehan found his way back to our parked car and we managed to drive out of the parking lot during a gap between runners.
When we got home, Wiehan headed for the shower while I went to the kitchen to cook up some good old fashioned comfort food. He put on comfy clothes and bundled up in bed, entertained, as always, by YouTube cycling videos. I whipped up sausages, mashed potatoes and a salad. And then we had a relaxed Sunday, recovering from an eventful and disappointing morning. And now, we look ahead toward the healing process and toward successful races in the future!