151 – Hunky Dory Half Marathon

Highlights from today’s show…

  1. Yoko and I complete a very challenging race in some “not so ideal” conditions!
  2. Dr. Dave explains why it’s good to challenge yourself. 

Hey! It’s Dr. Dave. and welcome back to The David Madow Lifestyle Show. This is the show where I help you live stronger, thinner, healthier, and happier. I’ve got a great one for you today! Just to kind of pre-empt it, I am in my car studio. I call it my car studio because I am driving. I’ve got my microphone, it’s quiet, and I’ve got a great story to tell you today!

By the way, thank you so much for being a listener and friend. If this is your first time listening, I thank you so much for joining us. I warn you, you’re going to become addicted to this show. If you’re a long time friend or listener, welcome back. It’s so great to have you!

So, many many months ago, Yoko signed me up as well as herself for a half marathon. A half marathon doesn’t sound too bad. I could practically do a half marathon in my sleep these days. But a half marathon, in Breckenridge, Colorado which is to be run at an average of well over 10,000 feet in altitude. When you get up that high you start to wonder about how much oxygen there’s going to be and how you’re going to feel up in the mountains.

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But I was excited. We are signed up for this thing and we are going to do it! We’re in Breckenridge kind of acclimating for a good two weeks before the race. I’m excited. I know I am going to do this thing. And so a week before the race I come down with this crazy bug. It started off as kind of a cold or allergies. I really didn’t know what it was but it turned into something bacterial. When you see this dark colored stuff coming out of your nose and your coughing, it’s turning bacterial. So I put myself on Zithromax. Which I don’t really like to take antibiotics and it’s extremely rare that I would ever take an antibiotic. I’m vegan, I eat totally plant based, I eat healthy, I work out, and I just don’t think that antibiotics are good. But being at the altitude that I was and turning bacterial, I felt like my immune system needed a little bit of a boost.

So I put myself on z-pack. Which is 5 days worth of Zithromax. I’m thinking, am I going to run this race or not? It’s getting closer and closer. I am starting to feel a little bit better but 13.1 miles in the mountains, up and down hills. And by the way, it’s not a road race. It’s on trails in the woods on the mountains. I think it’s probably about as difficult as a full marathon on the road.

So it’s getting closer and I am starting to feel better. Then I started looking at the forecast. And they are predicting rain during this race. Imagine not feeling 100% combine that with a cold run and running on trails. No, I am not doing that. That’s ridiculous!

So they day before it looks like I am going to be safe until about 11am and the race starts at 8:30am. So I said to Yoko, here’s what I am going to do. Looking at the course map, it looked like it would be fairly easy to run the first half of the race, about 6 miles, and then duck out of the race. That was my plan.

The skies were overcast when we get there the day of the race. There are only about 100 people running this race. It’s a small race. Since I wasn’t feeling 100% my goal was to start wit walking. When a race is 13 miles, even if I am only running half of it, it is still difficult running in the mountains at 10,000 feet elevation. Try it some time! It’s not easy.

I started off in the back of the pack with just a couple people behind me. We start on the road but after about a mile to mile and a half we take a right onto on a really beautiful trail which starts going through the woods mostly up but not real steep up yet. So I am doing my thing walking and adding a little bit of running when I can. And I gotta tell you I am feeling pretty good. There’s some zig zags back and forth and ups and downs. A lot of the race is on a single track trail. Single track is just a thin trail through the woods that is not even wide enough for 2 people to run side by side.

By mile 3 or 4, I started to feel pretty good and get into the groove of this thing. I go by the first aid station and got a little water. Plus I am carrying water in my backpack. I have a CamelBak and I carry some food and water and even a dry shirt and dry socks if I need them. It started to rain a little bit around mile 2 or 3 but then it stopped.

As I am getting further into the race, I am really getting into the groove of this thing and I am combining running with walking. And I am thinking to myself you know the sky might hold off a little bit. It just might hold off. I am looking at my watch and I am not doing too bad and I am feeling good. As I approach the halfway point, it’s the time I have to make a decision. I have to make my decision really quickly. Am I going to duck out of this race now and walk back to the start?

When I get to the halfway point I start thinking, you know I am feeling too good now and I’ve got too much invested into this and I am not quitting. I ain’t going nowhere! 😉 I am going to continue this run.

So I ran past the second aid station and I didn’t even ask them how to get back to the start. I said I am just going to keep this thing going. As I passed the second aid station, the guy motioned to me and I think he was saying something. I had earbuds in at the time and I couldn’t really understand. So I pulled my earbuds out and what he was saying was to be careful because as you passed the station the lead runners would be coming right at you. And what he really meant was that I really better be careful because it’s a single track trail and as I passed the aid station there were 2 runners that were finishing the race up even though I was only at the halfway mark. They were coming at me hard so I had to move off the trail and let the lead runners go.

There was a guy in first place and the second place person was a woman and she was less than a minute behind this guy. You know that I am not sexist. Everyone is equal in my book. But let’s face it, when it comes to running marathons and half marathons, men statistically have faster times. Men historically run faster than men (present company excluded 🙂 ). That’s just the way our bodies our built.

After I let them pass, there were several more people that were doing really well and I pretty much had the courtesy to get off the trail and let them pass. They were all very polite and said thank you.

It got to a point where the trails diverged and I wasn’t worried about people coming at me anymore since it was sort of a loop. So I am running and doing some walking and I get to a point where there is another aid station. By the way, the terrain is going down, down, down and I figure at some point what goes down must also come up. So yeah at about the 8.5 to 9 mile point, let me tell you something! The course started going uphill and there was an uphill climb for about 2 miles straight. Now imagine running in a 13 mile race and you’re at mile 9 and it just starts going steeply uphill. And I mean steep. For 2 miles straight! I could feel my heart beating and I was breathing heavy. I had to take a few deep breaths just to grab some air. It was really tough.

I started thinking should I have continued? Am I ok? I was ok I just knew I had to take it very very slow. So I get to the last aid station at about mile 11 and they said to me you have completed the hill, the rest of the course is either flat or downhill. And I said are you sure? You’re not lying to me right? It’s going to be flat, promise me! They said we promise it will be flat for maybe a 1/4 of a mile and then you will start going downhill and then you will hit the finish line.

I am thinking to myself wow! There must be a God! So the last 2 miles I felt great. I was running and I completed the race. Hallelujah! I completed the Hunky Dory Half Marathon in Breckenridge, Colorado.

I will tell you this. For the last 2 miles, I started getting text messages from my lovely wife Yoko was texting me “where are you?” I replied back and said hey didn’t you get my message earlier I continued this thing. She said she did not get it but that she was freezing. The sky did open up at about mile 11 for me. Even though it was level and downhill, it started to rain and it rained pretty hard. I didn’t feel bad because I knew I only had about 2 miles to go so it didn’t really bother me. But Yoko who had already finished the race and was done couldn’t get into a warm place because I had the car key and the room key. She was soaking wet and her fingers were freezing up. But there was nothing I could do. I was still 2 miles away. Here I am trying to finish the race, texting her while I am running and it’s raining.Luckily I have a waterproof case for my phone. I asked her to please find some kind of shelter and I will be there.

So the last 2 miles I am feeling bad for my wife. She finished and she’s cold and shivering and there’s nothing I can do. But I finished the race. I crossed the finish line and there were still people behind me but only 3. After having a bout with a bug, threatening skies, and craziness.

The reason I am telling you this story is simply because sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone. It’s easy to be in an air conditioned car driving somewhere or sitting inside your home drinking coffee or sitting on the sofa watching T.V. Those are easy things to do but you are not going to challenge yourself when you are doing those kind of things. When you are out there and set a date to run a 5K race, half marathon, marathon, or ultramarathon; whatever it may be, when you put that on the calendar you are committing to something. You are committing to training. You are committing to showing up to that event. You are committing as best as you can to finish.

I told you in the beginning that I planned not to finish this race. And it was only because I just finished being sick. I’m high up in the mountains ill and just getting over being on medication. I was feeling better but not feeling that well. It was threatening to rain. I paid $60 to be in this race but it wasn’t that important for me to finish. I knew there were other races that were going to come up if I didn’t finish this one and my body was more important to me. That’s why I said I would probably be dropping out after the halfway point. I thought that was the right thing but during this race I changed my mind. It’s ok to change your mind. There’s nothing wrong with stopping because there are going to be more races. There’s going to be other opportunities.

I was the opposite. I was ready to drop out until mile 6 and I said to myself I am flipping going for this. I am going to finish this thing. I am going to get the t-shirt!

I’m going to wear the medal at the end but I am not going to eat the food. They had food at the end by the way. They had sub sandwiches and pizza. Nothing vegan. What I did was to munch on a half of a peanut butter sandwich in the car after i finished running. 13 miles in the mountains, in the rain, up and down, single track trails and I munched on a peanut butter sandwich. Yeah it’s vegan. It’s plant based! I don’t make exceptions. I don’t say oh I just finished a marathon I can have a piece of cheese pizza. I don’t do that. My health and the animals are way too important. I just don’t do it. I don’t make exceptions. I could have gone to get something to eat somewhere had I not been prepared. I am always prepared for a race and I always have food in my backpack. I have energy gels, half a sandwich, whatever it takes. I come prepared. I do that when I travel too so that I don’t have to make any exceptions. Being plant based is too important for me and not only me but for the animals too. It’s too important to make any exceptions at all.

I felt great after the race. Yoko was a little upset with me and understandably so. She had nowhere to go and basically had to stand out in the rain. She was cold, she was chilled, and I felt horrible. But when I had to make that decision, am I going to go for this or not? I figured I had the chance to go for it and do it.

There’s no feeling like the sense of accomplishment when you finish a race. It’s emotional. Sometimes you cry. I realized that I could do it at the 6 mile point. Granted, the second 6.5 miles were much more difficult. Had I know that there would be a 2 mile run uphill between miles 9 and 11…I think I would still do it. It was worth every penny. It was worth every misery that I had. It was totally worth it to cross the finish line. It feels so good. And then we celebrated that evening with a really cool-Chinese meal from our favorite Chinese restaurant. We know the owners Ken and Ping and they make us great vegan food. We don’t even have to look at the menu. 

What an experience! Finishing the Hunky Dory Half Marathon in Breckenridge, Colorado. If you have a chance, try it. Or there’s another one called the Breck Crest Half Marathon. It’s a tough one. It’s only a half marathon but you will feel like you ran an ultramarathon.

Whatever you do, challenge yourself a little bit. And if you’re feeling good, go for it! I hope you’re feeling fantastic today! Because I am! Talk to you next time!

– Dr. Dave

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