As in pirate booty. The Gasparilla 15K was yesterday & it was a beautiful run. I woke up bright & early to run 9.3 miles next to the water; check out the scenery.
The first 6 miles of the race felt great — I was ahead of my usual pace & thinking I could PR — I was starting to get excited. I spent the majority of the race actually racing with a girl who kept passing me & looking back. Never backing up from a challenge, I kept up with her, running way faster than I typically do. Though I was very tired by mile 6 I was thankful for the push. I had energy beans & resolved to beat her to the finish line…then it happened.
A man running in front of me collapsed (it looked like he fainted), hit the brick road, cracked his head open & was bleeding all over his face. A few of us stopped to help, found him gushing blood & twitching; it was a scary sight. One of the runners rushed to the water stop ahead & came back with a medic who immediately called for help. About 5 of us waited for the medics to come & load the man on the stretcher.
After leaving him in the medics’ hands we were told to go, but I couldn’t, I was literally sick to my stomach. I’m very squeamish & that much blood hit me hard. I found the nearest port-a-potty & puked everything I had in my stomach; it wasn’t a pretty sight. Luckily there was a water stop right by the restroom, I was able to grab a drink & started to walk…all I could do was think about that man, hoping he was okay. I saw one of the girls that also helped him out & she told me the least we could do was finish, so I started running again. By then my mind was a mess, my legs felt like led but I ran.
And finished. It was the slowest time I’ve ever had but I didn’t care, I was thankful to be able to run. I was thankful to have helped someone in need. I was thankful to be alive. As soon as I crossed the finish line I was welcomed by my friends & all was better.
I will never forget this race.