First Race Jitters, And I Faint…During!

Posted on Mar 12, 2008 under Race | 4 Comments

Cross Country Race
I’d like to briefly explain why I joined cross country in high school. You see, my brother was 3 years older than me and was a #2-3 Senior varsity cross country runner on the team. I was a freshman and didn’t really do much that first year, other than hang out with friends after school; I was in no clubs or sports. So the summer after freshman year I decided to join with another friend of mine. So we trained together and it was fun and all. Our coach was fairly young, with little or no coaching experience (although he was a very fast runner). But I’d like to emphasize that he was no coach..

Even though my brother was quite the runner, I never felt like I had to follow in his footsteps and that he cast a huge shadow over me. I tried my best to run the way I would run, not the way my brother did or wanted me to. Now I almost never remember any runs before or after races unless I wrote them down, but I usually remember some details from races, just because they are pretty important events. My first race was on September 9, 2000, the Bronco Invitational in Cal Poly Pomona. I remember the day before was a pre-meet so it was just a light run and we did drills on how to start a race.

We had a pretty big Frosh-Soph group, so it was nice to see other teammates around during the race (now that I think about it though, I don’t remembering seeing any other teammates except one or two). But few details that I do recall, the starting line was a huge grass field and we were doing strides across it and I think I noticed some holes in the ground with mud, not really important. So I started off the race in pretty good position, considering there were hundreds and hundreds of runners in that race. It was so crowded though, that I was bumping elbow to elbow with another runner. Now if I was an experienced runner, I would have just kept focusing on the race, but I immediately apologize to the runner, during the race! He got kind of pissed, thought I did it on purpose, and bumped back, what the heck?!

I remember running with one teammate, Brandon, for the longest time, from like the beginning to mile two. I didn’t know it at the time, but he was a pretty fast runner, so I was doing pretty well. However, he kept pushing me to pick it up, or just to keep up, but I started dying. I think he got tired of trying, so he took off or I just died completely. Now here’s the catch, I don’t remember finishing the race..

The last thing I remember from that race was the finishing stretch and seeing people line up along the sides with cameras, cheering everybody on. And that’s it, total darkness. My eyes weren’t open but I recall lying down, people trying to take off my shoes (I distinctly remember double knotting so that they wouldn’t untie during the race) and getting packs of ice stuffed around me.

When I regained consciousness, I was in an ambulance truck and there were two paramedics and my coach next to me. I had some water and then another teammate came up to me and just handed me a medal. Now how in the world could I have medaled, when I don’t even remember finishing? Did the race people feel sorry for me and just give me the medal out of pity? My friends joked about that race years later and said they pictured me with my upper torso limp, but my legs still running. So THAT’S how I medaled..

The next week in school, I got a lot of sympathetic “how are you”s and “are you ok?”s. I don’t even remember what my coach told me the next week, I just knew it was nothing that helped. So what it officially said in the scorebooks was: Finishing time: 18:09, Place: 93rd. I would really like to know what happened in the last few moments of that race, but I don’t think I’ll ever find out..

4 Responses to “First Race Jitters, And I Faint…During!”

  1. DietMe Says:

    hi, nice post i love running i start it with nike+ ipod.. and i do enjoy it.

  2. pchieng Says:

    I never knew exactly what Nike+ can do, until now. There are some great features on that thing, too bad I’m stuck with my shuffle..

  3. Kelsie Says:

    It’s a great story, even if you don’t remember the finish. It’s these experiences that shape our love for running. Thanks for stopping by my site!

  4. Lily Says:

    I just searched for “fainting during a cross country race” and came across your blog–the exact same thing just happened to me yesterday. And it happened right near the finish with me, too–people told me that I finished, but after a certain point near where the finish line was in sight, I remember nothing. I have scrapes from when I stumbled, fell, got back up, zigzagged, dragged myself along a fence across the line and fell again into unconsciousness, but I remember zip. Apparently, the reason it happened was because I was dehydrated; my heart rate went way up, not enough blood could get to my brain, and I fainted. Try to remember everything you can about that day, and maybe the memory will come back. Mine is beginning to.


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