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Emergency Room, aka What Awful Suckitude October 22, 2013

Filed under: hospital,pain — Susan @ 3:19 am
Tags: , ,

(blog post title credit to Ericka Lutz)
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That’s what happened after a weekend of pain meds that didn’t work, vomiting, dehydration, low blood pressure, high blood sugar and general misery.

Junior brought me in in the morning and stayed with me, regaling me with tales of her 20-mile hike to a hidden hot spring over the weekend. It was hilarious and kind of like a Junior version of Wild. It kept me very entertained and distracted.

Nine hours of IV fluids to replace what I lost, intravenous morphine that only kinda sorta took the edge off, testing that revealed a urinary tract infection, and eventually coming home.

Praying I can stay in my own bed the rest of the week.

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Looking like an Emoji with the X’ed out eyes

 

Marin County Triathlon 2011: The Race Recap November 8, 2011

So finally – here’s my race recap. It isn’t exactly a replica of my idyllic visualization that I wrote a few days ago. It also took a long time to gather up all the pictures (click on any of them to make them bigger). When you train with Team in Training, you pretty much have a papparazzi gang following you everywhere! It’s good that I had some reflection time, too. Two days after the fact I can say now that I feel good about it. Sunday night, not so much.

Here goes, in probably excruciating detail, but this is kind of how I process stuff (in case you haven’t noticed, LOL!).

Woke up at 4:10am. Actually woke up at 12:59am, 3-something-am AND 4:10am because Mr. McBody (Dr McBody to some) was on call, and get calls he did. (note to self: if spouse is on call night before a race, sleep in separate rooms)

I was WIDE awake though. This was helped by the switch back to Standard Time, which felt like a gift from the universe. So it only FELT like 5:10am, which I’ve done before! Got dressed and had mini-mini meltdowns due to 1) someone at the last whole wheat English muffin and left the EMPTY PACKAGE on top of the breadbox! So I was left without my Eng muffin and peanut butter breakfast which I have gotten very attached to. Instead I boiled a couple of eggs and ate some weird Chai-flavored instant oatmeal. They both felt unfamiliar and kind of wrong, but what choice did I have at 4:30am? Not much.

eating my egg in the car

Picked up Lily. Yay! Her sweetie and parents and dog were all waiting down on the street to load her bike in my car. We had an awesome drive over to the tri site. I am really going to miss driving to workouts with her in the wee hours of the morning. (snif)

We arrived at the park in plenty of time. It was actually really beautiful there in the predawn.

pulling the giant buoy markers out to place

I ate my hard boiled egg, we used the restrooms and picked out our transition spots. Since we were there so early, we had a good choice of spot and I got to use the fence as a coat rack.

Lily: "Move your bike closer to mine, I don't want anyone to get between us." Me: "That's never gonna happen!"

Coach Haakon taped up my foot. Which is supposedly not in the regulations, but I really appreciated it.

We went and got our bodies marked with our race numbers and our ages. 52, baby!!!! I always wonder why they do that – so that if we die on the course we have ID on our bodies?

Go, # 505!

52!! Yeah!!

Teammate Monica was celebrating her 50th by doing this tri. WAY TO GO GIRL!

Our mentor Annika gave us a visual preview of all the ins and outs and showed us where all the buoys were for the swim course. I’d say we’re looking fairly concerned. Teammate Vince calls it “game face.” LOL.

"Wow, those buoys are REALLY FAR out there!"

We started walking over to the swim entry area, led by an awesome bagpipe player (very dramatic!). My heart was pounding like a jackhammer. Then I stepped in this crazy HOLE in the parking lot (like six inches deep and the width of a coffee can) – my foot went RIGHT IN and I fell down. Bam! Not an auspicious beginning. I could feel something bad in my knee (which is still feeling pretty twisted, by the way). But we kept going. I was feeling pretty psyched, and pretty ready.

good to go!

We TNTers got to go in the first wave and that was a really good thing. We got in the water (brrrrrrrrr!) and got the water in our wetsuits and floated around while we waited for the starting horn.

Can you believe it's me out there in 40 degree weather and 60 degree water?

waving at J, who's trying to pick me out of all the other green capped creatures

We were being led out on paddleboard by Coach Neil, the guy who had led my semi-disastrous last open water swim a few weeks ago. I told him I was feeling good about the swim and he seemed pleased but also surprised because I think he really had me for a goner in the open water department.

And... we're off! That orange buoy on the horizon was our first marker!

So we swam. I know that I was swimming really, really slowly. But I was relaxed. I kept up my “gentle-kind” mantra pretty much the only time, except when I was daydreaming about pleasant things, which was a pretty nice way to pass the time. I noticed that each time I lifted my head to sight on the big orange buoy, it kept GETTING BIGGER! which I found very encouraging. I was making headway, even though virtually everyone was passing me and leaving a large gap between them and me. I was OK. I made a few little “bobbing” stops to get my bearings and take some extra oxygen in, but they weren’t like panic stops, more like, “let’s see what’s going on.”

I am pretty sure one of these is me.

I was somewhere between buoy 2 and 3 (out of 4?) and a couple kayakers were yelling and motioning at me to “pull it in toward the shore!” I think I got kind of drifty toward the right and ended up adding a couple hundred extra yards to my swim. I had a few moments of “Well, that’s a drag” but I didn’t freak out. Pretty soon a huge wave of red-capped swimmers took us over. They were churning up the water like a hundred sharks in a frenzy. A couple of them slapped at my feet and bumped into me. Thank goodness that is ONE thing that doesn’t freak me out. I just kind of got out of their way.

The swim felt long. By the clock I think it was around 40 minutes, which was shorter than I’d planned for but still I was near the end of our group. No matter. I was relaxed the whole time, and toward the end I was almost regretting it was going to be over. I was sort of enjoying thinking my nice thoughts and just stroke, stroke, stroke. The last bit between the final buoy and the red finish arc felt reallllllllly long. But I didn’t panic, didn’t float on my back, didn’t hang on any kayaks or people, and pretty much DID the damn thing! After all the struggle I had these past months? I was ecstatic.

I was pretty darn happy when I got out of the water.

final strokes toward shore

Yeah!! I made it to land!

YAYY! This was a happy moment

I headed to T1. (Transition 1) When I got there I was suddenly overcome by lightheadedness. I felt super dizzy and suddenly insanely COLD. So I was just focused on trying to get warm and put on some dry stuff. It seemed to take forever to put on my socks and gloves. My feet were this wacky white/red color. Finally I felt ready and I pulled my bike down and got out of there.

heading out of transition with teammate Katherine

freezing cold, sopping wet, but feeling good

Ha! Forgot this very Special Moment during the tri until teammate Katherine sent it to me. Right after this last picture above, it was time to “mount the bikes.” I got on and then… OOPS! Seems like Katherine wanted some team togetherness. :-) Neither of us actually fell over though, and it was all good!  This is now one of my favorite pics of the event.

"Now that's team togetherness!" LOL

Important note for subsequent events: I was really kind of a woozy space cadet during this transition. I wasn’t thinking clearly. ie., I looked at my huuuuuge bottle of Gatorade on the ground, and a littler bottle. But I didn’t drink any. Nor did I eat any of the salted pretzels I’d so carefully baggied up. I took a little swig of water and then put the water bottle in my bike’s holder. I ate a half of a Kind bar. (sweet flavor)

I go back and back to this moment. In the past months I learned that the combo of Gatorade and salty pretzels is like the PERFECT combo recovery/fuel for me. The electrolytes/carbs/salt combo. This combo has given me like superhuman energy and really surprised me. So WHY didn’t I eat/drink it during this transition? One, I was dying from salt overload from the swim and I couldn’t deal with the idea of pretzels. Which is why I chose the Kind bar. Two, I remember kind of glancing at the Gatorade and I may as well have been looking at a doorknob. Like, “Hmm, that looks familiar like something I’ve used in a past life.” It just didn’t click to me. I took that one little sip of water and then I was starting to get really concerned about sitting there having a picnic while everyone else was clearing out to bike, so I just wanted to hustle and get out of there. I MAY have thought, “I’ll drink when I’m on the bike” but I also thought there would be some water/Gatorade stops on the way.

I got going out of transition and up the hill. This is a really steep kind of hill of doom thing, but I set it in first gear and just got up it. It wasn’t so bad. I was feeling pretty good. My feet were absolutely NUMB and I had noticed when putting my socks on they were a freaky white/red frostbitey color. They never thawed out the whole time I was on the bike.

Then we turned out of the park and it was so exciting! People lining the streets!

photo by Annelies!

I saw Annelies and my coaches and a whole ton of people. It was so cool. Then we had ANOTHER long climb but I felt OK.

Love this: "Susan whizzing by," by Annelies

I got through the first loop, turned around at the campground and headed back to the park. Fewer people standing around this time because a lot of people had transitioned to run. I was still feeling OK I thought.

I started coming up the long climb for trip number two and right away, my chain slipped. Damn. And as soon as I got off the bike, my head started swirling and I just felt… NOT GOOD. This guy came over and helped me with the chain. I continued up the hill and then I just had to stop. By complete coincidence, I happened to stop in front of this orange-shirted volunteer guy who had this first aid kit. It was a medic! Wow! He asked me how I was doing. I said, “Um…. not so hot.” He told me to rest a few minutes and I did and then I decided to walk to the crest of the hill. But I was feeling really wobbly.

I got on the bike again at the flat and went a little ways longer and then damn, my chain slipped off AGAIN. This time my teammate Art came to my rescue. He fixed my chain and at that point I just started crying. And finding it hard to breathe. And shivering like nobody’s business. I was SO COLD all of a sudden. Then I felt nauseated.  I drank a little more water but at that point I felt like I was going to puke. Then the orange-shirt medic came trotting up and he told me to sit down and I told Art to keep going. And then I REALLY fell apart.

(edited to add: I was dehydrated. I was SO DEHYDRATED! Because I hadn’t really had enough to drink beforehand, and I FORGOT to drink during transition, and I thought there would be water stops on the bike route so I didn’t drink while I was riding either.)

When supervising the medical care of athletes, it is important to recognize the basic signs of dehydration. These include thirst, irritability and general discomfort followed by headache, weakness, dizziness, cramps, chills, heartburn, difficulty breathing, vomiting, nausea, head or neck heat sensations and decreased performance. 

I felt like I was dying. Like all of my internal systems were just going haywire: stomach, lungs, brain, circulation, the works. The medic took my blood pressure. It was high. He said my heart rate was “pretty fast.” I started crying even more, and gasping and death-rattling, not unlike what I’ve done in open water. Except here I was now by the side of the road.  Meanwhile I was getting colder and colder and all I wanted was my big fake-fur parka back at transition. I thought I was going to die if I didn’t get warm. The medic gave me his fleece jacket but it didn’t cover my whole body and my teeth were just chattering like a skeleton dance.  I knew that I had two choices at that moment: I’d have to throw in the towel, or I’d have to rally and keep going. I had been sitting on the ground there for probably more than twenty minutes (no, no exaggeration!). I was feeling in a desperate state. He said, “Maybe you will feel better with some wind in your face, or we can call the car to come get you.”

HELL NO. No car! No car! I felt like I would die a thousand deaths of shame if I got toted back in a car. (worse than a kayak?) So I walked the bike shakily over the next rise and then got on again. I was about 20% into the 2nd loop at that point. I started going verrrrry, very slowly and grimly. I felt like death. I was so cold it was almost unbearable, and I was still kind of hyperventilating. I pedalled. Finally I got out to the turnaround where my friend Mary was waiting with another support person. I was feeling pretty miserable right then. I made my way back to the park and my plan was to ask coach Haakon what he thought I should do.

But there was pretty much nobody there at the park entrance at that point. People were FINISHING the race (I could hear the loudspeakers) and the guy waved his orange flag and flagged me back toward the entrance. They were starting to take down the bike course. I knew that about 4 of my teammates were still out on the course, doing their 3rd loop, because we’d passed each other. But they were past the turnaround and I hadn’t even started. I thought about the big hill and the time. I felt like I had no energy to do another loop, and no time to do it in, and that it would pretty much finish me, physically and emotionally.

I turned into the parking lot and headed down to Transition again.

Here, dear readers, is what is LITERALLY a turning point in the story. Where I made that decision, for better or worse. On one hand it felt like the only tenable choice. On the other hand it felt TERRIBLE. I knew that if I started the run portion I would still be way behind 99% of all of the participants in the race.

So I went down to transition, put on my running shoes and hat, and headed out again. As I passed a lot of people yelling my name, all I could think of was, “If you only knew! I just did two loops!”  I also knew I had to keep going and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

starting the run portion -- 6 miles to go!

In spite of my wonky knee and foot, I managed to “run” (ie not walk) more than half – maybe even 75% of the six miles. I did a walk interval with Art, who had saved me with my slipped chain during the ride. It was great to have him for company during that final piece.

running with Art

He finished up his 2nd run loop (my first) and I ran the majority of the last one. Two of the highlights of the run portion were seeing my beautiful Juniorette appear. She ran up and gave me a kiss and I got all weepy. Then I got to pass my awesome trainer, Doug, who had set up camp with a cup of coffee and a folding chair. I could hear his huge booming voice, “Here comes SUSANITO!” from blocks away. It was amazing to see him out there. (I wish I had a picture of this!)

Meanwhile, the vast majority of participants and spectators were passing me on the road as they headed out of the park, beeping and cowbelling out their windows. I think a hundred cars must have passed by and while it was nice to be cheered I was also wondering if there was going to be ANYbody left in the park when I got down to finish.

As it turns out, my whole beautiful team was there. I got down to the finish chute and my beautiful mentor Annika and her husband ran in with me.

If it hadn't been for my Team, I would have been completely alone here.

The whole team was yelling my name. The announcer goes, “What an entourage! They’re all yelling for Cindy!” and everyone yells “SUSAN!”

Getting closer…

FINISH: I put my arms up, but I was actually on the verge of falling apart.

I passed over the finish and got all hugged by everyone and I was a sobbing, weepy MESS.

LILY put my medal around my neck! Sob!

Group hug!

My buddy to the end

Coach hug: "You did the damn thing!"

Hubby hug with Juniorette

The announcer boomed out, “Yes, sometimes there are a few tears.” Which made me cry more. I was just freaking SPENT at that point.

Then the last bunch of teammates came on in a while later and then everyone was done and I walked around feeling super fragile, and a combination of triumphant and completely fraudulent and awful. I told Mr. M what had gone on, and of course he was not the least bit disgusted or concerned. (he was, however, quite dismayed by my lack of hydration)

Came home. Took a hot bath (I was STILL cold!). Passed out into a fitful nap then had soup for dinner.

I read the gazillion Facebook accolades and “you are so awesome!” comments. I started writing this recap but at that point I was drowning in feelings of guilt (over not doing the 3rd bike loop) and feeling like I had somehow cheated. I didn’t want to think of myself as the kind of person who takes the bus to the finish line. I was really agonizing over it and felt like I needed to return all the congratulations that had come my way.

I sent a confessional sort of race cap email to my coaches. It was really eating me up. Their responses made me bawl even more, but helped me see that I really did have something to be proud of and not ashamed about.

Coach Stephanie said:

I knew that you hadn’t finished that last loop. You are still a triathlete. Nothing takes that away from what you accomplished this season. I don’t know too many people, myself included who could have the tenacity to get back on that bike after the very emotional moments and sheer physical discomfort that you experienced and decided to carry on. Well done to you!   Live to fight another day…Forgive yourself for any feelings of defeat. You are a warrior and a Triathlete!

WAHHHHHH!

Then Coach Haakon said (and he was who I was most worried about because he is such a BAD ASS!):

You do not have anything to be ashamed of. I hope with all my heart that what you take out of this experience is that you accomplished a hell of a lot more than I think even you thought you were capable of. Plenty of people start and don’t finish completely. You toed the line and you battled through more obstacles than just about anyone else out there. You have trained diligently and hard and have contributed in a big way to the personality of our team. You deserve that medal and many more. I am none the less proud of your accomplishment today than I was yesterday and I would be shocked if anyone else was either. Everyone has a story and everyone has their reasons for doing things. What I see here is someone who struggled enormously yet pushed through despite every part of her body telling her to stop. I can imagine that the decision to cut it short was not an easy one, but it also sounds like it was the right one. Be proud of what you accomplished and celebrate the small victories that you made along the way. Some times it is good to “fail”. It teaches us where our limiters are. Notice I did not say limits. Recognizing our limiters gives us the opportunity to focus our attention in areas that will in term make us better, faster and stronger.

Be proud of what you did, I know I am. Your story will be very inspirational to many and there is no need to paint it any other way. Hang your medal proudly on the glory wall and use it to stay motivated and continue to push outside your comfort zone. Thank you so much for your participation this season and for sharing your story. I would love to see you come back for another go at it some day.

DOUBLE WAHHHHHH! I hope they do not mind posting these emails, but receiving these made me really feel what it has meant to be part of Team in Training. Where they took me in and encouraged me and believed in me to the very end, and beyond the end. This has been one of the most transformative experiences of my LIFE.

Thank you team, thank you teammates and friends and donors and supporters who have followed this journey since July. I know I’ll never be the same.

buddy for life

favorite piece of jewelry other than my wedding ring

 

Oakland Marathon Recap: Wild Joy and a Crash March 28, 2010

I’m lying on my bed. My stomach is in some kind of turmoil. I still don’t feel so good physically. But emotionally I feel great! We did it! *I* did it!

I don’t have energy to do anything but lie here so I’m just gonna do that; lie here and write out my marathon recap. Are ya ready for all the details? (if not, just skip this post!) (AT THIS POINT I STOPPED BLOGGING FOR SEVERAL HOURS)

Picking up the packet and chip at the Marathon Expo was big fun yesterday. It was great to meet up with the other penguins and feel all the buzzy excitement about the event. After the Expo I had about a million errands to run in preparation for my trip to Costa Rica! tomorrow!!! (I honestly can’t even fathom this right now) I came home, had a pasta dinner (carbo loading you know, but with Dreamfields low-glycemic linguine), then tried to go to bed. I was soooooo unsleepy and did not sleep until after midnight. :-(

Woke up at 6:30 by text from another penguin who was already at the starting line. I knew I had a looooong way to go. I was hoping to get down to cheer on my teammates in leg 1 and 2, but there were a lot of road closures going on. I made it to leg 2, and was able to cheer/meet up with/run with my two great pals Mary (Team Penguin) & Lisa Marie (Team Strong Mix). That made me so happy, to be alongside them for a block or two, offer up words of encouragement and love.  

OK then you’ll laugh. I still had a bunch of time before my own leg, so I asked my dear spouse to drive me home for a minute. I wanted to use my own bathroom. There was time. I’m kind of a wimp that way.  Then we headed down to the BART station so I could take the train to my relay start point. At this point it was about 10am and I felt like I’d been up and READY forever.

I got down to the relay point and it was so exciting. I felt great. I spent a bunch of time pacing around to warm up and before I knew it, Penguin #1 (Mary) was leaping out of nowhere to give me a hug, and then Penguin #3 (Michael-David) showed up around the corner and it was time to give him my BART card and get the ankle strap thingie with the chip (or so we thought, more on that later). He strapped  it on my ankle and I just took off. I was so high!

The first part of the run made me so happy. I had run this stretch many times before and I love it. A bunch of folks were out in lawn chairs, cheering us on and saying encouraging stuff. I felt fabulous. But after the first mile I got a little surprised because the route changed on me. We ran straight past the point where I usually turn off. This made me kind of nervous and concerned because suddenly I had NO IDEA where we were going, it was all unfamiliar, and worst, there were hardly ANY spectators/cheering people on this part. It just felt lonely and confusing.

Luckily, that only lasted a mile or so and I was back on familiar turf. At around mile 22 (aka MY mile 3, since I started at 19) I was feeling great. And I should remind myself that that was the length (almost) of my regular 5k. I felt so happy. We came into sight of the lake. The lake was full of even MORE people and I did good up until right past mile 23. Then I started feeling kind of sick to my stomach (I should’ve known, first sign of dehydration!). I had a few gulps of water at the water station but didn’t want too much because I was worried I’d throw up.

I thought, maybe this is the time for some Gu. I ripped open the vanilla Gu. OMG. I have not had anything that intensely sweet in… over a year. (it’s like sucking down cake frosting from a tube) I was like, oh NOOOOO I need water! I need it bad! But the water station was what felt like a lonng way away. I could not deal with this thick frosting feeling in my mouth. But I felt like I needed it.

Got to a water station around mile 24. Gulped a big cup of water. Started praying I’d feel better. I didn’t. Then my hands started tingling and actually going numb. OK, I started freaking. And started walking. I knew I had 2 miles left and I didn’t want to be coming in on a stretcher. So I powerwalked about 5 minutes and when I started feeling a bit better, I took a run, starting around 25. But I never felt super great after that point. I kept trying to gauge it. I wanted to have a strong finish for SURE, so I was trying to ration my energy.

At about a mile from the finish, I saw Penguin 1 (Kathy) who had been searching for me all over the lake!! (great runner, good Catholic, she was trying to attend a MASS in between her leg and mine!) This was the last uphill. I said to her, y’know, I’m not doing so hot. I ran a bit then said I have to walk. Then Penguin 2 (Mary) popped up! And finally Penguin 3! They were bringing me in!!!! This would’ve made me so emotional but at that point I realized I was having trouble breathing. My lungs were just seizing up, I was wheezing and I got a little panicky. Luckily (and miraculously?) Mary HAPPENED to have an inhaler in her pocket! so I used that. But I was feeling not so hot. So much for my strong finish. Then we rounded the bend and I knew it was like 3 blocks away. I gathered up all the adrenaline inside and sprinted in to the Finish. Then kinda collapsed.

One of the volunteer dudes gave us some bad news right after the finish. He told us that what we THOUGHT had been the race timing chip was actually the receipt, or the “other” part of the band. Which was INCREDIBLY irritating, since we had asked a race volunteer at the Expo to attach the chip to the ankle strap because we were SO worried about getting it wrong somehow. But voila, SHE got it wrong, and as a result, we had no split times. Which was really maddening, and not cool. Boo on race volunteers who Don’t Know What They’re Doing.

We blasted through the little post-race chute, got our medals (YAY), got our photos taken (YAY). I was like, I’m feeling kinda bad. I’m feeling kinda shaky. I had some PowerAde and a section of an orange, but I still did not feel so hot. I managed to get excited for the photo opps because yeah it felt so great to FINISH the thing, but I was aware underneath it all that I really, really wanted to get home, and like ASAP.

Michael-David had a sausage sandwich that looked really good at first but every time he offered me a bite my stomach got really alarmed. Part of me was like, “I need PROTEIN!” but then I couldn’t face it. So we went home.

Over the course of the next five hours, I just felt worse. And worse. And worse. And I wasn’t eating or drinking because I felt incredibly nauseated, my stomach was in absolute turmoil. I had started writing this recap but after about the first few paragraphs I couldn’t even do that. I tried to sleep. But I was in pain, and feeling shaky and cold and crazy.

FINALLY after many hours of this my husband brought me some chicken soup and said I had to try to eat it, that the salt would help restore me. I choked a bit down and actually it did help me feel better, a lot better. I went into the bathroom and weighed myself and saw that I had lost 5 lbs since that morning. I knew then that my problem really was all about dehydration.

I felt really stupid. I felt like I had not taken good care of myself or prepared well. I ate my breakfast (whole wheat Eng muffin with peanut butter, and coffee, yeah duh) at 7am. And then had nothing to eat or drink until that Gu at mile 23. In retrospect, yeah, that was super poor planning on my part. But every time I’d approached any station, I was like, “I don’t want to have to stop and pee!” or “I’m not hungry,” or whatever, so I kept passing it all up. Until it was too late.

I don’t know what was up with the asthma except that the allergies are super bad around here and I think with all the other stress, my lungs just freaked out. THAT was scary.

SO now it’s 8pm, I am just now starting to feel like maybe I’ll live. My blood glucose is 172. Which sucks.  I feel chagrined and embarrassed. I’m sad that I didn’t prepare well and thus did not have the great experience I wanted (all the way through). I’m mad that it’s 8pm and I have to leave for Costa Rica in 12 hours and I am NOT READY!

But on the other hand, it was a beautiful experience. I loved the community, the being out in my great city, the energy. I loved that I had zero orthopedic problems the whole time (foot/leg/hip/back). I loved a lot about it. But I’m just feeling sorta humbled now, and really tired. I’m really glad I did it, and so happy I finished, and I do feel proud.  Thanks everyone, for the fantastic support all along the way.

 

Did another 5k – But am I a Runner? September 6, 2009

IMG_0625I did my 3rd 5k race today. I was really nervous about it since I have not been running very much at all – maybe a 20 minute run per week -and I had not trained for it. But I was curious to know how the rest of my exercise would prepare me – does general fitness help? And I was curious about how my running time would stand up to the previous two runs.

There were all sorts of impediments that I was sort of hoping would make us decide to NOT do the run. I realized that the major bridge between where I live and the run took place, was closed all weekend for construction. But we ended up going around, and taking two other bridges, and we actually got there in about half an hour.

We got there so early we went to a Starbucks nearby (there are ALWAYS Starbucks nearby, aren’t there?) and I had my 2nd cup of coffee for the morning (probably not wise). We went over to the race course about twenty minutes ahead of time, registered and got little tags to pin to our shirts. This was definitely a low-budget, low-tech, volunteer affair, unlike the other races. Which meant that most of the people participating were more serious runners.

There were only a few minutes to “warm up” and I was sort of kicking myself, because the point of getting there super early was to WARM UP, not to sit and drink coffee at Starbucks. Duh! There was no bell or gun or anything at the Start, just a guy yelling, “Ready…. set… GO!” We went. Most of the crowd (a few hundred people?) took off really, really fast. M and I had sworn to each other that we would try and go at a comfortable pace, and not get all worked up about trying to keep up with folks. This was hard as most people just kept passing and passing us.

For the first mile or so, my feet hurt. My feet haven’t hurt while exercising in MONTHS. But they hurt. Plus I knew I was breathing harder than usual. M kept saying, “It’s going to get easier.” Probably the middle mile was the easiest. My foot pain eased up and we were in sort of a rhythm. It was super windy. We were going against the wind and it felt like a huge hand was just pushing us way back. The good part was that it was right along the water and the Golden Gate Bridge was right there and it looked quite pretty. (not that I looked at it much)

After a while, we started seeing the front runners coming towards us. The route had a turnaround point and those out in front were sailing past. They looked pretty awesome and cool and I felt inspired seeing them. Then I kept wondering, when do WE get to turn around? It took a lot longer to get to that point than I would have liked.

The last mile was both better and worse. The prospect of finishing made me happy, but I think we were both struggling a bit and wondering if it was going to happen. Then the finish line was in sight. We sprinted at the end, so we could finish with a time of 36 minutes. We did! But then I felt instantly nauseated. I had to walk around. I felt pretty awful.

After we drove home and I dropped M off, I noticed that I was only about a mile from my Sunday morning Nia class, and it was starting in 15 minutes. Part of me said, “That’s crazy” and part of me felt like I really, really needed it. I think the run had stressed me. I felt pretty anxious during most of it, asking constantly about the time and trying to figure out if I was going to survive. I was sure I was filled with adrenaline and stress hormones. I felt like I needed the calm and grounding of Nia, even if it was another workout. So I went.

It was lovely, and very energizing. I felt like the run had really warmed me up, plus the room was super hot. I was really happy to be in there. The teacher was fantastic (again).  I was glad I had done it. After the class, I decided to go check out the mega amazing super organic million-times-better-than-Whole-Foods new grocery store.

And it was in there that I bonked. Suddenly I was pushing my cart like a 100 year old person, feeling faint, nauseated, overwhelmed. None of the amazing food looked good to me, even though I hadn’t eaten anything since my PB-on-whole-wheat-English-muffin at 6:30am. (MISTAKE) But I pushed it along for an hour, came home, brought the groceries into the kitchen, feeling worse and worse and worse, then promptly fell into bed and did not move except to moan for the rest of the day (I am still in bed).

I think I got super dehydrated. I also did not do myself any favors by not eating, especially before the Nia class. But I had been feeling so upset-stomachy that food did not appeal. So I pretty much messed myself up today. Oh well. I learned. And I recovered by having some super salty chicken soup that my nice husband brought to me.

But I’m feeling ambivalent about running now. The good news is:

  1. I finished.
  2. I finished with the same time as my last race.
  3. 36 minutes for 3.1 miles is not amazing, but it is also not too shabby. For a 50 yr old who does not run a lot.
  4. It made me feel happy and accomplished, and I got another little ribbon to add to my collection.

The bad news is:

  1. I was really pretty anxious during the whole run.
  2. I was dumb and did not hydrate or eat enough.
  3. I basically was useless the entire second half of the day. I mean, I felt TERRIBLE.
  4. I do not want to run all the time, which is probably necessary for doing better during races than I did today.

The thing is, I actually like running when I am running to run, but not in races. I get too caught up in keeping up with people. Meanwhile, today, an 80 year old limping guy passed us. A woman who probably weighs 150 more than me passed us. A ton of little kids passed us, including a few who fell down and were crying, but got up and still beat us.

We ARE the running Penguins, that’s for sure. Should we just run for the fun of it when we want to, as far as we want to, or should we (or mainly I) keep doing races?

 

 
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