I was still in high school when I experienced my first ride in an ambulance. I don’t think the details of that incident need to be published on the internet, but I also don’t remember it very well. I was at a Beck and Ben Folds Five concert, things got crazy, we’ll leave it at that. The details are a little fuzzy.
This past weekend was my second time in an ambulance. I knew I was getting sick on Friday, but I pretended it wasn’t happening. I was coughing and had a hard time breathing on my run on Saturday, but I remained optimistic. I did my 2 mile warm up on Sunday and felt horrible, but convinced myself it was just nerves. Pete took one look at me after my warm up and told me I shouldn’t run, so I got mad at him for “being negative”. I started the race anyway, knowing I would have to revise my goals and just aim for 6:45 pace instead of 6:30, but after about two miles I was already feeling bad. I finally stopped running at 6 miles and asked for medical assistance because I couldn’t catch my breath. I though they would send me to a medical tent, but a few minutes later a big, shiny, red City of Norfolk ambulance showed up for me and my pathetic ass.
They took my vital signs and my heart rate and blood pressure were elevated (“through the roof” was the very official medical term the EMT gave me) and they wanted to take me to the hospital. I told them I didn’t want to go because my sister was running the marathon and I wanted to see her finish, so they did an EKG reading. Luckily the EKG was normal, but they weren’t able to take me all the way to the finish line because it was out of their zone. Or maybe they didn’t feel like taking me that far.
While I was waiting for Pete, since the marathon was two 13 mile loops, I was able to cheer on my sister as she ran past. A few minutes later my brother-in-law Brandon ran past and stopped when he saw me. He was having achilles pain and had let my sister go ahead a little after halfway. He decided to drop out and wait with me so we could see Steph finish. A few minutes later Pete picked us up and we hurried back to the finish line (at a safe speed, of course).
Although I was pissed off about being sick and Brandon was bummed about his injury, we were excited for Steph but also super nervous waiting for her to finish. Just after the 3:30 pace group finished, Brandon jumped up and said “That’s Steph!” She came through in 3:32, well under the 3:35 she needed for Boston, and that literally saved the day. I think I would normally be feeling sorry for myself, but I tried to put it all in perspective and realize that there was nothing I could have done differently. It actually ended up being a good thing that I dropped out because Brandon had a ride back to the finish. And normal people don’t try to run half marathons when they are sick. Blah.
As I sit here typing, I know this past week (all 26 miles of it) did not go very well, and I will probably have to rest for three days this week, but I am hoping I’ll be able to bounce back and still have a good marathon. For now I know I have learned my lesson and I will not try to race when I am sick. Also, I will stay far, far away from germy teenagers for the next three weeks.
Have you ever needed medical assistance during a race? Do you think I need to revise my race goals after missing a week of training?