absolutely beautiful things: All Over Red Rover


Trail of Tears: Jim's Second Half-Marathon

Well, I completed my half-marathon Saturday, but I had to be carried away from the venue in an ambulance. I have been fighting allergy symptoms since last weekend and had a NASTY asthma attack starting just before the two-mile mark. In my infinite wisdom, I kept running, although I slowed down. After an experience akin to breathing through a straw for the two miles and a half, the symptoms started to ease up and my trachea felt like it was opening up, just in time for the big downhill on the course which would be a sharp uphill coming back. I felt fine lungwise at this point, but was getting quite fatigued. I walked the sharp uphill coming back. The last four or five miles of the thirteen were a gentle slope downward which I jogged at a relaxed pace. What I didn't know is that my muscles weren't getting much oxygen during the breathing-through-a-straw phase of the race, not to mention the elevation was ~5000 feet, compared to the 1800-2000 at which I had been training. I started to get rather nauseated at mile 11 or so. The real pain came when I reached the finish line and stopped running.

I have never felt an agony like that in my life. I couldn't stand up. I couldn't sit down. I could barely lift my arms. My speech was slurred and it felt like someone was standing on my chest with their hands around my neck. Everything ached and I was dizzy. After I had been stumbling around for about ten minutes, making Cris wonder what I was going to do next, and waiting to see if this agony would eventually subside, the intermediate (EMT-type) approached me and asked me if I needed oxygen. I gladly accepted. He assessed my situation and decided I needed an IV of saline as well. I was nearly panicking as I gasped for each breath. It took about an hour or so for that to calm down. My blood pressure was unbelievably low. About the time the ambulance from town (the course was about 45 miles from the city) got there, my symptoms started to calm down and I was able to speak in complete sentences, though my breathing was still labored. They put me in the other ambulance and off we went to the St. Rose Dominican Hospital, San Martin branch.

By the time I got the hospital I had been given a breathing treatment, about seven liters of oxygen, and a liter and a half of water. The sweat on my head and face had dried and encrusted as salt that was visible by the EMT crew. I had been hooked up to an EKG to make sure my ticker had survived the electrolyte depletion unscathed. When I got into the ER, I was placed in a room where the oxygen and saline treatment continued, copious amounts of blood was drawn, and I was kept under observation. I was there from about noon to eight, then they released me so Cris and I could go home. Cris was there with me the whole time and kept me in good spirits, because she's good like that.

Today I feel groggy and fatigued. My shoulders, hips, legs, and feet are sore, as well as my lower abdomen. My chest still feels a little tight and I'm having to take medicine to keep it under control.

Suffice it to say, I won't be at work tomorrow. I need to rest. I've surmised that (1) allergy season is not a good time for me to do these races, (2) heat, me, and running don't mix well, and (3) if I'm going to run a race at a certain altitude I should train at that altitude. A link to the course (so you'll see what I'm talking about) is below. My time was 2:53:53.

Map and elevation profile of the Lovell Canyon half-marathon, hosted by Calico Racing



I've taken a week off from training due to my knees bothering me. Resuming tomorrow with normal schedule. The highlight as of lately is the 14.35 miles I ran at Red Rock. I am beyond ready for Lovell Canyon on April 26, so I'm gonna get a few more long ones banged out between now and then, but am keeping a close eye on my knees.

Fun stuff.


Twelve miler down the Las Vegas Strip (and back up)

My workouts were long this week (eight miles each), but I only had two, plus the twelve miler I did on the Strip this morning. There were quite a few other people out running the strip, too, which was pretty encouraging because we'd greet each other with a smile, a wave, or a head nod. Most of us runners are a friendly bunch. The run took me from the site of the house I own in a historic neighborhood, which is near Charleston Blvd. and Las Vegas Blvd. I took LVB all the way down to the famous Welcome-To-Las-Vegas sign, which is about a quarter-mile south of Russell Road (think Mandalay Bay). I think the biggest challenge was tackling the cross-walk/footbridges at Tropicana, Spring Mountain, and Flamingo, which basically amounted to scaling a flight of stairs, each.

All-in-all, it was a good run. I had no pain and no stiffness or severe fatigue to speak of. I did some yard work at the house I own afterwards, then drove home for a nap. I just scarfed some tuna and cabbage salad for dinner.


31 miles and stomach issues.

So here's how things went down this week. I put in seven miles Monday, six on Wednesday, seven on Thursday, and eleven for my long run on Saturday. I've had to back off on the throttle a little bit due to my knees acting a little janky. Other than that I had a pretty decent week. Well, other than that and the stomach bug I woke up with this morning. I must've passed about a gallon of water when I woke up. I'm starting to feel better now, but I'm still pretty lethargic. I started yesterday's two-hour treadmill run a bit gassy yesterday, so I'm thinking the condition existed before I even got started, the activity just pushed me over the edge. This problem existed briefly last year when I was training for the Las Vegas Half. My GI doctor said that it's probably ischemic in nature, meaning that blood flow to that nether region is restricted due to it being redirected to my legs and lungs while running. I looked it up. Seems like it's fairly common. Small price to pay, I reckon.

Guess I'll have to watch what I eat when I start to put the miles on. Or something.:-)


Long run, 2/16, what's the haps lately?

I laid down an eight miler this past Saturday afternoon through downtown LV, to include Freemont Street. It was a lot of fun and seemed to go by very quickly. My knees have been acting iffy lately, not to mention the soreness in my hamstrings and back from pulling weeds in my yard Sunday, so I chilled out last night. The YMCA at which I do a lot of my training was closed, anyway.

I'm going to go ahead a swear by the gels - they frickin' work. I had one during my ten miler a couple of weeks ago at about mile six and boy oh boy did I ever feel a surge of energy. I have learned the value of backing off the throttle on the long runs, given the fit my knees gave me, which I attribute to taking the last four miles of the ten a little too quickly (I think I was in the 9:20 range which is hauling ass for me).

I'm only running three times this week - two sixes and an eleven for the long run on Saturday morning, afternoon, whichever is more comfortable weather wise. I'm feeling good about being ready to go April 26, but I'm keeping a close watch on my knees.

I forgot to mention how perfect the weather has been lately. I'm off to go get my bones cracked. :-)


Long run.

I put in a ten miler Saturday and averaged about a 10:20 mile overall. It was slow going the first half, mainly due to the steady incline of the road. I was pulling sub-10's between miles six and nine. Nice, until the last mile. That was the time at which my knees started acting up. I even had to stop at one point and massage my kneecaps a little. I think that maybe I should slow it down a little on the long runs, although inside I'm proud that I could haul as much ass as I did after mile six. I'm still pretty sore, in fact, but they say that's a good thing. I have done more work to prepare my muscles for the long haul on race day. :-) In other news I had a pretty solid tempo run last Thursday. In that hour I managed to make it 6.5 miles.

This week:
Monday: Recovery run (I told you I was still sore:-/) - 5 - 6 miles
Wednesday: Intervals - one hour (probably 10K, tentative depending on how my knees are doing)
Thursday: Moderate run - 6 miles
Saturday: "long" run - 8 miles.

That'll be 25-26 miles. I ran 28 last week. I'm pretty happy with the way things are going so far. I'm looking at the idea of possibly doing more than one 13-miler in preparation for the race. It all depends on what my body can handle. :-)