2008-04-27

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

2 Comments:

Blogger Pokey said...

WOW! I am sorry you had to go thru all of that.....how are you doing now?????

15:56  
Blogger Jim said...

I plan on starting back up tomorrow, now that pollen season has calmed down somewhat. I don't think I'm going to race again until the Las Vegas Marathon in December.

08:32  

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