Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fall Classic 1/2 Marathon

The last time I ran a half marathon was October 2008 and I felt I could eek out a PR at that distance before this year was over. I had run the most consistent and highest mileage EVER, IN MY LIFE for the past 8 weeks. The totals went like this starting the week of 9/28-10/04.

Week 1 - 43.53
Week 2 - 42.20
Week 3 - 47.43
Week 4 - 35.69
Week 5 - 52.46
Week 6 - 46.49 (2 hour trainer ride at 5 Seasons)
Week 7 - 30.54
Race Week 38.25

I had debated running until this Wednesday after the fiasco last Friday. I had definitely felt out of sorts for a few days after that, but after dropping a 7:16 mile and feeling it had taken a lot less effort than I would have imagined, I bit the bullet and signed myself up.

I got home from work last night a little after 11:00pm, popped a melatonin (they work like a charm for anyone who has an alternating sleep schedule like myself)and was out a little before 1:00am.

The weather seemed to be perfect for me. High 40's, low 50's, no wind. There was a record number of runners this year, so parking was diverted up a hill to the RTA. I wasn't sure if I could get back to my truck before start time, so I threw my gear in my bag and headed out prepared to temporarily abandon during the race hoping that no one wanted my Asics or sweaty warm-up clothes. I, of course, forgot my gels in the truck, but thankfully IDUTRI was there with a stand selling some.

I saw my friend MF right before the start. I hadn't seen her in almost a year because she had moved to Columbus. She was putting up some really great times in the half marathon going sub-1:30:00.

The race started a few minutes late, but before I knew it I was racing. It felt strange. I had not done any speedwork and the only time I ran sub-8:00/miles was on the four 3 mile tempo runs I had done. I was definitely aware that pacing would be difficult at a sub-8 pace today, so starting out I tried really, really hard to run easy and not push it like I was in a 5k, but even with the first mile being short I think I still ripped the first couple miles off way too fast.

I never checked my splits on my watch, but I did try to listen to anyone calling out times at the mile markers. There wasn't a lot of jockeying and the runners spread out quickly and it seemed I was more toward the front than the back. The pack was definitely behind me. I felt as relaxed as a person racing can be. I heard the 5 mile timer call out 36:30 and I had an "UH OH!!" moment. My fastest 5 mile time by itself was 36:59. I think I psyched myself out a little when I heard that. No way could I run faster than my 5 mile PR for 13.1! Stupid Brain!!!

I just kept on trucking knowing, I had definitely put time in the bank for my PR. My stomach felt heavy today and I had a slight pain on my left side in my ribs, so I waited to take a gel until mile 8, usually I take 2 gels in a half, but today I stuck to the sport drink for my sugar. I was hoping to go as close to 1:37:00 as possible but as I hit mile 8 on the second loop my legs were starting to poop out. The wind had picked up a tad, but there was no one to run with, except the guy behind me, who ran off me. I slowed, but he didn't pass, so I slowed some more...he passed me then. It was a great excuse to try to conserve some energy. I kept thinking I will pick it up at the 10 mile marker right after the turnaround, but I knew deep down I would not be able to pick it up and hammer it today. No matter what I did now, I would be struggling the last 3 miles and it was going to hurt, so I picked the pace back up and just tried to hold on. I did note though that I PR'd at the 5 mile, 10k, 9 mile and 10 mile distance as I heard my times called out. I felt a huge boost of confidence that I would certainly PR, but when they called out 1:15:xx at the 10 mile mark I knew I was gonna be fighting like hell the last 5k for that 1:37:00. I forced myself to run harder and refused to look at my watch! My watch was not going to dictate my effort today. I was going to run the best I could all the way to the finish even if I missed my goal. I was sucking wind and honking and wheezing like a goose!! I was actually kind of embarassed. The noise was annoying me so it had to be annoying people around me.

I finally made it into the parking lot area where the finsih is less than a half mile away when some guy shouted 1:36:00...BOOM!!! He burst my bubble. I couldn't make it to the finish in 1:00 min. Why that SOB?!?! Nobody asked him to call out time there. He wasn't even at a mile marker. He was like that guy at the NERC 5k series races that stands about .1 mile ahead of the 2 mile marker. He calls out the time you want to hear at the 2 mile marker, and then you go " oh sh&t" when you realize you're already behind your goal with over a mile to go.

My quads hurt, my lungs hurt, I was a hot crabby mess!! I ran for the finish, finally closing in on a ton of runners. I heard someone yell my name as I saw the clock at 1:38:xx. F*CK!!!! I refused to let it hit 1:39:00. I hauled ass and clipped off a 1:38:46 on my watch. I had PR'd . Hell YAY!! That was 2 races in a row and with 2 PR's. I am really pumped I PR'd and as much pain as I was in I had really missed racing. I am very amazed (and proud) of how some of my girlfriends can move their skinny little asses, so much faster. More power to them!! My ass is the only thing that didn't hurt below the waist when I was done! Ouchie :( But I really did enjoy myself today.

My Watch Splits
Mile 1 7:22
Mile 2 7:15
Mile 3 7:21
Mile 4 7:32
Mile 5 7:15
Mile 6 and 7 15:06
Mile 8 7:47
Mile 9 7:35
Mile 10 and 11 15:35
Mile 12 7:30
Mile 13 7:41
Last .1 :46

Official Time: 1:38:44 (2 seconds faster than my watch, always nice when that happens)

Friday, November 13, 2009

And the Nurse Becomes the Patient

Finishing up my clincical rotation this morning would have closed out my 12th and busiest week of the accelerated nursing program thus far, but something went undeniably wrong.

I had planned to take an extra day off this week from running as I needed some recovery, so with my exam yesterday, dinner plans with my cohort and clinicals calling for me to rise at 5:30 am on Friday I figured Thursday would be a good day to take it easy on the running. I finished up my exam not feeling I had done well enough for an A, but passing. I was excited that the hardest part of the week was over, having only clinicals, a few medication sheets and a care plan of action for the H1N1 virus to do before the end of the week.

I laid down at 1:00am going over in my mind all the things I needed to get done in the next 3 days for school and work. It was going to be tight, but doable. I kept thinking and thinking about my care plan of action and debated whether I should just get up and start working on it or at least "lay" in bed for a few hours and let my body rest with the possibility of a few moments of restful sleep. It didn't happen. I tossed and turned and could not shut my mind off. I watched the time tick away until 5:30am when I rose and prepped for clinicals. I knew the day would be rough with no sleep, but hey I have functioned and even run a marathon on little to no sleep.

I arrived a little before 7:00am and was standing at the nurses station taking report when I felt weird. I started to lose my hearing and my throat closed a little, I closed my eyes and tried swallowing a few times. I felt dizzy and debated whether I should sit for a moment, but having had this happen a few times in the past I figured it would pass, so I continued to stand and take report.

I believe in that moment, I closed my eyes one final time before the details became fuzzy and I had a blank spot in my memory. I kind of remeber hearing someone say my name a few times and feeling arms around my torso and then I felt myself moving into a seated position and my hearing started to return a little and I opened my eyes to find every freakin' nurse on the floor surrounding me, talking, throwing a BP cuff and a pulseox on me. I heard someone ask if I was diabetic another nurse grabbed my finger and lanceted my finger for a glucose test. I was so disoriented as I heard abnormal BP and pulse numbers being called out. "Oh F*ck!! What the hell had just happened to me? I kept swallowing and my hearing slowly got better, but a wave of heat washed over me and I felt shaky and sweaty. I didn't know what the hell was going on. Piece by piece I had discovered I had passed out.

I was so embarassed and disoriented. I couldn't get my bearings and nurses were surronding me. I heard they had paged an emergency doctor and within a few minutes there he was hustling down to me. I tried to tell everyone I was fine. Yes, I had eaten breakfast, no I was not diabetic. Yes, I knew my name and my date of birth. I was alert for cripes sake!!! It was determined, I had to go to the ER for testing. A few nurses said they had seen my eyes roll back in my head and my lids flutter. It was crazy. Those were signs of seizures and mini-strokes. I insisted it was because I was tired and had not been able to sleep the night before. My clinical instructor believed me, but gave me a bunch of sh*t about how she couldn't believe I would come into clinicals on no sleep and that I should have called said I wasn't coming in. Ahhh, yeah right!!! This is mandatory state board required hours, I can't miss!! I was so mad and upset. I hadn't purposefully passed out! I really wasn't looking forward to the trip to the ER either. F*ck!!

One of my classmates took me down in a wheelchair after I had been pumped with 600mL of flud. We didn't have to wait and I was wheeled into a private room, but before that they had me go in the bathroom and give them a sample. Fine I had to pee anyway from all those fluids. Once in the room I had to change out of my scrubs into a patient gown. The nurses came in and began monitoring my vitals. They stripped my gown and hooked my up to a 12-lead EKG to monitor my heart and took a few vials of blood. I was really not happy now!! After they got my blood they hooked up an IV with about 1000 mL of normal saline. My urine test had come back showing I was slightly dehydrated, key word slightly. They pumped me full of fluid anyway. It was only a matter of minutes before I started shaking from the IV fluids, so my friend covered me with a blanket. To top it off I had to pee again, but hooked up to all this equipment it was going to be hard to go anywhere. I had an IV in my right arm, 10 electrodes with wires coming off my chest, a pulse oximeter on my left index finger and a blood pressure cuff on my left arm. Damn!! I asked the nurse to unhook me, but she refused because I was at risk for falling and I would have to use a bed pan until my blood work came back. What?!?! I was NOT using a f*cking bedpan. I asked how long it would take and she said about an hour and a half. I refused the bed pan and told her this was ridiculous and I was done with this. I wanted all the testing stopped. I was going to leave AMA (against medical advisement).

The doctor came in and I explained to him my very limited health insurance would not pay for all these tests and I had to pee and I was fine!!! He told me I would not be able to get back into clinicals without a doctor's approval and he would only do the bare minimum testing. They were fairly certain I had had a vasovagal response, but they wanted to confirm I did not have a heart attack, so along with the EKG, they were checking my tropinin and creatine kinase levels in my heart and they wanted to do an x-ray of my chest for calcium deposits. CK should be < 4, Troponin < .01. I agreed to those tests as I really needed the clearance for clinicals.

The doctor left, but I still had to pee. My friend unhooked the IV bag from the stand and then I unhooked the EKG wires from my chest while she paused the monitor and removed the BP cuff and the pulseox. We made a break for the bathroom across the hall and I was never so happy to sit on a toilet and pee!!

We went back to the room and hooked me back up until I was taken for x-ray and then brought back. I was so impatient. I figured, I am 32 heatlhy as can be. I couldn't have had a heart attack, but then I started thinking, one day I may enter the hospital and my chances wont be this good that nothing is wrong. Man I hate getting old. I hated being the patient. I felt so helpless waiting for results so I could get on with my life.

My friend had decided to stay with me through it all as I could wipe my ass and her other patient upstairs could not, at least until or clinical instructor came down and popped her head in. She wanted to check on me and tell me to take it easy and not stress out and then reprimand me a little bit too. Arrggghhhh!!!

Finally, the doctor came in! No calcium in my heart, EKG was normal, troponin <.01 and Creatine Kinase inn my heart was 4.7!!! WTF!!!!!!!

The doctor said he thought it was a fluke and I was a healthy runner. Creatine levels increase when muscle breaks down. My creatine in the skeletal muscle was a little off, so maybe it is the same for my cardiac muscle too. Needless to say, I remember having no chest pain, just being very aware of my heart rate feeling high that morning.

I know myself and I know my body. I did not have a heart attack. I have low blood pressure and when it remains the same while my heart rate increases blood is pumped out of my heart too fast! When the left ventricle has no blood to pump a person will pass out if blood pressure does not increase to bring it back to the heart resulting in a person passing out. I passed out.

It was somewhere around 1:00pm when they finally released me with strict instructions to go home and rest for 24 hours. I felt confident I would make it home. I knew if it happened again I would have less than 2 minutes to stop my truck and pull over before I would completely passout. I also called a friend and talked to her on the phone just in case.

Home and in my bed I began rehashing the events of the day, instead of shutting off my mind and resting as prescribe. It seemed so unreal. I have never been admitted to the ER for an uncertain and uncontrolled condition. It was definitely eye opening for me. I hated the feeling of helplessness. I hated the idea that something really bad might have happened. I hated the fact that I couldn't control it!!

I have spent everyday since running and being very thankful I have my health.

Monday, November 2, 2009

LII.XLVI and "She's a little bit dangerous...ooooooo"

That's how many miles I ran last week! I am thrilled. I have never run that many miles in a week before. I even managed to round out the month with a little over 195 miles. I suppose if I had known how close I was to 200 miles I would have gone for it, but my focus is not on training. It is on escaping the monotony of studying and working. I started with about 45-60 minutes of running 5-6 days a week for a study break and as the intensity of the school work increased so did my urge to run just a little longer to avoid getting back to the books, so now it's up to 60-90 minutes on average.

I am not getting ready for any marathons, but I am running higher mileage than ever before. I thought it would be difficult to just run, but it's such a relief to get away from the books and I look forward to my run each day. I am doing tempos and pace runs if I am "feeling frisky," but for the most part I am just playing the role of Forrest Gump and running from here to there at a pace that feels comfortable. My SI joint in my spine is bothering me on and off, but I am continuing to manage the pain with the rehab exercises I have learned. I refuse to believe my marathoning days are over because of a little dysfuntion in my f*ck#ing back!! Most days it has been manageable and I am not giving up.

I finally broke down and utilized the ipod store to make a playlist which resulted in my diagnosing myself with multiple personality disorders as the selection is random, well except for the fact that I can run to it.

Shake That - Eminem
Dancing on the Ceiling - Lionel Ritchie
Blood is Pumpin - Voodoo and Serano
Head Like a Hole - NIN
Click Click Boom - Saliva
Jump Around - House of Pain
Bodies - Drowning Pool
Invincible - Pat Benatar
We Built This City - Starship
True Nature - Janes Addiction
More Human than Human - White Zombie
Runaround Sue - Dion
Check Up On it - Beyonce
Rythm Nation - Janet Jackson
Krazy - Pitbull and Lil John
Come On Feel the Noise - Quiet Riot
Under Pressure - David Bowie
I Wanna Dance with Somebody - Whitney Houston
Wake Me Up Before You Go - Wham
Footloose - Kenny Loggins
Scream - Michael and Janet Jackson
That's Not My Name - Ting Tings
Dangerous - Roxette