I will preface this by saying I truly believe I was ready for this race. By that I mean I trained, trained in the heat, worked on my *mental game* and was very much ready to toe the line with every intention of finishing one way or another.
Often times life has other plans
I made it about 45 miles. Then I was taken away in an ambulance.
It was quite warm, and very humid...but I was prepared for that. After we got to VT and set up I went and did my medical check. Said hi to a few people and came back to start eating and hydrating. My pacer had arrived, various other friends started showing up and all was good. My drop bags were set, my pack was packed and I really felt good about the race. Slept pretty good considering my excitement and the heat and woke up right before my alarm went off at 3am. Got dressed and ate and headed out to the starting line where Chariots of Fire was playing...:) It was very cool to see everyone making there way to the start. I found my bud Kevin, and saw Steve and met a new running bud and we headed to the start. After a quick hug for my pacer with the promise to see him in a few hours we were off.
Kev and I had talked of running together for the forseeable future and that was good for me. I have a tendancy to go out fast and I really wanted to run conservatively and he is very good at pacing. We did get off to what felt to me as a great pace- we could converse easily, and it was great. I had in my head that I needed to drink between 1 and 1.5 water bottles per hour, plus take my S!Caps 1 per hour(1 per 30 mins when it got hotter) and eat something every hour. For the first 5 hours that worked out pretty well. Came through the first station my crew would be at and got my green smoothie(YUM) sock change, watermelon, new bottles and off we went. Somewhere within the next few miles something shifted and I did not feel as great as I did. I was internally monitoring, while mentally playing the Ultra games of how far can we go...but also realizing that I would possily have to readjust my expectations of what the day was going to be. I am usually ok with that as you simply never know what is going to happen in an ultra race. There are just SO many variables inolved that you can do all the planning in the world but come race day...
Somewhere at the marathon point the nausea set in. I wasn't worried at that point as I know most ultra runners feel nausea and/or puke at some point in there career...some during every race!Usually it passes which is what I expected/hoped for. Shortly before this we got to run through our first aid station that had run out of water. This was not cool. On a day like that, not haing water with the next aid 5 miles away could be the end of someone's race(and was for several people, I found out after) Luckily I had enough with me for Kev and I, and we took our chances on this cute little water spiggoty thing in the woods shortly thereafter that looked like good enough drinking water to me! Plus it was COLD!!! Still feeling the nausea, I tried ginger, which did not work...and somewhere in the next mile or so the puking began. Generally, I am not a huge puker. It usually reduces me to tears, but I was keeping it together...Kev had gone ahead shortly thereafter to the next aid station to let his crew know I may need a little help. His crew was great enough to assist me, and off we went. I had not had anything to eat since mile 21 and was now having increasd difficulty getting anything past my gag reflex. I was getting sips down but was VERY nauseaus and dry heaving.
I am not sure where, but after some point I encouraged Kev to go on. I knew at this point I was not going to recover any time soon, and possibly not at all...but I still had a sliver of hope that I could rally, start drinking and eating again and make it further. I figured making it to 100 was not going to happen, but I wanted to make it as far as I could. I hoped to get to the next crew station my family would be at, which was the first weigh in check. I was fairly certian I would not pass as I was sweating SO profusely and now was not able to replace it.
The next 10-12 miles was a death march. I had 2 very nice men at different points walking with me to make sure I was ok, which I very much appreciated. One man was not even in the race, he was looking for someone else but when he saw me he stayed with me instead. The next man was going to drop in the near future and I actually encouraged him to try to make it to 10 Bear and we could drive him back to the finish. I had to sit/lay down several times, and there were 2 times I remember almost passing out, and several more dry-heave sessions, and NOTHING would go in. I just kept telling myself I had to get to my family...
Somwhere about 2 miles out, before the last big climb into the aid station, the race Marshall came by and offered me a ride to the station. He called ahead to the med team. My race was done.
I was immediately put in the back of the ambulance where they could not get a blood pressure and my oxygen level was 82(not good). They had me lay down and were able to get a pressure, and a pulse. I was still not able to get anything in by mouth and they decided that I needed to get to the hospital. In the mean time, they started an iv and put me on oxygen and under a wool blanket as by then I was shivering uncontrolably.
The Dr in the ER was fantastic...actually everyone there was. Not one person was negative about me doing the race, or that I did something wrong.
Basically, I was severely dehydrated, my kidneys had stopped functioning and I had a condition called Rhabdomyolysis*. In addition, my potasium level was very high, which resulted in me being hooked up to a heart monitor and pretty much sealed my fate of spending the night in the hospital. (Well, that and the fact I hadn't gone to the bathroom in 12+ hours) High potassium can cause a heart attack. Had I been at all thinking clearly, all of this would have scared the shit out of me. But I wasn't...
6 liters of fluid, anti-nausea meds and some sort of kidney cocktail plus a night of being monitored later...I felt better. Not 100% but certianly better than I did and my blood tests came back ok with the exception of my kidney function which will take some days to resolve itself...I have to have another kidney funtion text in a week. I knew I was recovered as I was suddenly STARVING, which is always a good sign. :)
We headed back to the race site to finish packing up and for an emotional reunion with my running friends. I was SOOOO happy to hear that Kev and Steve finished under the cut-off! I was watching the hours in the ER, thinking about where they might be on the course, praying they would make it and I am so glad they did. I was truly happy to see them, to know THEY were ok and get to congratulate Kev in person. We had a great 30 miles together and I am so glad I had that part of the experience with him :)
Long drive home, a shower and I am back to horizontal :) Swelling has set in and I am on strict orders to drink as much water as humanly possible to flush out my kidneys. Plus...I am tired.
There is so much more to process, so much more to say but for now this is it. :)
Huge, awesome congratulations to Kev, Steve, Streph, Sherpa...it was a hell of a day. You guys stuck it out and made it through. Rock stars...all of ya :)
*If you want to read about rhabdomyolysis:
For my own FYI- Hyperkalemia https://health.google.com/health/ref/Hyperkalemia