“It’s easy to be hard. It’s hard to be smart.”- Chriss Smith
I went into the Magnus Gluteus Maximus Fat Ass 50k optimistic. My training has been going well. Even though the temperatures were going to be in the “feels like 20F” range I thought that if I kept my mouth covered and didn’t push too hard I’d be ok. I just wanted to f*%k*&$ finish. That was my goal. Funny how goals work.
The night before the race I set an alarm on my phone to go off every 45 minutes with the word “EAT!” since after Utah I realized that me remembering to eat wasn’t gong to happen. I was determined to not have the wheels come off the bus. I felt really good getting to the first aid station (around the 6 mile mark). I wasn’t wheezing, my breathing felt good. I was doing ok. I filled up my water bladder and Q asked me how I felt. “Good, but not pushing too hard, just want to finish without wheezing.” 7 miles to the next one at Fountainhead.
I’ve run Fountainhead before. Quite a few times actually. Crossing over the road and onto the trails that I know was comforting; however, my body started talking to me. My chest tightened up a bit, so I took my medicine. Then my glutes tightened up. Then I needed to put my hat back on my head because I was cold. Looking back, this was my body giving me warning signs. However, I ignored these warning signs and took them as my mind being weak. I took my inhaler and pushed forward. As I approached the drop at Fountainhead The Great Bob came up behind me. “What’s your per mile pace?” “I’m aiming for a 15 minute mile.” “Well, if you don’t pick it up it’s going to be dark before you finish.” (insert blue streak here). At this point my fingers were the size of bratwurst. Again, my body was telling me something and I wasn’t listening.
The Great Bob stayed with me, talking to me, pushing me and getting me almost to mile 14. I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to keep going. I was going to f-ing finish this thing. I had to stop and put my jacket on. “Are you cold?” I told him yes. In truth, I hadn’t been warm for miles, even running, and I had stopped being cold and I was getting a little foggy. I probably should have been a bit more honest with him and with myself.
In my fog I realized that I really needed to turn around. I had to accept that today wasn’t going to be my day. Well, at least I will get 28 miles in. As I turned around and started to head back my alarm on my phone went off (again.) I struggled to process the information. Wait, my alarm went off as we were approaching the aid station at 12. Why was my alarm going off again? I know I haven’t gone that far. Wait, what???
Somewhere internally every bell, whistle, and AHOOOGA was going off. I looked down and my bratwurst fingers were white. There was absolutely no way I was going to make it the 13 miles back. Crap. What am I going to do? I will say this, having asthma and learning to not panic when you can’t breathe also teaches you to not panic when your body is shutting down in other ways. I did the one thing that I didn’t want to do. That I NEVER want to do. I had to admit defeat and call for help. I called ShooterGirl with my SOS.
Now, this is how you know you have amazing friends. She was in the middle of her favorite workout of the week. The workout she looks forward to all week long. When I called her she knew that something was up. When I said, can you come get me, there was no hesitation. “Drop me a pin and I’ll be there.”
I struggled to make it back to the road. I didn’t realize how badly I was struggling until after I uploaded my GPS information. I knew I was going slow. I knew that I almost threw up and I was nauseous as hell. I knew that staying on my feet was hard. I knew that I was tripping over everything. I didn’t realize just how bad I was. Until I saw this. My heart rate data is even more jarring.
ShootGirl pulled into the parking lot and there was this wave of relief that washed over me. “I didn’t want to do this.” “I know.” “I really hated doing this.” “I know. I also know that you wouldn’t have called if you weren’t really in trouble.”
I couldn’t get warm. Heated seat on high, heat on high, and I couldn’t get warm. My teeth were numb. My fingers were still the size of bratwurst and white. To top it all off, now I was crying.
She drove me back to my car. She calmed me down, talking logic and reason, and she would have stayed with me if I had let her. I already felt guilty enough for taking her away from her workout. I’ll be ok, I promised. I checked in, grabbed my stuff, and got in my car to head home. I turned the heat on high, the butt warmer on high, and texted Dad to tell him what happened and that I was ok before I took the long drive home.
After I got home Dad called and I filled him in on the details. “Here’s your sign stupid. You had a mild to moderate case of hypothermia.” Huh. Well, that would explain much.
“Did you take a hot bath?” He asked
“Yes but the water didn’t get very warm.”
“That’s what happens when you drop a 140 pound ice cube in it.”
He has a good point there. I climbed on the couch and pulled every blanket I owned on top of me. Then I piled my two 101 degree 4 legged hot water bottles on top. I started to get super sleepy. At 1830 I climbed into bed.
Some time in the middle of the night my own internal heater finally kicked back on. Apparently like all the computers at work step 1 of the help manual is “Did you log off and log back in?” I’m still not 100% warm, my fingers are still swollen, but I’m MUCH better than I was. I didn’t finish the 50k. Not even close.
Total Distance: 15.85
Total Time: 4:16
I did however, learn a very valuable lesson, and I am around to run another day. That’s the important part.