I realized as I went on and on and on with my “Part 1” race preparation post, that I should probably split the post up into two sections. I had come to a good stopping point but we had to leave for my son’s basketball game before I published it. So, we went to his game (he played really well!) and we had just been home for a few minutes when I sat down to finish up some things on my computer. My husband came in to ask me about my plans for the night and I told him I was going to heat up a few “carbs” for a small dinner (I ate a large carb-loaded lunch and was still pretty full from that) and then put on some comfy pj’s, finish up some last-minute race planning (I still needed to pack up some bags, etc. because I wasn’t coming home after the race) and some other little projects. He offered to take care of feeding the kids some dinner and keep them out of my hair. I had hoped to be in bed around 8pm and just rest my legs and watch some Netflix movies. It sounded like the makings of a pretty nice evening. Ha. Ha Ha. Ha ha hahahahaha! Best laid plans….
Before my husband had even made it down the hall, my cell phone started ringing. It took me a second to even realize who was calling – then I figured out it was my dad’s next door neighbor. I answered my phone and she proceeds to tell me that there is a fire truck and ambulance next door at my dad’s house, that they were transporting my dad to the hospital, and that “he didn’t look good … AT ALL … in fact he’s kinda grey”. But, she did indicate that she had spoken with him and he did ask her to call me. So, at least I knew he was conscious. OK, well … if you’ve read any of this blog in the past, you might remember that my dad has been hospitalized quite a few times over the past few years. This, however, was the first time he was taken away by someone – normally I get a phone call that starts out like “Hi Hon. I’m having trouble breathing so I’m going to drive myself to the hospital….” I knew that he must have really been in trouble if he called 911. So, I threw stuff in a bag – not knowing how long I would be away from home. I grabbed a few water bottles and Gatorade just to keep hydrated, as well as some protein bars so I didn’t eat a bunch of vending machine junk.
I reached the hospital in about 25 minutes and went straight to the ER. My dad’s friend/ex-girlfriend(?) was already there because, as I learned, she had been on the phone with him when he started having problems. He was calling her to cancel their plans for the next night because he wasn’t feeling very well. When he mentioned that he thought his DEFIBRILLATOR WAS GOING OFF IN HIS CHEST WHILE THEY WERE TALKING, she urged him to call 911. Yes, let’s make sure we cancel our dinner plans that are 24 hours away … that is priority. They let us go back into the ER, which I took as a good sign because they didn’t stall us or tell us someone would come get us… We got to his room and the X-ray techs were just finishing up taking some films with him. A nurse came out to greet me and told me that it had been quite an exciting 30 minutes or so with him. His defibrillator had gone off 3 more times in the ER while they were wheeling him into his room. He had essentially gone into v-fib and passed out but his device brought him back. He laughed and said some of the paramedics had never seen that before and were pretty freaked out. The nurse added that they had already found some severe electrolyte imbalances and started him on potassium and another drug to stabilize his heart rhythm. He let us go see him and said he was actually doing really well – all things considered.
And, he was. When we got into the room he looked pretty good. His color had returned and he was alert and telling us all about what happened. I was a little ticked at him that I had not received any phone call leading up to this. In fact, I had just read an email sent by him during my son’s basketball game and he sounded pretty good. Turns out, he had been having issues going all the way back to the night before. I learned later – they were really bad issues, his defibrillator had gone off the previous night and he didn’t remember it happening. Considering it was a Saturday night, I was pleasantly surprised that he was moved to the ICU as quickly as he was. The nursing staff was about to change shifts but I talked to them pretty soon after he was situated. They asked me to go back to his house and collect his meds and some other stuff – which I did, then returned to the hospital. By this time, visiting hours were over but they let me back into his room to review what I knew about his history, etc. The electro-physiologist (EP) that was on call also came in and he was pretty nice. He had somehow found out that I had worked for Medtronic (the manufacturer of his pacemaker) so he was really thorough and didn’t “dumb down” his explanations. Even more cool, the rep from Medtronic was in the hospital as well and he stopped in to interrogate (the word they use for downloading historical data from the implanted device) and together they evaluated what had exactly happened in his chest for the past 24 hours. They let me in on their little pow-wow and explained and showed me a bunch of stuff. It was really cool – except for the fact that it was my dad’s heart that had pretty much died 6 times. Still, I am completely amazed and grateful that this technology exists and saved his life. Since visiting hours were over and they assured me he was stable for the night, I decided to just head on home and see if I could quickly get my race stuff organized and get into bed.
I got home at 9:30pm and got everything together. I decided that I was going to let the “little stuff” go. I had hoped to work on a playlist for my iPhone in case I decided I needed music but that wasn’t a priority. I did spend about 20 minutes working on some pacing plans. At the expo I picked up a wrist-band with split times for a 2:30 goal but it was printed in black ink on purple and I didn’t think I’d be able to read it easily. I also didn’t know if I could keep even splits based on the elevation map of the course. So, through this website, I found a quick calculator where you could add in some expected fade and it adjusted the splits from there. That was handy. I’m sure there are a million different ones out there, but this is the one I came across first.
As for my clothing, I had laid that out the day before, fortunately. The forecast for the race was a bit above average temps so I decided to go with running capris instead of running tights. I hate to be cold but I knew that I would warm up very quickly. I was taking a risk wearing a brand new running shirt (the one I made with the “I Run 4 Brennan” logo) but it was Nike, I owned similar shirts, and I felt pretty safe with the fabric, cut, etc. I planned on using Body Glide, regardless just to reduce my chances of chafing. Everything else in my pile was tried and true running gear, including my underwear which, as I learned in the Phoenix 10K race, is important to make sure you have a good pair on!
Something I was very concerned about is being too cold in the corrals and start of the race. I was a little relieved when I saw the forecast. I did, however, buy a pair of $3 gloves at Target and I found a XXL hoodie in my drawer that I had not realized I still had when I got rid of all my “fat” clothes. It is very common to wear disposable clothes at races and then discard them along the route. A team comes through afterward and collects them all and donates them to charity. Dr. Z had suggested bringing a long a trash bag to put on (with arm-holes cut out and a hole for my head) to wear in the corral. Again, very disposable and it serves as a wind-breaker and good insulator.
I put together a pile of other things to wear during the race. I have become pretty dependent on wearing both a lightweight baseball cap and sunglasses when I run, regardless of the time of day. I’m really light and wind sensitive and my eyes dry out quickly. Having sunglasses on to protect them really is a necessity. I have some goofy neon yellow Nike running sunglasses. I don’t love how they look but they are really light-weight and stay on nicely. I also switched out running hats a couple of weeks ago and my Nike hat is working out pretty well. I was glad I would be wearing a hoodie with a zipper down the front so I wouldn’t have to mess with trying to get an old sweatshirt over my head with all that on when it was time to shed it on the race course. I had to wear a hydration belt because I knew I’d have to keep my phone with me. I also needed to carry my Shot Bloks, tissues, GU, and a tampon. I decided I would feel more better if I had at least one water bottle on me as well because I just feel like sometimes I can get into trouble without hydration when I need it. Against my better judgment, I went ahead and added a NUUN tablet to the water in that bottle to give me some extra electrolytes during the run. I knew that was a risk – that I could suffer some GI distress from an unknown drink – but I also knew I had been having a lot of leg muscle cramping and weakness late in the race that maybe the added electrolytes would be a good risk. I planned to use my albuterol inhaler before leaving home and not carrying it with me. I packed my headphones – just in case I felt like I needed music to help me through. They are small and light and worth carrying.
Lastly, I had to pack a gym bag for my family to bring to the race in the car with shower stuff and a change of clothes for afterward. My daughter has her first gymnastics meet literally right after the race so there will be no time for collapsing. I had plans to shower at my sister-in-law’s house which is near the gymnastics gym where the meet was to be held.
Oh yeah, guess what else I forgot about while preparing for all this … and running to and from the hospital? … my stupid mile streak! Arrrrrgh. You would think I after all this time I would quit doing this to myself but, um, no. Again, I had to think about it for a bit – did I really want to continue with it? I really needed to rest before the race and it was getting late! It just seems so crazy to be concerned with that on the evening before I am about to RUN 13.1 miles. But anyway, I decided to get on my treadmill while I still dressed from going to the hospital. I had worn my older running shoes there just to keep my feet happy so I was ready to just jump on. I walked a very very slow mile on the treadmill while I did some surfing on Pinterest on my ipad. I tried to keep it as low-key as possible and hoped it would allow me to head straight to bed with a clear mind. So, after all that, I finally crashed around 11pm. It wasn’t AT ALL like the night I had envisioned, but I did the best I could. I also had the sweetest ever message from Brennan (he got the shirt I sent!), and I knew that Sunday was going to be a great day, no matter what.