I’m starting to think about MdS as a restful vacation with a bit running thrown in. I’m not underestimating the desert...
Javelina Race Report: Part 2Liza
If you missed the race recap it’s here: Javelina Race Report: Part 1.
So where were we?
One of the people I got to hug at the end of the race was my friend Aaron who is, among many other things, an ER doc. I told him about the tea colored urine and how I figured it must be rhabdo.
(“Rhabdomyolysis is the breakdown of muscle fibers resulting in the release of muscle fiber contents (myoglobin) into the bloodstream. Some of these are harmful to the kidney and frequently result in kidney damage….Early and aggressive fluids may prevent kidney damage by rapidly flushing myoglobin out of the kidneys. Fluids may need to be given by IV. Some patients may need kidney dialysis.”)
I asked him what needed to happen next.
“Well if it was me, I’d go to the ER right now.”
Aaron is hands down the most intelligent person I know. And he’s certainly the coolest. If he’d go to the ER right now, I was definitely going to go to the ER right now. I got up slowly from the chair and hobbled toward the shower house. Emergency or no, I wasn’t going to spend the next 15 hours lying in an ER bed covered in race grime. My friend Erin, who had crewed for me, helped get me out of my clothes and get showered. She helped me the way I help Asa most mornings, and she gave me similar props. “Nice job with your shirt.” I think she actually put my socks on my feet and tied my shoes. It was the first of many instances throughout the night where I felt humbled by the love of my friends.
After that Aaron led Chris and me to one of the nicest hospitals in town. There was a free coffee bar in the ER waiting room and everything was sparkling clean. I gave a nice tea colored urine sample and we were hustled to a bed in the back.
“I just ran 100 miles and now my urine is brown… Yes, 100 miles. Actually 101.4. Tonight. Just finished. Okay, so I have rhabdomyolysis and…”
I had fun telling the story over and over to each new healthcare provider who came in to take my history. I even pulled out the belt buckle at one point to help explain why I’d been running circles in the desert all day. I was worried about my kidneys, but otherwise I felt great. In fact, I felt better than I’d ever felt after an ultra. And I was pretty happy to be sitting in a soft bed — even though I was wearing a ridiculously large open-backed gown. I managed to stay in pretty good humor as the nurse missed three IV sticks and then let a good amount of IV fluid infiltrate beneath my skin before calling someone else in to give it a try. (I’m not a hard stick.)
They infused the IV fluids rapidly to help flush the myoglobin through my kidneys. And they drew blood to check my creatine phosphokinase (CPK) levels. (When muscle is damaged, CPK leaks into the bloodstream. “The diagnosis of rhabdomyolysis is established by a marked elevation in serum creatine kinase.” CPK greater is usually greater than 10,000 IU/L with rhabdomyolysis.)
And then we waited for the blood work results to come back. Aaron and Chris sat on chairs along the wall and I sat in the bed and we talked and shared a box of Triskets until 3 in the morning. That’s right, they stayed with me until 3am.
I got a bit teary after they left and my bed was wheeled through the ER towards the elevator. My CPK was 17000-something and I was being admitted to telemetry overnight. I was supposed to be cheering other runners across the finish line while shoveling Jelly Bellies into my mouth, not watching the ER ceiling slide by. I was supposed to be regailing anyone within earshot about my battles getting the compression shorts up and down every time I stopped to use the bathroom during the race. (I almost fell over during one wrestling match at the 2 mile porta john.) The tech ignored my tears. (Jerk.)
I made it to a lovely private room and spent the next ten minutes trying to convince another tech that I should be fed.
“But I ran 100 miles and I’m REALLY hungry. Actually it was 101.4 miles. And I’ve only had a couple of handfuls of Garden Herb Triskets since I finished six hours ago.”
“The kitchen doesn’t open for two more hours.”
I didn’t strangle the tech because my legs weren’t really serviceable anymore and it would have been too difficult with the urinary catheter they’d inserted anyway.
Ultimately the gods relented and I did get two pancake breakfasts around 6am. The second breakfast was a lovely error/reward for tolerance for adversity and uncertainty and the catheter.
Aaron and his wife, Jess, returned around noon with giant breakfast burritos. Jess is also a brilliant doctor. They had my back. Erin and her husband, Jake, showed up next. Party. Jake is a good friend and he’s also the person who got me into trail running. We ran the Grand Canyon R2R2R together. It was a slippery slope into the ultra world for me after that, but Jake held out for a while longer. Javelina was his second 100 and he finished in 22 hours and change. He told us all about the rain and the ten pounds of mud he carried on his shoes towards the end of the race. Just brutal. (I felt guilty about missing the rain until I remembered the urinary catheter.)
I think I’d probably still be in Phoenix if Aaron and Jess hadn’t worked their doctor magic. They sprang me from the telemetry floor with a CPK around 10,000 and orders to see a doctor in San Antonio. I had just enough time to pack up my gear and make my flight home. By the time I shuffled off the plane in San Antonio, my legs and belly were so swollen from all the IV fluids I’d been given, I looked like I’d painted my jeans on. I could barely stand to keep my shoes tied. I was a sausage.
It’s taken two days, but I think I might be able to wear some non-maternity clothes tomorrow. Exciting.
I’ll leave a discussion about why all this might have happened for tomorrow. Right now I need to start my thank yous before Asa wakes up.
Thank you to Jake and Erin for carting me all over Phoenix before and after the race and letting me stay with you. And to Erin and Chris for being my pit crew extraordinaire. I wouldn’t have run the time I did without your help. And to Chris for running those last 1.4 interminable miles with me. And for always being my good friend. And to Aaron for coming to the race and for making sure I was taken care of well at the hospital. (3am!) And to Jake and Erin again for dealing with the aftermath of the race with me.
And to Paulette for pacing me so very well. You deserve a medal for putting up with my whining and demands for small cups of Coke.
To Dave James for his wonderful cheering. And to Nick and Jamil Coury for inviting me to their stellar race. And to the volunteers: Thank you with all my heart!
My coach is Howard Nippert. He brought me back after a stress fracture in my foot relegated me to aqua jogging most of the summer.
And I wouldn’t have done as well in this race if I didn’t have Meredith Terranova‘s nutritional guidance.
To Dr. Stephen Offenburger, Sports/Pain Therapy and Rehabilitation Director of Airrosti Rehab Centers, who kept my PF at bay and my foot and hip free of pain leading up to the race.
I couldn’t have afforded to make the trip to Phoenix without the support of New Balance, GU, and Team Traverse.
And my feet were blister free and happy for 15 hours and 47 minutes because I was wearing Drymax socks.
And, finally, thank you to Eliot for supporting my crazy quest for belt buckles and for making my life just perfect.