Sunday, June 24, 2012

Volunteering, Dehydration, Paranoia and a Race

I haven't been updating my blog although a lot has been going on. For example:

June 17th - I was a volunteer at a water table for the Vancouver USA Marathon and Half Marathon. The table was run by firefighters that graciously allowed me to help out there at mile 20 and what a GREAT experience it was. I saw young runners, old runners, elite athlete runners, obese runners. And I saw courage and determination in a way I had never seen it before! The heat was something no one was prepared for and it was evidently a nasty challenge for quite a few runners. But they carried on. In my six hours there, I saw only ONE person take advantage of the first aid station and request a ride back. I got to see people I have trained with, and I got to see friends I met through blogs. Will *I* ever run a full marathon? No. I really don't think so. But, I am all the more ready to take on my Half Marathon in October after having been inspired by this experience. Here is a photo of me and Heather.


June 20th - It was hot out at the track and I have not become acclimated to heat yet. My assignment was to run ten 400's with 30 second breaks and I ran eleven.

I had a 12 ounce bottle of diluted Gatorade with me. By the 3rd lap my shirt was drenched in sweat and I had used up all my drink before the last laps. My heart rate got high on the last two laps. My throat was dry but I was still sweating so I thought nothing of it and then I walked 3 miles with Shelly (and Heather when she arrived a bit later).

I got into my car and it was like walking into an oven. There was hot water in a cup in my console and if I were smart, I would have drank it. I wasn't smart. I drove off and quickly realized I had a problem. I WAS SEEING DOUBLE! I had never had this happen before and it scared me. I kept thinking it would remedy itself immediately and it didn't. I came to a section of road that had no where to turn off and park as I entered a construction zone going over a freeway. I could NOT tell for the life of me if I was seeing two lights or four. I could barely make anything out and drove through. I found I could drive with one eye closed and it helped. This lasted 20 minutes and then went away. I drank a TON of fluids at home and was very frightened.

I called the nurses station and they told me it sounded like dehydration but I should really see a doctor to rule out stroke or other neurological possibilities. I went to the doctors the next morning. She checked out my vitals and listened to my heart. She said she believes it was 'just dehydration' and said you CAN be suffering from dehydration and still be able to sweat. She also said that I need to treat 80 temps here, the same as I would 100 temps in the desert because of the humidity....and by the way....I was her third runner that she had seen that morning, suffering from heat related issues from runs the night before.

Prescription: CARRY MORE FLUIDS and because I do sweat so much, use sports drinks verses water.


June 21st - 22nd - Paranoia sets in - HARD. I felt a strong heat/burning sensation on the top of my head a few hours after I left the doctors office. It was an isolated spot on the right side. It was really weird and it was uncomfortable without being painful. It came and went throughout the entire day. I started wondering if maybe my doctor had missed something. Maybe I did something seriously bad to my health the night before. Maybe I pushed myself too hard. Should I run the race this weekend? WHY am I being paranoid about my health now, when I was never like this as a couch potato? I wasn't even paranoid about my health during my drug years which is when I SHOULD have been. This made no sense to me at all and I had a really rough time dealing with all this. I didn't know if I should call a shrink or see my doctor. I then started wondering if maybe this is all some form of migraine (as I had my first aural migraine last month) and did neither.

The weird burning sensations on that same spot of my head lasted through out the next two days up until just two hours just before the race.


June 23rd:  Race day! Lots of photos to follow.

It was pouring rain out just hours before the 6PM run was to start. I still hadn't been to a race in pouring rain and feared today was the day. I wasn't sure what I was going to wear until the last minute. Luckily, the race was relatively dry until the last block of the 6 mile course. I stayed very hydrated with my two bottles AND taking water at each station. The course was mostly flat, and using my heart rate to determine my pace for most of it made for a nice run. There was at least two runners highs. YAY! My only aches and pains were on the incline going through the Barracks area when my left shin started hurting - but I ran through it and it stopped.

My Garmin download said I hit a heart rate max of 182 and I had NO idea how it did that as I was watching it pretty closely after all my health issues the last week. Per Garmin, it occurred at the finish line so THAT makes sense. I got to go to the winners podium as I placed third in my age group. Standing on any winners podium was a first for me. Also, this is the first race I ran with my friend Christine where I actually saw her for most of the race. She beat me by 3 minutes and 35 seconds. Last month on our 10K she beat me by 6 minutes 45 seconds. I hope to be able to run WITH her some day. That would be nice.

Me and Christine before the race

Cutest racer there - #209!

The Start Line...

My Strategy since I have pacing problems with fast people around me:
Start WAY in the back and do my own thing,
which resulted in me passing a lot of people later.

Approaching the riverside area, and about 
to run under the 5 Freeway

Running along the Columbia River...
I had the greatest runners' high here.

The clouds started coming back at around mile 4

Live band played Lenny Kravitz's "Go My Way"
as I crossed the finish line. 

Hot Pulled Pork Sandwich and Cole Slaw 
for the post run meal

My first medal - bottle opener
(which all 6 mile runners earned)

Me on the Division Winners podium
3rd place F 50-54
(out of 7 but that is still great!)

OHH!!! I have to share my rookie mistake!

As soon as I finished the course, we went to the car and grabbed our money, then went and sat down to a hot meal for an hour or more. When I went to stand up again, it hurt like HECK! My legs were one giant cramp. I had never had post run pain like that before and then it dawned on me - dumb me forgot to walk out and stretch out when I finished. Seriously. How stupid! I have NEVER done that before and after what I felt I never will again.


  1. CONGRATS! I've never ever placed in a race (except being close to coming in last lol). Cherish that moment & the picture. You did an amazing job. Also, the part about being dizzy driving home. That happens to me from time to time. I think it's a change in blood pressure. Scary.

  2. This is an amazing recap! I love the photo of exactly where you got your runners high! I sincerely enjoy reading your blog as it is so nice to relate to someone. Especially the part where you forgot to stretch, oh boy have I been there.