The last 24 hours have been a roller coaster. It’s 7am in Lake Placid and as exhausted as I am I’ve been up since 5:30 after finally getting to bed around midnight.
Lots of people have asked me “what happened” at the race yesterday? I’m not sure that I can fit it all into one post so I’ll try to give a short summary now and will put up a full race report in the coming days.
After feeling good most of the dayand having what I thought was a pretty good swim, bike and first 10 miles on the marathon, things took a very quick turn for the worse after that.
Somewhere soon after that I began to get behind in my nutrition and hydration and it very quickly caught to me. Every time I tried to take in some gel I felt like I was going to throw up and unfortunately that was the only nutrition I had with me. I tried to use some of the on-course nutrition but that didn’t sit well either. Trying to eat pretzels was a particularly bad idea. I started to gag almost immediately after the first bite.
After running for most of the first 10 miles on the run I started to run and walk as I was able. Slowly that turned to more walking than running. I was hoping that trying to make up for the fluid loss by slowing my pace would catch me up and I could pick up the pace for the 2nd half of the marathon. That never happened – it seemed like my system just stopped absorbing anything at that point.
At about mile 18 or 19, I don’t remember exactly, I went from what I perceived as a power walk to just trying to put one foot in front of the other. Things are a little spacey until I get to mile 21 when I see some awesome supporters from the Granite State Triathlon Club. They gave me some words of encouragement and I pushed ahead.
The situation really went downhill after that. I remember going by an ambulance that was located next to an aid station and the EMT’s asking if I was OK. They said I was wobbling a bit but I told them I was OK. After another 2o yards or so I stopped and got really wobbly. I think the EMT’s were following me because I remember being held up at this point. They told me that they wanted to check me out and walked me back to the ambulance.
One of the last clear things I remember is them setting me down on the bumper of the ambulance. After that, the memories are scattered, except for one. At one point I heard them saying my name and rubbing their knuckles on my chest to get my attention and asked a question: “David, we need your permission to transport you to the medical tent”. My eyes welled up with tears as I nodded yes. After that I remember a mix of feeling cold and hot, shivering uncontrollably and trying to hold the tears back. All I wanted to do was close my eyes and go to sleep but the EMT’s kept asking me questions and rubbing my chest to keep me awake.
The next crystal clear memory is seeing my wife at the medical tent. At that point holding back the tears was impossible. I completely released. My time in the medical tent was a similar story of sporadic memories as I was hooked up to IV fluids. But, after four liters of fluids I began to feel coherent again.
After getting back to the hotel room the reality of why I faded so quickly became apparent when I got on the scale. Even after receiving 4 liters of IV fluid I had still dropped 15 pounds from my pre-race weight.
Dealing with my first DNF is an experience I’m still trying to figure out….more on that to come I’m sure.