Wednesday, May 19, 2010

My Cleveland Marathon DNF

Warning: This is going to be long and I don't know if I will get all the details in there. You might want to pull up a chair and grab a bag of popcorn!

Saturday night we had our pre-race carb loading dinner with 21 friends and family. Seven of us in attendance at the dinner would be running on Sunday morning. We would be representing for Deb in the 10K, half marathon, and marathon. After we enjoyed dinner, we took a quick photo and then everyone headed out to get some rest.

I cleaned up the kitchen and then started getting everything organized for Sunday morning. I wanted to have everything out and ready for my 4:30 AM alarm. Once I felt I had taken care of everything, I tried to get some sleep. At first, I tossed and turned for awhile. Once I finally fell asleep I actually dreamed that Cuz and I missed the race and decided to go have brunch instead. I woke up at 2:30 in the morning and realized it was just a dream and I fell back asleep and slept soundly until the alarm went off two hours later. I was incredibly nervous when I woke up but I was able to get ready and eat my usual pre-race breakfast without any problems. My step sister-in-law and I headed out around 5:15 and stopped by and picked up Marilyn and headed to Deb's house since we were all riding together as Deb's husband works downtown and was going to be able to park in his lot without any problems. Once we got downtown we met up with Cuz at the PNC building. We all used the restrooms and then had some pictures taken.

Shortly after finishing pictures we headed to the start line where we ran into my friend Danielle. I was so happy to see her since she had helped me train for the marathon and it was very comforting to get a hug from her.

After we talked for a few minutes Marilyn, Cuz, and I decided we wanted to head to the porta potties one last time. We headed that way and the lines were really long so we decided to walk back to the PNC building and use their restrooms (no lines!!). With the last bathroom stop taken care of we headed back to the start line. On the way to the 3:50 pace group, Cuz and I ran into two of my friends Wendy and Keri. I exchanged hugs with both of them and wished them luck. Around 6:50 Cuz and I had made our way to the 3:50 pace group. Right before the race started Cuz and I exchanged a hug and an excited cheer..squeal almost and we were off. First mile felt like we were flying. We completed mile 1 under 8:40. At some point before mile one or after mile one I mentioned to Cuz that my Boston Qualifying time was a 3:45 and she said let's go for it. We were a little ahead of our 3:50 pace band. Cuz mentioned it felt fast but we went for it. Everything was going well. We got to the 10K in 53:47. Certainly on pace for a Boston Qualifying for me. I believe sometime right before or right after the 10K point, my friend Danielle yelled my name and we talked for a minute and I said we were right on pace and she said we were looking good. She mentioned she was feeling tired but was okay and she said I'll see you at the finish line. Shortly before mile 13, I asked Cuz how she was feeling and she said she was pretty tired and if I felt good to go for it and try and get Boston. I did run ahead for a little bit. I crossed the half marathon in 1:55:23. Shortly after crossing I had to stop in the porta potty but was thrilled when I came out and Cuz was right there. I resumed running with her and we talked about how we were tired and we just wanted to finish. We just kept running and checking on each other once in awhile and sometimes stopped to stretch if our muscles were fighting against us (her knee was bothering her and my calf was giving me grief). Around mile 17.5 or so I saw Connie. I was feeling pretty good, just tired and I smiled at her and Cuz and I kept going. Our split at 30K was 2:56:29. Around mile 20 Cuz mentioned that she was really liking the mile marker flags. I asked her if she was being sarcastic and she said no seriously I am so glad they are there. The last thing I remember is seeing the mile 22 flag and a guy saying "looking good girls, you can run 4.2 miles in your sleep". I thought we sure can and we moved on and that is the last thing I remember and the next thing I knew I was waking up in an ambulance. The following is part of the conversation that took place between the paramedic and myself:
Paramedic: "Do you know where you are?"
Me: "Yes, I'm at the Cleveland Marathon, did I finish?"
Paramedic: "Not quite."
Me: "Where's my family, they're here with me?"
Paramedic: "No one is here with you but us."
Paramedic: "When's your birthday?"
Me: "Tomorrow, ironically."
I was asked several more questions which I promptly knew every answer to. In the meantime I got the most painful charlie horse in my calf that I was screaming and in tears at the same time. I was yelling at the paramedics to fix it. Lovely sight I am sure. Once they got that calmed down I asked them to call my husband and let him know what had happened because I knew everyone was at the finish line waiting for me. While on the subject of my husband I need to thank him for being there for me on Sunday as well as for being there to watch our kids when I was out doing my long runs during my training. The long runs wouldn't have gotten done without him. Once they had me stabilized and had me started on IV fluids, I was transported, with sirens on, to the ER. My first time in an ambulance. Might I point out that ambulance rides are awful. I felt like I was going to get thrown from the stretcher every time we hit a bump. The paramedics left me in the hands of the ER and told me to take care of myself. The first nurse, Mark, came in. We talked a little bit and he put another IV in my other arm for more fluids. He was very nice and mentioned that he had run two marathons and said not that you believe me since I'm a fat guy (his words not mine). After this, my husband and Deb arrived at the hospital and I promptly began crying hysterically. Deb told me not to cry and being the awesome friend she is she started cracking jokes. She said so you went down at mile 22, huh. Okay let's get these IV fluids in you and we will go finish that 4.2 miles and we can get your medal tomorrow. Gotta love her. In the meantime, Deb called everybody and their brother for me to let them know I was okay and what was going on. Once she finally got in touch with my cousin, it was determined that I didn't go down until mile 25. Bring in nurse number two, can't remember his name, and he says he is training for a triathlon and asks if we have ever done one. Well, Deb takes this opportunity to say you know Jodi I can talk to you about a trialthon now because we had a date on May 16 at noon to discuss it and it's 1:30 now. I pretty much told her where to go in not so many words although I did get a good laugh out of it. She did also mention to the "triathlon" nurse that we needed to hurry up and get the IV fluids in me so I could go back and finish the last 1.2 miles and he said "she can just carry her IV bags and finish it". Would that be considered cheating? HAHA!! At this point Deb grabbed my phone and thought it would be a good idea to take my picture. At that point, I didn't really care anymore and said sure why not. So I do in fact have a finish picture. Just not the finish picture I had in my mind during my 18 weeks of training.

After three IV bags of fluids, I was cleared to go home. I went to Deb's and had some food and then went home and shared my story with several friends and everyone was incredibly kind and told me I should be proud that I ran 25 miles. While I am proud of myself for that, I do feel like I have unfinished business with that last 1.2 miles and I am still dissapointed that I didn't get to run all 26.2 as I had intended to. I was feeling worse on Monday so I went to my family doctor and he ordered bloodwork. Thanks to Deb I was in and out of the lab yesterday in less than 10 minutes. Guess it pays to know people! I also need to thank Deb and her husband for taking care of my kids and picking them up from school this week while I have been at home trying to recover from this ordeal both mentally and physically. Last night I talked to my Cuz and I found out the details of miles 22-25. I guess we carried on a conversation from miles 22-24 and we were both pretty tired but we were doing okay. At mile 24, Cuz broke down and started crying hysterically because she realized we were going to finish at which point I guess I looked at her and said I needed to slow down and reduced my pace to almost a walk. Right around mile 25 she said I bent down and she thought I was stretching my calf again and she looked back again and said come on Jodi and I put my hand up in the air and said go. I have absolutely no memory of any of this which is incredibly scary to me. My Cuz crossed the finish line in 4: 21 and my family and friends started to wonder what had happened to me. Ironically, the last thing I said to my husband was if I don't cross in 4:30 something happened to me. I got the pictures of the race today in an email and oddly enough I was smiling in every last one of them. It just goes to show you that you can look fine on the outside but be shutting down on the inside as I had no indication that I was going down. When I shared my story with my friend Joe, he did a very honorable thing for me. He went out on Monday morning and finished off that last 1.2 miles for me and for Deb. He sent me an email with a picture of the information on his Garmin. To Joe I say thank you for having my back and giving Deb all 26.2 miles that I wasn't able to! The 25 I gave her isn't too shabby but she deserved all 26.2 because she is our survivor. In fact both my neighbor Brenda and Deb told me I was a rock star for running 25 miles. I just need to remember that. I love you both! And Deb thank you once again for being there for me so much this week and all the time for that matter. You truly are my best friend and I don't know what I would do without you! I did experience a few firsts on Sunday:
First time I passed out
First time in an ambulance
First time I ran 25 miles
First time I DNF (did not finish) a race
In the end, it was a very scary experience that fortunately had a very happy ending. Will I try another marathon? Right now I can't answer that but what I do know is if I do I won't be going for a goal time. I will just be out there to finish. I also know that I will be running it with someone again because there is safety in numbers. In the meantime, Deb has come up with this crazy idea of running a half marathon in every state. Believe it or not, I am kind of liking the idea. Yes, perhaps the lack of oxygen and hydration to my brain has made me crazy but then again I like a challenge so I say bring it on. And Deb, if you can get me past my incessant fear of drowning, I will do a triathlon with you!
Keep running, you're simply the best, and you inspire me!!


  1. WOW!! You had a lot of first times. Sorry to hear about your experience, but I think a triathalon would be a lot of fun!

  2. So, did the bloodwork come up with anything? When you are ready to attack the marathon again (You will be soon.), let's discuss nutrition and hydration, okay? I'm really sorry you had to go through that. You worked your butt off for that race, so I can understand some feelings of disappointment. YOur attitude of thankfullness is awesome. Take care of yourself, and get back out there, trooper!

  3. Rebecca- The only thing that came back in my bloodwork was elevated liver enzymes. I have to have my blood drawn again next week to see if they are coming down. THank you for your kind words. I greatly appreciate them.

    Staci- Yes a lot of firsts that I didn't necessarily want to experience. Just have to get past my incessant fear of drowning for a triathlon.

  4. Wow what a crazy first marathon experience! I am so glad you are ok and I hope you have been able to learn from this, put it behind you and move on. You will get your redemeption next go around, I have no doubt!

  5. Morgan, thank you for the kind words. I am definitely trying to put it behind me and move on!! I just keep telling and learn, live and learn!!

  6. I'm very glad you are ok! That had to be very scary waking up in the ambulance :( I know your next time will be much better!