My Marathon Disasters – Chapter Two
February 2, 2012
First let me wish everyone a happy Groundhog Day. I heard the rodent saw his shadow so another 6 weeks of winter. Lately winter has been 75 and sunny, so I would gladly take another 52 weeks of winter myself. However, I also learned that while Punxsutawney Phil gets all the accolades, there are actually several prognosticating sub-terrianians out there from Staten Island Chuck to General Beauregard Lee in Liburn, Ga and even north of the boarder with Shubenacadie Sam in Nova Scotia. And the kicker each of them predict their own duration. But we aren’t here to discuss French Creek Freddie’s but to celebrate my marathon misadventures.
Showering at the Bates Motel
In 2005 I was training for my hometown marathon in Detroit. I was excited for this one for the obvious nostalgic reasons or returning to D Town but also Scotty and Jeff were going as well. This was my first fall marathon so I had to train through the miserable Phoenix summer. This meant waking up progressively earlier and earlier as my runs became longer and longer. Carolyn, Marsha and Lorianne were running Chicago, another October marathon so the whole Running with Rage group was all training together. By the time we got to 16 mile runs we were waking up at 3 am and hitting the canal by 4 am. I was climbing back into bed before the kids were waking up. Despite these insanely early runs, training was pretty fun and going well.
One morning, a Thursday as a matter of fact, I went out for a weekday pre-work run. I got home just as Michele (the ex) was finishing a shower and I needed to get going to get to work somewhat on time. As soon as she got out I quickly hopped in, but just as I set my second foot down, I unfortunately discovered that she had tried a new foot scrub. Apricot scented. And rather slick.
As my feet slid out from below me I began my perfumed plunge. I frantically grabbed at the shower curtain and in amazingly slow motion curtain ring by curtain ring snapped off the rod as it aided rather prevented my fall. Eventually the side of the tub offered an alternative to complete collapse to the floor. Unfortunately it only reprieved my torso as my head collided with the tiled floor. As I lay there naked draped over the side of the tub, I started wheezing “What about my marathon, I need to run?” over and over. Fortunately I was almost inaudiable otherwise I probably would have sounded as annoyingly whiny as Nancy Kerrigan after she was knee-whacked.
I had finished the first twenty mile run of my program, missed the second (you will read about that in Chapter Three) and my last chance before Detroit was in two days. I was able to stand up finally, but still was unable to catch my breath. Michele rushed in speechless as she tried to make sense of my hunched body, half-cloaked in a plastic toga, water spraying everywhere and sounding and probably looking like Gollum.
Finally I was able to somewhat breath, when we decided it was best for me to go to the emergency room. The good news is the hospital was conveniently located about a block and a half away. I slowly walked over and checked myself in. As I sat waiting the customary eternity for an emergency doctor to see me, I realized I was really in pain. I was fully expecting to recover during the wait and just walk home. Bruised but fine. Sadly, the pain was increasing not decreasing. I finally saw the doctor and was quickly diagnosed with three cracked ribs but no punctured lung. I guess that qualified as good news.
The solution for cracked ribs is time and pain management. It is kinda like a broken toe without anything to tape it to. I got a prescription for 30 Oxycodene tablets. He told me to take one, if it worked great, if there still was pain, take two. I gobbled down one tablet and walked home.
30 minutes later and still pain so tablet number two. Being a male I decided cracked ribs were not going to keep me down. A sniffle and guy will retreat to his childhood needing complete TLC from his significant other but a chainsaw accident can’t interfere with with the days plans. I drove myself to work, determined to knock out some media planning. By this point it was very evident to all my coworkers but not to me that tablet number two was taking effect. Several of my peers strongly advised me to go back home. I insisted I was fine.
Then Marsha came in my office really strongly advised me to go home. I had unbeknowst to myself passed out face down and when my coworker roused me, I tried denying my unconsciousness. However, she pointed out the watch imprint on my forehead and the drool on my chin. I relented and headed home.
I wasn’t able to run that final 20 mile, or even a mile for that matter that weekend. I also discovered that narcotics and I didn’t mix as the Oxycodene provided more nausea than relief. Another thing I discovered that for about 10 days after cracked ribs you feel like you just may die at any moment and then all of a sudden you are better two weeks later.
I was able to run a few 6 mile runs and a couple 3 miles run in the final three weeks before the marathon. I entered the race with a simple goal of finishing but as Jeff and I started an odd thing happened. I felt great and 3 hours 54 minutes and 55 seconds later I was crossing the 50 yard line of Ford Field laughing at Jeff screaming at a poor girl at the finish. But that is another story of running with rage. I had PR’ed somehow despite only running one 2o mile run a month and a half before the race.