The Weekend I Ran a Half Marathon and Went to the ER

Well folks, another half marathon has come and gone, but this post is not like my other half marathon recap posts.

That post may show its face eventually, but the days after Saturday’s American River Parkway Half Marathon have gone a little differently than my post-race experiences in the past.

ER

Because of an incident totally unrelated to my race, I was taken to the hospital Sunday night via ambulance for treatment of a head injury and a lot of pretty bad cuts and scrapes.

Buuuut let’s step back a second and go back to Saturday morning.

So I felt pretty good going into my race…aside from the fact that I was bummed Russell wouldn’t be running it with me (he was bummed that he couldn’t run the race too, which in turn just bummed me out even more!), I was pretty well prepared for the race. Probably better prepared than I was for the Nike Women’s Half, having skipped no long runs and feeling pretty good about my pace the last couple of weeks.

Don't I look happy? This must have been near the beginning...

Don’t I look happy? This must have been near the beginning…

Well, Mother Nature had different plans. This 7:45am race was HOT. And even though I kept about a 9:15/mile pace for the first 8 miles, I pretty much succumbed to the heat afterward. The second half of the race was closer to the river and further from street access, so there were A) Fewer musical acts, B) Fewer inspirational signs created by onlookers & the people running the race and C) Perhaps most importantly, there were fewer water stations. I swear there were 3 water stations  or less between mile 8 and mile 12. On a day that was forecast to be 90 degrees.

Dehydration is no joke, folks. Add in that I got a pretty bad side cramp at mile 11 (probably because I had just finished my last energy chew and didn’t have anything to wash it down with) and you have all the ingredients for a crappy race. I finished somewhere around 2:05, my slowest time by 3 minutes. My “finish strong” mantra became “just get through these last 2 miles without stopping to walk”.

I like this picture because, despite how low I feel like the time on that clock is, I also think I look really strong.

I like this picture because, despite how low I feel like the time on that clock is, I also think I look really strong.

But….I did it and that’s all that matters. I hurt so badly afterward – not soreness, but rather pain in every joint below my waist – that I decided not to go out to a Kentucky Derby pub crawl I was planning on. (I got a pedicure instead 😉 ) Russell and his roommate invited friends over and ordered the boxing match so I stayed in and watched that, then went to sleep when they all went out after the fight.

But that’s not what you all came here to read. You wanna know about that hospital bed picture up there, don’t you? OK OK I get it.

Well, after a quick breakfast (leftover pre-race pasta!) we had our first softball game of the new season on Sunday afternoon and barely squeaked by with a win. We followed it up with some more food and a few mimosas, then a buncha rounds of cornhole at a beer garden not too far from where Russell and I live. It was a typical Sunday for us, and maybe even on the light side for me as I was so exhausted from my race and tried to take it easy even if we were out and about. So we headed home, after dark, on our bikes…and I crashed and fell. Right on my face.

As is typical of concussions/head injuries, I do not remember anything about what happened. Here is what I remember:

  • It being dark at Biergarten and getting late (probably 9pm?) and wanting to go home;
  • Being wheeled through a hospital hallway into a room to get a CT scan of my brain.

Yup. That is all I remember.

Between that time, I have learned that I crashed my bike somewhere in the 6 blocks between Biergarten and Russell’s apartment. Paramedics showed up and took me away. Russell called every hospital in Sacramento to find out where they had taken me (they wouldn’t tell him at the scene), and just as they were wheeling me back from getting my CT scan, he arrived in my ER room and we had one of those just-like-the-movies reunion scenes. Lotsa blood, lotsa tears, you get the picture.

We stayed overnight in the ER to make sure none of my symptoms got worse, and after 0 hours of sleep (you try sleeping in a neck brace with road rash on your face!) I was released around 6am.

After 2 hours of napping, I got a call that a radiologist had taken a second look at CT scan of my brain and spotted some bleeding. They needed to do another scan to make sure it hadn’t gotten worse in the 8-9 hours since they had taken the first one. Long story short, it was contained and all of my cognitive functions were fine, but they wanted to keep me for observation…overnight.

So after 10 hours of a second stint in the ER (in a ward that is usually reserved for psych patients…now THAT was interesting), they moved me to my own room upstairs in the Trauma Unit of the hospital. Although I can’t complain about any of my time in the UC Davis Med Center, and I really lucked out as far as pain/symptoms go (aka I have had very few), I was much more comfortable here and by this point my parents had arrived for a while to give Russell a break, so when he returned he had brought me a phone charger and his laptop. My friend Shannon also brought me magazines, so you can say I was pretty entertained by this point 😉 Warning: pretty gnarly picture of my face below.

Also, pink stuff from Russell's sister!

When I took this picture, I thought my face looked far better than it had in the 24 hours prior…it did at the time. =\

They woke me a few times in the night to take my vitals and make sure I didn’t have any new pain, and in the morning a speech pathologist did an evaluation to make sure my brain was working then cleared me to go.

One of the funniest parts of this whole experience is that one of the questions they ask you when you have a concussion is, “How are your extremities? Do you have any soreness or tingling in your legs or feet?” and my answer was always, “Well yes, but that’s because I ran a half marathon on Saturday, not because I busted my head last night”. 😉

I am feeling much much better now and every day my wounds improve. Considering the extent of my head injury, it’s a wonder I’ve only had a little bit of a sore neck from whiplash. I have been working a little bit from home/the hospital but generally trying to take it easy.

Unfortunately/fortunately, Russell and I are leaving for a vacation to Costa Rica late Friday night, which we’ve had planned for a while. I was cleared by all of my doctors to go, albeit a little reluctantly, however ziplining and white water rafting will not be on our itinerary as originally planned. Walking/hiking and lounging on the beach, however…will be on the itinerary 🙂

Thank you to everyone who has sent warm wishes over the past few days. You never want to have something like this happen to you in order to realize how many people really do care for you, but it’s humbling when it does happen and you do realize how caring people really are.

And yes, I will probably be purchasing a helmet in the very near future 😉

11 thoughts on “The Weekend I Ran a Half Marathon and Went to the ER

  1. Hopefully they let you on the plane looking like that! Geesh. I should have made you send me a photo when you told me about this! I think you should sit your behind in a beach chair this next week and not move until it is time to come home.

  2. Noooo! So sorry to hear about this. I’m really glad to hear that a) you are basically okay and b) that it wasn’t race-related. (OMG SO HOT. I thought for sure you ended up with heat stroke or something like that.)

    Hope you have a great vacation, at least!

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