Well, I lied. I said that I’m a VCM rookie, but I’m not… I’ve actually been in the marathon for several years, just not as a runner. For many years, I worked as an EMT in the finish line medical tent. While there, I dealt with ailments ranging from cramped muscles and dehydration to all out heat stroke. One year, I started more IV’s over my five hours in the tent than I had in a full year of working on the ambulance (well, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration)! So, believe me when I tell you that, although the medical care is top-notch, I don’t want to end up in the medical tent! Besides, there’s nothing worse than needing medical attention (read large-bore IV’s) from your friends! So, as I mentioned in my previous blog post, in hopes of avoiding the tent, I’m sticking like glue to my training program. I have a copy sitting on the kitchen counter, another in my briefcase, and yet another on my desk at work. Last Sunday, according to my schedule, I needed to run an 11 mile long-run. You may recall that the temperature on Sunday was ridiculous. I live in Underhill, at the base of Mt. Mansfield. At one point on Sunday morning, a polar bear knocked on the door asking to come in and sit by the fire.
We chatted for a moment, and then I needed to excuse myself to drive to the gym for a run on the indoor track. I’ll admit that I was a bit worried that my lap counter would heat up and burst into flames before I could click off 88 laps! So, despite enjoying my normal long-runs, I was dreading the monotony of a long, indoor run. Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong about what to expect on a cold and windy Sunday morning. I thought that the track would be empty at 7:30 AM, but I ran into more marathon runners than I could believe. Many of them, when they found out that I was training for my first marathon, were all too happy to impart words of wisdom. The list of “do this” and “don’t do thats” grew and grew as the laps clicked by.
As I ran, I found myself low on energy at about the nine-mile mark. I briefly left the train of runners and headed to lobby to grab a snack. I knew I was slightly hypoglycemic when I stood in front of the vending machines for about five minutes unable to decide on which energy bar to purchase. And now, I reveal my first of three main worries about the marathon… How am I going to deal with my nutritional needs along the course? I think (maybe hope is a better word) that by the time the PUBVCM weekend comes, that my legs, heart, and lungs will be able to handle the mileage, as long as I can figure out how to stay energized along the course (You’ll need to read the following weeks to hear my other two fears!).
There is a real camaraderie among EMS workers, and I’ve come to realize that this same type of camaraderie exists in the running community as well. Perhaps the camaraderie among runners isn’t as intense because it’s lacking the life and death aspect, but then again, the marathon medical tent can get pretty crowded around the four-hour mark. Have I mentioned that I’m hoping for a four-hour finish??? Before becoming an EMT, I used to put EMT’s on a pedestal. I remember having the thought, “Wow, that’s a really respectable thing that these people are doing”. As I worked in the medical tent, I had the same exact thought about marathon runners. I have great respect for anyone with the ability to run 26.2 miles. Well, I’ve stuck with EMS for 20+ years; maybe I’ll stick with running just as long. Though, perhaps, I should just focus on this one marathon first. Till next week…