Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ultra Running and Hypothermia?

Today, a friend of mine sent me a link to Cody’s blog.  Cody had tough race at the Bear 100 last week, which ended him at the hospital. * I hope he recovers quickly.    Now, everyone’s body reacts differently to the stresses of running 100 miles, and there are just so many variables, hydration, calories, physical limits, weather, and a number of others;  everyone’s race s different.  So it is very difficult to compare, but I am looking for answers for my Leadville DNF.  During the race this year, I assumed I had hypothermia at the Hopeless Aide station, but what caused it?  AND was I truly hypothermia?

At mile 55 at Hopeless aide station, I was feeling good. I stopped drank two glasses of "cold" water and instantly felt bad or weird.   I left the tent and went to the fire; within seconds I experienced extreme shivers which lasted for 20+ minutes. It wasn't cold up there, in fact there were people standing around shirtless. They told me I couldn't leave until I stopped shaking.  After warming up, I headed down, very slowly, to twin lakes. After barely making the cutoff and realizing I might not finish, I freaked out, adrenalin pumped through my veins and I took off. Ten miles later, I was an hour under the cut-off and then at 76, an hour twenty.  Then at Fish Hatchery, I slightly started to shiver again, put on a down jacket, and headed down the road. At this point my body did not want to work anymore and after awhile I started to hallucinate. Basically, I was picking up Legos on the ground - literally. I was going about a mile an hour and just getting worse. My pacer and I decided to get back to the aide station before I got really bad.   

Also, last week during the “Cavalls del Vent” in Spain, sadly a female runner,Teresa Farriol died.  The conditions during the race were extreme, very different’ from my experiences.  She arrived at an aide station in a state of hypothermia and was promptly taken to hospital.  After a moment of "stabilization", Teresa’s heart stopped and could not be revived.  It was a sad day at the race and the awards ceremony was replaced with a moment of silence.

It really makes me think and have been struggling for weeks trying to figure out what happened to me.  What went wrong?  Did I do something wrong?  I have been wondering if I just did not have enough calories and my body couldn't keep itself warm enough; I don’t know.  I don’t want it to happen again or worse. 

Exurb from Cody’s Blog -

Beaver Creek Campground - 18:45 (mile 85.25)

This is where my awesome crew of my wife and step dad, together with Joe tried to put me back together. They had no idea of the ordeal I just had. I tried to describe the issues to them and they were torn. They were told that under no circumstances were they to let me quit before the finish line. It was finish line or hospital. My instructions. Nobody wants the wrath of Cody so they were doing their best to fix me up. I drank soup and sat in a chair by the fire and put more and more layers of clothes on. Before long, I threw up all my food and was shaking uncontrollably I was also hyperventilating just standing there. That sold them on the quitting idea and it was over. Safety is the priority.

I was quite fearful I would be a mile up the road and wouldn't be able to move and would die or something so I was ok with the idea. I was so (SOOOO) bummed to be quitting with only 15 miles left. Soooo bummed.

I sat in the truck and sipped a 7-up for the ride home. I suddenly felt much better. Warm blankets, heater, a drink and no physical movement. Heaven.

I got home, showered and went to bed. I slept for less than an hour and needed the bathroom. I got really dizzy there and was hallucinating and was going to lose my 7-up. I called for my wife just as I started to pass out. She freaked and was holding me up and trying to wake me. I could hear her but not respond. Then as suddenly as it started, I was back. I calmed her down and went to the ER. The whole episode took maybe 2 mins in my mind, but she swears it was closer to 5. I must have been out for a bit.

At the ER, I was pale, but calm. It took a bit to describe my symptoms but I was soon getting x-rayed and blood draws. Very soon the blood work showed some serious issues.

My Creatine Kinase level was 30,320. Normal is 40-200, anything greater than 6,000 predicts renal failure. I had basically started to eat myself. I was breaking down muscle so fast, my kidneys and liver couldn't keep up. I was thinking I would get a slap on the wrist and and IV and sent home. Nope, its now 30 hours and counting here at the hospital with no end in sight. My levels have dropped to 15,000 by 5am this morning, but I still have quite a few other indicators that show severe distress to my kidneys and liver. Today, I feel pretty decent. My legs are destroyed, but the pain in the abdomen and back have disappeared.


Johann said...

This can be so serious and it also seems it happens when it is already at an advanced state. I don't think there is an simple answer to this one and as you say it is very different for each runner and also different from race to race.

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