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There is nothing quite like a road trip.   A destination of fun.   And an added dose of endorphin’s waiting to be consumed.

Meet Team Virginia Beach – consisting of Team  Support Director – brother Chuck…and exercise obsessed Tri-Sista’s Jill and Jane.   We were prepared for yet another half marathon.  Weekly long runs consisted of 1.5 – 2 hours and yes, we even ran all summer during bouts of intense heat and humidity.   Another half marathon?   Well, this would be a snap.

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Our travels took us on the back roads along Route 17 which was mostly without traffic stress.  Arriving in Virginia Beach – we proceeded to:

  • stimulate the Virginia Beach economy during packet pick up
  • seek food
  • walk the beach and boardwalk
  • realize it is VERY hot here
  • seek A/C at a Sweet Frog chain
  • discover frozen yogurt + toppings has been missing from your diet
  • Google every Sweet Frog chain on the Eastern seaboard

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After walking 40 blocks in the afternoon Virginia Beach heat, we eventually stumbled onto a dinner gem – appropriately named “Eat”.  Simple as that, and anything but.   The food was almost too beautifully prepared to eat, but we did anyway.  And savored every bite!   Life is good on the VA Beachfront!   Back to the hotel for early bedtimes, as we prepare for the Rock n Roll Half Marathon.

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By 5:40AM Sunday morning we were seated on one of the many shuttle buses – to take us from our hotel to the Start line of the 1/2 marathon.   The temperatures didn’t feel too bad at 6AM, tho it was humid.   It would have been great to START the event at 6AM – instead of waiting for the sun to rise by 7AM – but no such luck.   By 6:45AM – we, along with 15,000 other runners were in the corral queue — waiting for the run to get moving.

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Pre-race photo op

Let me just summarize the event before it escalated into high drama:

  • by mile 1 we were drenched with sweat
  • 92% humidity
  • every water station we hydrated and doused with water
  • we body slammed to each hose / water spray along the route
  • discovered it was much cooler running without a running shirt!
  • watched the elite runners (opposite direction) sprint toward the finish
  • make note of the Jamaican band play “Three little birds”  (Everything is gonna be all right)
  • make note of how strong Jill is running
  • do my best to keep up with Jill
  • Fading fast at mile 11
  • couldn’t wait for each water station
  • couldn’t wait for the finish line
  • More Photos!

When the Kenyan runners (winners) admitted the temps were HOT and even THEY were not feeling well in the heat – you have to wonder about your running choices!

Now for the drama.  As I write this blog and reflect on the day, it’s amazing that I didn’t recognize any of the “signs” earlier…I wasn’t drinking nearly enough.  Before or during the event. I was drenched in sweat…and probably lost 5 lbs of water.  I had no juice.   I felt “off”.  When I tried to drink, my stomach immediately cramped.  I just wanted to sit down.

An hour after the finish, preparing to depart from VA Beach, my body had enough.  While waiting in line at the Starbucks with TriSista Jill, having not hydrated since mile 11 (due to stomach cramping)…my world suddenly went into a tailspin.    Everything went blurry and I knew I was about to faint, and lowered myself to the floor in the middle of the Starbucks sending my frantic sista-in-law into a whole new level of panic.

This is where so many angels appeared from nowhere.  A mother and her 3 daughters keeping me comfortable…the paramedic, the physician assistant who just happened to be in the crowd, the Starbucks employees and countless others who tended to me while waiting for the EMS team.   When I went into a bout of chills…someone whipped out their beach blanket to cover me.  The ambulance crew of volunteer paramedics arrived and whisked me off to their truck — while I held tight to Jill and Chuck and begged them not to leave me.    Anything and everything medical terrifies me.   After taking a bunch of ‘vitals’ and deciding that I was going to “live”…the paramedics offered me a choice — they could take me to the Runner’s Medical Tent or the local hospital.   I wanted to be with my runner comrades…so off we went.   Jill rode in the ambulance, while Chuck chased us via car.

Unfortunately, the medical personnel would not allow Jill and Chuck in the medical tent.  I was sent to the Runners Medical Tent – and they were assigned to a nearby waiting room tent.  Inside it was like a MASH operation.  I was amazed at all of the medical personnel – one nurse for each bed/patient…and 3 other nurses who worked the needles.  3-4 Physicians were roaming among all of the patients.  Since I was severely dehydrated, they had trouble finding a vein that would accept a needle for IV.  After three excruciatingly painful attempts — they finally got the needle in the vein.   There is a reason why I don’t like medical!!   But today, there was no other option.   Blood work, EKG, IV with all sorts of magic fluid – I received the most amazing care and treatment at the Runners MASH Tent — and all the while receiving updates on Chuck and Jill.  I was repeatedly informed how concerned they were for me….and at one point just broke into tears.   The nurse told me it was a good sign that I could cry — as I was becoming more hydrated.  Then I laughed…and I knew….that the song “3 Little Birds” we heard earlier on route – were meant for me.   Everything was gonna be alright.    Included in the entry fee for the Rock n Roll Marathon – is the medical service they provide.   And the organization of countless volunteers and medical personnel.   I will never complain about an entry fee again.   Everybody needs somebody….sometime.   You never know when…it will be you.  And I couldn’t be more grateful for the angels whom I’ll never see again, and for my angels who never left my side…Jill and Chuck.