Sunday, April 25, 2010

PR with a Poop – Part 3 of 3

Written by Aaron Linz

I crossed the finish line and knew I had over a 3 minute PR. Tremendous relief and emotion came over me right away but my first concern was figure out how I could stop walking without a volunteer shoving me along. They are doing the right thing but my back immediately locked up, I was having trouble keeping my balance, was cold from having no shirt on and really wanted to just stop. Boston has a LONG walk down a couple blocks to get to your bags. As I was stumbling along, the medical folks (volunteers in red jackets) kept coming up to me and asking me if I was ok. I initially said, ya I think so as I just finished 26.2 so I had every reason to be tired but I thought I was ok and did not want the medical folks spending time with me when most likely other folks with more serious issues needed them.

Things started to go bad quickly when I realized I was not walking well without the heavy assistance of a volunteer holding my arm and I started having trouble breathing. I kept moving forward which honestly hurt more than the last stinking mile of the marathon. I was able to stop and get my finishers medal. A huge wave of emotion hit me and I am not gonna lie, I cried like a little girl! I was so overwhelmed with emotion of what I had accomplished and thought of all the folks that helped and supported me. I just broke down. You younger men will find out that as you get older, you start to transform into a girl when it comes to emotions. There are events that I would have kicked my ass for when I was younger (“There’s no crying in baseball”) that now easily have me fighting back tears. Maybe I am man enough now to know it is ok to show some emotion. Maybe it is the metro sexual wardrobe I have adopted as I have lost weight and ditched those horrible baggy clothes from the 90s. I don’t know! But back to running 

After several medical volunteers passing me off to the next set of volunteers, I saw them getting a wheel chair ready. They asked me if I needed a ride in the wheel chair. I doubt it was much of an option because as soon as I was in that thing, that was a ticket to the medical tent. As they were wheeling me that way, I pointed out that to the right was my bag bus and literally as I am pointing that way telling the volunteer where to go, we take a sharp left for the medical tent. Crap! I had read about the medical tent in Runners World as they did a cool job describing how they scan your number in, have 6 ambulances ready to go and all the beds, etc they have setup to assist runners.

Before we head into the tent, as I was getting wheeled over, I hear a shout from behind say “Aaron Linz is my hero”…I knew it was Jay…I really wanted to respond but I was too exhausted and out of it to even turn around. I really appreciate it though as he knew I had a good day and it was a beautiful gesture of respect.

About 6 folks including an attending physician started asking me lots of questions and by now, I was really having trouble getting a deep breathe and I was shivering uncontrollably. I kept apologizing for being in there as I was really concerned I was wasting their time and that someone in much worst attention would not be getting it because I was holding up the line. As it turns out I think of the 30 beds in there at the time, there were only 2 of us. I guess one advantage to being fast is you can get first in line for medical help!

So, they took my temperature and it was 92! I thought this was a mistake but I distinctly remember them taking it a couple minutes later and it was still that. According to my sister who is doc and Mom who is a nurse, apparently I was close to shock. The doc had me walk around slowly as he said if I laid down, there would be a good chance my body would shut down. I am a medical idiot as anything hospital/medical freaks me out and I have never cared to learn much as again, sister is doc, mom nurse, Dad had heart transplant, wife is in nursing school. I am not really sure what “shut down” meant but it didn’t sound good. They wrapped me in a bunch of blankets.

Walking frankly was exhausting so they helped me lay down on a cot and I was wrapped in even more blankets. They gave me some water and best of all, some hot soup. So this went on for awhile and I had to get up and walk every couple minutes. I started to feel better I think after 20 min and one of the volunteers got my bag for me and came back. That was Awesome as I was able to change out of my wet clothes and put on my own warm dry stuff. I retired a pair of Asics shoes that I had already decided would have their last run that day. Because I was not thinking well and didn’t want to carry it, I retired a new pair of Mizuno shorts and a new pair of Beluga socks. Dropped my pants right in the tent in front of too many folks but I really didn’t care. I had already got pretty personal with these folks 

What is amazing to me is I think what was 30 min or so in the tent and I was read to head out. I really have no idea how much time passed but I doubt it was longer than that as I was able to quickly find Jay and I found my buddy Billy and his folks. I think the docs said it was dehydration but again, I am no good with this stuff. All I know is I have been dehydrated before, started seeing stars, had to have my mom wake me up every 15 min on the couch to force Gatorade down me, etc but having trouble breathing was a new one for me.

Looking back, I thought I did ok drinking water but I did start going every other water stop and I know I got hardly any Gatorade in me. I also had maybe half of 3 Gels as I was so tired of those darn things from 4 months of training with them. All good reasons that I have already linked up with Megan Hovis to help improve my race nutrition for future races.

I grabbed some extra water before I headed out of the tent, thanked everyone lots and lots and tried to put some food in me.

Walked out of the tent and pretty quickly found Jay. Chatted with Lauren and then got to meet the Holder family for the first time. Met Billy and his folks. We got a good picture that I am waiting on from his folks and then headed for the subway. I was actually feeling ok and Billy and I were looking forward to ordering a pizza.

We got back to our hotel, turned on my phone and it went nuts! I must have had 15 text messages, a couple voice mails, a ton of facebook congrats. While I began going thru them, Billy ordered us a large pepperoni pizza.

I made some calls, answered some texts and then ate the heck out of some pizza. We threw on our swim suits and headed for the hot tub.

Our grand plan was to then nap but more phone calls, texts, shower, lounging around and before you know it, the time had come to head out.

We went straight to a Dunkin Donuts, got coffee and donuts and then took a cab to meet up with folks. It certainly was not a wild and crazy night but fun to meet up with others, chat about races and enjoy lots of greasy food that none of us had eaten in awhile.

Slept well but got up around 6.30am (stupid habit). Decided to head out on a run to play with my new GPS watch. My quads were killing me but according to the garmin I ran 2 miles in 7.30 and then 7 flat. Billy and I decided to do some sightseeing so after a nice breakfast, we headed over to downtown Boston. I think my legs got worse as the day went on because all stairs looked evil and even the cobble stones in the older parts of Boston hurt to walk on. We needed to walk to loosen our legs so while moving around hurt, I think it was good.

I do highly recommend that you attempt to walk lots the day after a marathon. Go as slow as you want and rest lots but you need to move around. I would also recommend you go on a short run a couple days after. It is going to hurt no matter when you start up so might as well get it over with as you will hurt just as much on that run 3 days after vs. 7 days after.

Flight home was eventful except that USAIR was super cool and said all marathoners could board the plane first! There were marathoners even all the way back in Charlotte that were on the shuttle back to the garage. Again, I had seen the folks before as we don’t have that big of a running community in Charlotte, however again, names I am no good with.

Got home, medal to my daughter as usual and a few gifts for wife and daughter as usual. I slept great and went back to work Wednesday to start back my road to recovery.

So there you have it! Lengthy 3 part series about the PR with a Poop! I enjoyed writing it and hope you all were entertained at least a little.

Happy Running!


  1. Aaron - loved reading this. The medical volunteers were really nice! great experience.

  2. Great read. Thanks for sharing.

  3. loved reading this... pumped me up for next year... sheesh, a whole year that will go by super quickly. thanks for the recap and congrats to you!!!