“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure… than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt
Well, my first marathon ended with me in the Emergency Department after having collapsed from hypothermia. I don’t remember falling but I do remember waking up under a circulating air warming blanket wrapped from head to toe with warm packs surrounding my neck and groin. My FitBit says that I collapsed just after Mile 10.
When the race began, the temperature was 37F but there was little wind and no precipitation. As I ran, I warmed up, removed my over-jacket but kept my gloves on because my hands get cold easily. I had three light layers on but as I approached Mile 3, snow started to fall, mixed with rain. My footing was good and I felt a bit chillier but I picked up my pace and thought the temperature would rise.
Around Mile 6, the wind picked up and the rain fell in sheets. I was soaked to my skin. The temperature didn’t move much but my hands became too cold to work. I couldn’t get my jacket back on but I kept running; hoping that I could warm up with a quicker pace. I shortened my stride but picked up my cadence.
I don’t remember much after Mile 8. I remember feeling OK but still my hands were so cold and painful that I couldn’t move my fingers. My fingers had begun to turn white. My next memory is waking up in the hospital. The ER physician, when he found out I was a physician, said that I collapsed and was brought in by ambulance. I have no memory of the ambulance ride or the fall. For this, I am very embarrassed. It is quite strange for me to not remember or be aware of my surroundings. I don’t remember feeling faint or light-headed but I do remember the intense pain in my hands as my gloves were soaked along with my clothing.
Right now, as I write this, I am bruised, with multiple abrasions, sore and very humbled. God decided that I wasn’t going to run my first marathon on this day even if I was determined to do so. I was so excited to have the fellowship of other runners on this cold and blustery day and I am infinitely grateful for those who attended to me after I fell. I have learned much about myself during my training and from this experience. I live to fight another day and I continue to dream of running the 26.2-mile distance.
My friends have sent me many notes of congratulations and I adore all of them. I am very fortunate to have my health and my resolve to get back to training for the next marathon that I can run. Today was not a day of victory for me but it was a day of experience and for this, I am grateful.