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Crazy Experiences
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Dan
Chief Pontificator
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Joined: 22 Mar 1999
Posts: 9334
Location: Salem, OR

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 2:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was telling Paul a little story today on our run and thought it might be appropriate for this thread. Not necessarily something crazy I've seen, but definitely a crazy experience. I don't think I've shared this in the forums before, but my apologies if it's a repeat. Brace yourself, here comes a horror story...

Back in '96 when I was at OSU, I organized the 1st annual XC race (still going strong) out in the woods. As a quick aside, a very little known fact is that I was directly responsible for USATF-Oregon being able to bid for and get the National XC Championships in Blue Lake in '97, as a result of piggy backing their state championship meet with our XC race at the last minute (the local association apparently cannot bid for a national meet if they don't hold a state meet the year before). So... the day before the race, I was running around town picking up miscellaneous supplies for the meet, when I got a severe pain along the right side of my abs. It was bad enough that it doubled me over right there on the sidewalk in the middle of downtown. Didn't last too long, but it remained sore for a while. I more or less wrote it off as being just a nasty sideache from running (literally) around too close to having eaten, but it was bad enough that I was a bit concerned nonetheless.

Being busy with all sorts of meet stuff, I only got about two and a half hours of sleep that night. Of course, being "my" race, I had to run in it! But I knew my preparation was a bit iffy...

Everything got underway nicely, but I obviously wasn't primed to run my best. By midway I was struggling a bit, but I carried on. The first half of the 4.7 miler is mostly downhill, with the second half being mostly uphill. Tough, hilly course in the woods. After the first major stretch of uphill, I was cresting over the top and down a hill when an even worse pain hit me in the same spot. Felt like someone had stuck a knife in my side and was twisting it around. I made it about halfway down the hill before I instinctively veered off the trail and found a large stump to hang onto for dear life. A few stragglers passed by me and asked if I was ok, which I of course said "yes" to. Probably the biggest lie I've ever told... I was one severely hurting unit at that point.

After who knows how long, I had collected myself to start back up, but my right side was very sore and my breathing was shot to hell. I was literally carrying my right leg the last mile and a half or so, dragging it along with my right arm because I literally could not lift it on its own. Getting up those final stretches of hills took an eternity... As I round the corner at the base of the final hill, our coach and the school's former coach (Fosbury's coach) are standing there. They see me coming around the bend and start cheering for me, then they see my face and how badly I'm limping along and they go completely silent... I finally get to the top, then hobble down the final 200m downhill stretch to the finish line, which is basically stretched across the gravel road. I figured I had to finish "my" race, but I most definitely did not want a time (that's one of the few things I was clear about, at that point). I veered off to the side -- I could see the person doing the timing was very confused -- and proceeded to collapse in the grass.

Several teammates came over and helped me into the forestry cabin adjacent to the start/finish that was being used for meet duties. They laid me down on the floor, propped my legs, and pretty much buried me in ice. My breathing was ridiculously shallow and rapid at that point, worse than a dog panting very bad. People kept asking me if I was ok and if I needed anything, to which I said, "no, I just need to relax and get my breathing under control." The latter was proving incredibly difficult, and I kept closing my eyes to try and relax a bit better. After some time, I was improving enough to get up (everyone had done a great job cleaing the place up during that time), and my roommate who was there for lead bike duties drove me home (I went back later that evening to get my car and lock up the gates). It wasn't till later that evening that I really felt up to moving around, though.

I had a class a couple of days later with one of the girls on the team that was there, and she was pretty freaked out about the whole thing. I asked her how long she figured I was lying there on the floor; about 45 minutes? She looked at me crazy and said, "it was at least an hour and a half!" Apparently, every time I closed my eyes to try and relax, I blacked out for 5-10 minutes. I guess that would explain why people weren't convinced when I kept saying I was ok... Confused

So, I recounted the whole story to a friend of mine who was in med school at the time, and he was horrified. His response was something along the lines of, "you idiot, you could've died there!" He said I should have most definitely been taken off in an ambulance, despite my objections that I would be fine.

I had a bunch of tests done, but nothing really turned up. The best they could figure was some sort of micro-tears in my abdomen, but I don't think that was it. To this day, I occasionally get very sharp pains in that same area after eating a large meal. That wouldn't seem possible if it was a muscle tear 6+ years later. When they hit -- sometimes lasting 15 minutes or more, sometimes off and on throughout the evening -- breathing becomes very difficult. I have no idea if it's related to that little adventure back in '96, but it certainly feels like the same thing, or at least very similar.

If I learned one thing from the whole ordeal, it's to never run in a meet that I'm also organizing! Surprised

Dan
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Distance_Guru
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Joined: 09 Mar 2002
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Location: Nebraska

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 6:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Aside from the fact that you survived it almost sounds like appendisitis (sp?). Obviously it wasn't but that's what I kept waiting for you to say as the story went along. Man that's scary. If an athlete of mine had that happen to them I'd probably have them on an ambulance, although if it happened to me I probably would have done the same stupid thing you did. My personal motto is if I'm alive enough to say I'll be okay then I don't need to see a doctor.
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Dan
Chief Pontificator
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Joined: 22 Mar 1999
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Location: Salem, OR

PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2003 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Besides, it's not like the doctors I ended up going to had any idea what the problem was (always seems to be the case), so as long as I thought I was ok... Rolling Eyes

It's strange, I was aware of so little of what was going on that when I think back to it, it seems more like a dream than something that actually happened.

Dan
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Dan
Chief Pontificator
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Joined: 22 Mar 1999
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Location: Salem, OR

PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2003 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just saw the following in a post about Goucher, Ritzenheim, and Torres skipping winter XC Nationals to prepare for the Outdoor WC:

Quote:
Goucher is healthy and said he is training well after having an operation in November for a "sports hernia"--a tear in the abdomen muscles, which Wetmore believes he could have had since the 2000 Olympic trials

Hmm, I wonder if one of those can last 6 years...

Dan
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2003 3:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who knows there are all kinds of wierd injuries out there that are hard to identify and last until they are surgically repaired or longer.
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Hep4Life
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 20, 2003 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The craziest thing I saw happened at a track meet my senior year in high school. A girl on my team was warming up and somehow broke her femur. The worst part of it was that it was April Fools Day so when the coach in the press box was told he thought it was a joke and replied, "Well roll her over and shoot her." He soon realized it wasn't a joke. The meet had to be stopped and a helicopter landed on the infield to pick up the girl and take her to the hospital. The doctors thought she possibly had a tumor or hairline fracture that had weakened the bone. Anyways, she was fine after she recovered but it was quite a crazy situationa at the time.
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jessesquire
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first week of college cross country: I really believed that I was in the "big-time" where everyone was terribly serious and adult. Boy, was I wrong. We were running half-mile repeats on the intramural fields near some dorms. During a rest period, one of our top runners needed to urinate, so while the coach was distracted he whipped it out FACING TRAFFIC and relieved himself. He simply waved to cars was they passed by.

Two that I did not personally witness:
Another coach told me that at the Volunteer Classic HS meet in Knoxville a few years back, during the 4x100 relay the announcer called off "In lane six, the Tennessee School for the Blind." The stadium got real quiet and then the announcer said "Deaf! That's the Tennessee Scool for the Deaf!"

And a report from Runner's World Online:
It isn't often that James Koskei sees any runner's back, and even less often that he sees an American runner's back. And he's surely never seen as much of an American runner's backside as he did Sunday at the Albertson's Bay to Breakers 12-K.
At the 1-mile mark, Koskei was in a crowd of Kenyans behind, well, Eric Ollila's behind. Ollila led the first mile wearing nothing but red-white-and-blue thong underwear, with "Hail to the Cheeks" scrawled above it on his back. On his chest was "Party Bush" and covering his face was a George W. Bush mask.
"It was just for fun," said Ollila after fading to a respectable 14th-place finish.
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Dan
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Joined: 22 Mar 1999
Posts: 9334
Location: Salem, OR

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2003 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, three excellent stories! Thumbs Up

I've had teammates who I could see doing something like that...

If you're going to mess up while announcing a team, best to have it be a deaf team. Smile Reminds me of when my dad came back from Peru and brought me a small hand painting he had found in one of the villages. He was explaining that it was painted by a blind artist, to which I was suitably impressed. He then corrected himself and said the guy was deaf, not blind. Talk about a let down.

I'm too disgusted to comment on the last one...

Dan
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Paul
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Joined: 28 Apr 2002
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Location: Oregon

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2003 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I rather enjoyed the last one, myself!! If your country is going down the tubes, why not geometrically??

antiwar.com ( an actual Libertarian, Republican, antiwar website!!)

Paul
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Dan
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Location: Salem, OR

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2003 11:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Geometrically? Don't you mean anatomically? Confused

Dan
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jessesquire
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2003 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paul wrote:
I rather enjoyed the last one, myself!! If your country is going down the tubes, why not geometrically??

antiwar.com ( an actual Libertarian, Republican, antiwar website!!)

Paul


While I really don't want to take this discussion away from its core, I'll just say that it's nice to see someone post antiwar.com and not get flamed for it. Over on RW's message boards you'd think being ultraconservative was a requirement for being a runner.
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Dan
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Location: Salem, OR

PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2003 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Flaming is frowned upon here...

Dan
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JM_Runs
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I volunteer with my local running club. We organize a number of road races each year. I do a lot of the course management for them, so I get to see some of the problems. Our races are generally very well organized but...

We did have a race two years ago, where a policeman re-directed the lead runner the wrong way. As luck would have it the race was a four mile out and back, with a mile loop at the top end, like a keyhole. Only the lead runner went wrong. The problem was immediately corrected so the pack went the right way around the loop. The lead runner was suprised to meet the pack coming the other way. The top of the loop is exactly on the 2 mile marker so we turned him around and he merged back in front of the pack to lead the way home. Everyone ran the right distance, just the lead runner ran the first half of the top mile loop back to front.

We had a night time 5K a few years ago. It was windy with a low cloud and very dark when the road race started. Night time....
About 10 minutes after the start a very violent squall came through. We had 1,800 runners on the course and it suddenly started to rain, with wind, and more wind, torrential tropical ran, and still more wind.
The large finish line, with big scaffolds and all, blows over, just as the lead runners are coming in. It just misses the first two who are finishing sub 15 min, with others very hot on his heals.
The first few runners had to jump over the top of the finish scaffold and the downed clocks. There was a frantic scrabble to clear the mess from the finish line as the first big packs of runners were charging out of the dark, flying over the timing mats with the wind and rain behind them.
The wind was so strong it flattened fencing that was held up by metal stakes driven into the ground. It bent the metal at right angles. My team was in charge of the finish chute. In the torrential rain, with lightning cracking all around, we created a temporary fence mad out of snow fence and barrels, all held in place up by humans. Amazingly we managed to recover all but three of the eighteen hundred timing chips. We even managed to move a set of bleachers to create a bridge, so the exiting runners did not have to wade through the fast accumulating knee high water.
Unfortunately the timing company not only had a mangled finish line, but they lost two sets of very expensive Champion Chip timing rigs, ruined by the water.

This year, a ‘professional’ race organization, who will remain nameless, was running a full and half marathon in our city. It was an out and back course with both the half and full started at the same time. A policeman on a motorcycle lead the race and the first runner was close behind. Unfortunately the lead runner was entered in the half, and no one indicted to him where to double back. About half a mile beyond the turnaround for the half mrathon, he figured out he had been running north for too long and stopped to ask... That was an obvious potential problem. You just have to anticipate and then staff key locations with people who have brains.

We have one road race that crosses the river twice. It is important to make sure the bridge operator knows they can not open for an hour. Some people copied our event, but made that mistake, and the bridge opened in the middle of their race.

Doing races in a city we often have ‘just in time’ road closures. They can be exciting. I have, on several occasions been driving just ahead of the lead runner, putting out cones or triggering traffic stops. Often I can see the lead runner, or lead bike, in my rear view mirror. Some times they are way to close.

We have a few road races that are a little wild in a different way. One is a 5 mile and 5k on the same course, run at the same time, in the middle of down town. The first mile and a half is a winding out and back, but each race has a different sized loop at the outer end. The 5 mile goes out first and exactly 17 minutes later the 5k starts. Just before the one mile mark the 5k runners see the lead of the second race pass on the other side of the street going the other way. After the one mile mark the 5K turn off, only to find that half a mile on they are merging in with the returning 5 mile runners. The two lots all come home together. It’s fun to watch the two streams of runners, one with yellow bibs, and one with blue bibs, merging together and streaming back as one big mob. Thank god for chip timing, it sorts them out at the finish line.

We have found that colored tape, strings of bunting, copious amounts of cones, and lead bikes all help to keep the runners on the right track. It’s good to have the lead bikes go over the course at least once before the race. Having multiple lead bicyclists work best, because if there is a big gap after the lead, they can drop back to guide the next group.

We use big cones to keep cars and runners apart, but to mark the course and keep runners on track we use hundreds, and hundreds, of disk cones. For a 5K we normally mark the turns and corners with the orange 12" disks. For the sides, dividing lanes, etc with 7" yellow ones. They are light and very quick to lay down and recover. I use them about once a month for road races, and have used them for XC. They show up well in poor light, and contrast well with the road or grass.
The large orange ones cost about $1.25 http://satorsoccer.stores.yahoo.net/largedisccones.html
The small yellow ones cost about 30c each http://satorsoccer.stores.yahoo.net/pracdiscon.html Get the webbing straps to help with deployment and recovery.

But if you think we have interesting problems with running races, you should see the wild stuff that happens in triathlons. Rolling Eyes
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Dan
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2006 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That stormy finish sounds like a major disaster narrowly averted. Exclamation

Dan
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Paul
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 22, 2006 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The storm race was good reading!!

I liked the bridge story. In Portland we have a lot of bridge to bridge runs. I've never heard of this happening here, but I'll ask around. Laughing
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