Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Anaphylaxis and Running - Not to be Combined

Since finishing Ironman Lake Placid, I have been "training" a friend to help him get to the finish line of his first half marathon at the ING Hartford Marathon weekend.  The goal is to get him to a sub-2:00 finish. 

Over the course of the last few years, I feel like I have developed a pretty solid understanding of what it takes to get to and through various events.  I have trained and competed in a variety of races and distances.  I know what works and what doesn't for me.  I am not qualified to do anything but coach myself...and I'm not even that good at that - which is why I enlist Coach Martha's help.

That all said, I want to help my buddy get there and I will run the race with him.  I took the plan that I wrote for myself, shared it and we are working through it together.  It has been going pretty well.  The speed and tempo work has been fun.  We've struggled on a few of our longer runs.  On Sunday, we were supposed to head out for a 14-miler.  It wasn't supposed to be anything crazy, but it also wasn't supposed to be a long slow run.  We made it a little more than three miles before disaster struck.

Running together is always a little back and forth - we don't always have to be in lock-step.  We are always right on each other's six most of the time if not side-by-side.  Around 3.14 miles (thanks, Timex Global Trainer), I felt alone.  I looked over my shoulder and he wasn't there.  My buddy was 30 yards back, hunched over and he looked like he was calling the dinosaurs.  I slowed to a walk, turned around and started meandering back - you've got to give folks their space, right?  Anyway, I get closer and he raised up - "damn...what's wrong?  you okay?"

He looked at me and then went back down.  Finally, he was able to get some words out, "My throat feels like it's closing and I have a real tightness in my chest."  I panic.  Then, regained some composure.  I did a mini check on his vitals and kept him talking.  His lip started swelling, then his eye.  I remembered that before we left, he was eating a peanut butter sandwich and thought, anaphylaxis.  I was concerned.  He drank some water and then some of my HEED.  We started walking back to his house.  I kept one eye on him and the other on the passing cars - just in case I needed to throw myself in front of one so that we could call 911.  We finally made it home and while we called his doctor his wife went to get an antihistamine. 

I'm not sure if it was the drug or just time, but he started showing signs of recovery after we got back to his house.  The swelling went down and he no longer felt tightness in his chest.  His doctor came by that afternoon (I later found out that they are good family friends) and pretty much cleared him.  Thank you!

In hindsight, I know that I should have stopped the first car I saw after getting back to his side.  I know that we should have taken him to the emergency room immediately.  Thankfully it all worked out, but I know it could have been worse and that we were very lucky.  I'm using this experience as my "get out of jail free" card.  I know that I may not get another close call and the next time...well, you know.

So, do you have any crazy training stories?  Callers, the lines are now open...


  1. that is crazy! what did it turn out to be? I have a diving story that is similar. MY wife had a panicked look on her face and we were 65 down. Immediately we went up. She proceeded to say, 'we could have stopped part way, I just need to get my composure I was feeling a little uncomfortable' NOT! I was like a dear in the headlights and was leaving nothing to chance.
    Hope you have had your scare and dont need to experience that again!

  2. "Calling the dinosaurs?" Never heard that before. Luckily no crazy training stories. I train alone and the only time I panic is in this forest preserve I sometimes trail run in. No maps and the trails just blend together, so I get lost a LOT. The funny thing is that it's actually pretty tiny, so I often pop out, just not always where I expect to.

  3. Holy crap!! That is scary!! Glad your friend is OK. Well, all of my crazy stories are about moose chasing me.

  4. oh my goodness that is so scary! Kudos to you for not totally panicking (like I would have done!). From past experience, my motto is to better be safe than sorry - a $100, hours long ER visit just to get an A-OK from the doctors is well worth it in my book. :)