below is my husbands' account of the day. and here is coachs' account.
I’ve asked Zanne if it would be alright for me to “guest post” on her blog. While her account of the marathon is accurate and inspiring for all of us, especially those of us who witnessed her get up and out of the ambulance to ultimately finish the race, there was a lot left out…mostly because she “wasn’t really there” for big chunks of it. Now I’ll warn you, my wife is a far better and much more creative writer than I’ll ever be so please be kind but I thought some of you might appreciate the “rest of the story” about Zanne’s adventures in Columbus.
Our friend and Zanne’s coach sent an email last night that summed it all up: “Fun. Hard. Scary. Fun. Amazing. Awe inspiring.”
While Zanne and coach were at the start, the support crew was busy shuttling bags from the hotel back to the RV, getting the bikes ready, looking for gear and camera’s and water bottles. Finally we got on the bikes and started chasing down the pack. We finally caught up with our runners at mile 8. They looked great, just behind the 3:40 group and smiling and waving. It was great to see them so far ahead of pace. At mile 15 we saw them again. Zanne looked serious, determined, but well ahead of pace and strong. I rationalized her expression in my head as I’ve been her “focused” look a million times…that was it…focused.
We didn’t see them again until 21. This is when we knew there was a problem. The 3:40 group went by and we didn’t see Zanne and coach. This was somewhat expected as we knew they would fall off the pace after 20 and had made up time in the early miles exactly for this reason. The hope of course is to make it through and kick it in from 23 on. But then we didn’t see her and still didn’t see her. I was getting nervous that we would see the 3:50 group first. The thought of her watching the 3:50’s pass her was too much to think about. Come on Zanne…where are you? Then my eagle eyed support partner spotted coachs' orange hat. They were moving well and the 3:50 group was nowhere in sight. Thank God, thank God, thank God….that was until she got close enough for us to see her. She was pale, really pale, actually almost gray. She didn’t look up at us, didn’t wave, her head was down. Coach fell back a little so she couldn’t see him and shook his head just enough for us to know she wasn’t going to make her BQ.
We knew she would need support at 24 so we hightailed it over cutting through some side streets. We popped out back onto the course and began heading to 24. On the way we saw a runner down on the curb. As we got closer I realized it was Zanne. From the way she was sitting, her legs tucked up under her slightly, her body leaning back on her arms it looked like she injured an ankle or knee. When we got up to her it was immediately clear that is was much worse.
Now at this point I might begin to sound a little dramatic. Perhaps I am, after all this is my wife we’re talking about here…but for the record, and anyone will tell you, I am not a dramatic person but what I saw scared the shit out of me.
Once we got to her she was completely out of it. Mumbling over and over. Some of it was understandable and some wasn’t. Mostly she would just say “I have to get up, I have to finish”. Clearly her head was still in the race, but her body wasn’t and the two weren’t communicating at all. I sat behind her and let her fall into me. As soon as she let go her head flopped to one side. She couldn’t move her arms. We had to pull her legs out from under her one at a time and pick up dead weight to reposition her. Drinking water seemed like it took her a huge effort. Again she would say “I have to get up, let me get up”. I said “honey, you need to rest, I’m here, just relax”. Over a few of these exchanges she got more insistent. I think at one point I just said “Zanne, it’s over. You need to rest, you’re out of the race”. Thinking back on this I regret saying it. After all, she wasn’t out of the race and I hated telling her to stop after the months of training, but at the time she wasn’t focusing on her on well-being and we needed to get her help.
Shortly after all of this things got worse because she stopped talking. She couldn’t drink any more water. Her eyes were rolling back in her head. Coach flagged down a policeman and they radioed for an ambulance. We could hear the sirens in the distance but it seemed like they were taking forever. I remember, for a moment, getting really scared. The kind of scared you never allow yourself to get. My wife was lying on the ground, limp, getting worse and there was absolutely nothing I could do for her except say “hold on…they are on their way”.
When the EMT’s got out and looked her over there was no relief. They were serious, this situation was serious and they took it seriously. I think I was waiting for them to say “give her an orange slice and she’ll be fine”. Instead they strapped her to a gurney, put an oxygen mask on her and gave her an IV while they began checking vitals. “This is not good, this is not good” was the only thought racing through my brain.
A finger prick later we knew it was blood sugar. “We’ll give her an IV and some glucose and she’ll snap right out of it” was all I remember hearing. “You’re kidding! That’s it?” blood sugar (I later learned through the magic of Google that this condition can indeed be deadly, I’m glad I didn’t know that at the time). Within minutes she was back. Sitting up, talking, being a smart ass. When she asked to have her picture taken for the blog we knew she was back.
The EMTs said they could take her to the finish. We began planning how to get the bikes and gear back so I could ride with her. I looked at coach and knew he wanted to finish. After all he was running this race too and was within three miles of a finish. I said “do you want to finish?” He didn’t answer right away so I knew he wanted to. I said I’ll ride back and meet the ambulance. By then Zanne was trying to get out of the ambulance. She said something like “there is no fucking way I’m being driven to the finish in an ambulance”. I asked her to see if she could stand up first but she literally stepped out of the back and began walking.
We scrambled up the gear and bikes and rode alongside them on and off until the two miles. Then we headed for the finish. When I saw them come around the last turn to the finish they were already running. I watched them run down to the line, heard the announcer call both of their names and said “you have finished the Columbus marathon.” It was like a scene from your favorite sports movie where the main character battles back from near death to finish the race. Rocky, but cuter. Indeed it was all about the character. The character of my wife and what she did that day.
I know in the coming days she’ll be filled with doubt about minute decisions she made before and during the race that led up to this “incident”. But in my book she accomplished much more than a BQ. She cemented her status in my book, in anyone’s book as a tough, determined, and a little bit crazy - “BAD ASS”. I’ve never been so proud of her and I’m looking forward to being her support team in the next BQ. After all, if we can keep her jacked up on Krispy Kremes long enough we know she’ll run fast enough to qualify.