About the blog:
Tri Fit for Life is a website to provide information and inspiration to people of all ages and abilities who are interested in maintaining a healthy and fit lifestyle. Topics will range from general health & fitness to endurance sports such as triathlon.
About the author:
Megan Long, M.D. is a Pediatrician and Ironman triathlete with an interest in promoting fitness and wellness for all ages.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
26.2 miles and 1611 patients
"There's a place deep within yourself you
must go to finish a marathon. I run because I can't get enough of that amazing
-Running Thoughts (twitter.com/RunningTH)
So this past Sunday was
not only the first day with an earlier sunrise and sunset, but also it was the
43rd Annual New York Marathon. I have never run this marathon myself, since
after 3 times attempting to get in via the lottery, I got addicted to Ironman
instead, but this year, I wanted to try my hand at being a medical volunteer
for endurance racing. I have been on the sidelines cheering for friends the
last 8 years, and I have to say that there is nothing like the magic of
this race and how all of New York comes together to welcome elite and amateur
runners from across the globe.
Last year, many runners
were devastated that all of their training seemed like a waste as the race was
cancelled due to resources needed to help our tri-state area recover from
Hurricane Sandy. I know what it's like to train for 15 months, travel half-way
across the world, and then have your race cancelled because I was in New
Zealand for the Ironman in 2012. But, as much sympathy as I had for last year's
runners, I have to say that the city made the right decision in cancelling the
race. Since then, our endurance community has had to recover from even more
tragedy, after the bombing at the Boston Marathon last April.
I think that's why this
year's New York Marathon seemed even more triumphant. I didn't cheer on the
sidelines this year, but I was working in the P5 medical tent, the most acute
tent that sees the most runners each year and handles the race's ambulance
transports. We saw 1611 patients on Sunday in P5, including 6 runners who were
very ill requiring ambulance transport and acute medical care in our tent. We
are so proud of you runners and what you have accomplished and were happy to
help make the hobbling home through NYC streets a bit easier...be it with
crutches, with warm chicken broth, salt packets, bandages, Zofran, fluids, or
other medical care. Thanks to all the volunteers and their support of this
There are so many great
marathon stories each year, but I wanted to share a brief bit from a runner's
story included in this week's JackRabbit Newsletter.
"This Sunday, I
became a marathoner. Alongside tens of thousands of runners, I traveled 26.2
miles through the streets of New York from the Verrazano Bridge, through
Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Manhattan, to the storied New York City
Marathon finish line in Central Park. After crossing the finish line, a runner
next to me started sobbing and, not knowing what else to do, I hugged him. We
didn’t speak to each other, I don’t know his name and odds are we will never
see each other again but in that moment I knew we were both feeling the same
rush of emotions: shock, disbelief, gratitude and finally a deep sense of calm:
it was over, we’d done it, we were marathoners.
I don’t know what
brought that runner to the starting line Sunday morning. Maybe he was raising
money to cure a disease that had struck a family member, maybe he was a
survivor of the Boston bombings, maybe his journey to the marathon was cut
short last year by Hurricane Sandy, or maybe he was just in it, like myself, to
prove that he could do it. While we all have our own reasons to toe the
starting line—or to buy our first pair of running shoes or sign up for our
first training program—we can only get to the finish through a combination of
dedication, faith in ourselves, and a supportive community."
~Karen's marathon story,
from JackRabbit Newsletter, 11/5/13
[As an aside, if you're
in the NYC area and are not a JackRabbit member, this might be something to
consider, especially to get going this winter. They send out email newsletters
with upcoming local races, group workout events, options for training
schedules, and so on. It could be a great way to stay motivated this winter!
Also check out their stores for triathlon, running, and yoga apparel. Check
them out: http://jackrabbitsports.com/]
I completed my first
marathon 3 ½ years ago in San Diego, and I can't quite remember what my
thoughts were crossing that finish line. All races blend together after a while,
but I remember that I had a sense that I had gone to battle and that I had
survived and done something that I never thought I could do before that moment
of accomplishment. I think I likened it to graduating from medical school,
although at that point I had not yet graduated, and medical school felt like
the longest endurance race of my life. It seems to me that every time you take
your training to the next level, you experience that kind of sentiment and
philosophy where you feel you have gone to battle, survived, and come out
stronger than you thought you were when you started.
I have to say that in
the P5 medical tent on Sunday, with stretchers lined up everywhere, volunteers
wheeling and transporting patients on wheelchairs and stretchers, and runners
coming in sometimes too weak to stand, teeth chattering, pale or blue,
screaming in cramp agony or looking pre-syncopal and woozy, it looked like an
endurance battle field to me.
This was during set-up. Things got too busy for pictures as the day worn on.
It was like the New York Marathon version of
MASH. Our soldiers didn't have open bullet wounds or amputated appendages, but
they were bleeding from gutsy abrasions won from falling and getting up to
complete their 26.2-mile journey; some had broken bones in the form of stress
fractures; and others had hobbled along on injuries earned during months of
training. These were our soldiers who had come to race for their respective countries,
and we were proud to care for them and get them safely home.
What a great day! If
that doesn't make you want to do an endurance race, folks, I don’t know what
will ;) Set a goal for yourself that is reachable but requires work this winter,
and see how far your journey can take you, what character you build, and how
many wonderful people you have in your life who will support and encourage you
along the way and be so very proud of your accomplishment at the finish.