Let me first start off with a little history of me "not knowing my physical limits:"
In 8th grade I was on the track team. Up until this one particular track meet, I never ran further than 800 meters without stopping. I never ran further than 400 meters in an actual competitive meet. When my coach asked if anyone wanted to volunteer to run the 1600 meters in the next 15 minutes, I thought "sure what the heck." I ran my heart out in that race, crossed the finish line (in last place), collapsed on the grass, and proceeded to projectile vomit all over the place. You could say I lost in more ways than one.
In college, after a few injuries obtained wile trying out the rugby team, I decided that ultimate frisbee was more my thing. My ultimate frisbee team made it to Nationals one year out in Oregon. It was a freakishly hot day and we had 4 games to play. Everyone was super concerned about dehydration and not getting sun burned. I was equally as concerned, but also concerned about trying to win at least one game and looking my frisbee finest. At some point after game 3 I realized things were not going well for me, and just as a sick dog will wander into the woods to die, I wandered away from my team and found a nice little garbage can away from the fields and the crowds, crawled up into its shadow, and passed out. Next thing I knew I was under some really nice shaded tent on a bed covered in my own vomit with a really nice guy cleaning me up and covering me with ice cubes assuring me everything is going to be ok and that they are going to take me to the hospital. 4 hours of an IV, a few more bouts of vomit, and a nice nap later, and I was back on my feet. "Heat exhaustion" they called it.
Before I passed out I was pretty good:
When Trevor and I first moved to California we decided to take up biking. So we went to K-Mart and bought the cheapest, heaviest, crappiest mountain bikes and decided to take them road biking. We lived in the foothills of Santa Barbara which, unless you live right by the beach, is ALL hills. We road up and down for awhile until I again got to the point of death and told Trevor I needed to take a break. So we went downhill for awhile so I could revive myself. When you live in the foothills, downhill is further and further away from home. My energy never came back. I could not make it home. The next thing I remembered was being face down on the sidewalk outside of a Baja Fresh and Trevor having to go inside and ask for ice and assure them that no they did not need to call 911, that I was just a little hot. Guess I am never eating there again...
A few years later in Santa Barbara I have taken up running as my sport of choice. I had gotten to the point of running 3-4 miles 3-4 times a week fairly comfortably. So when my co-worker's girlfriend could not make the 10 mile race she has signed up for and was looking for someone to take her place, I said, "sure, what the heck?" If I can run 10 miles in a week, I can run 10 miles in a day, right? I run the race in sub 8 minute miles, cross the finish line, and as in my 8th grade track meet, proceeded to puke my brains out all over the finish line. This is not an unfamiliar story now, huh?
Since we have moved to Boston we have struggled to maintain a healthy, active lifestyle. We were doing great right up until Thanksgiving. Then it got really cold, really dark, and really icy. We had the holidays and honeymoons and were very busy with baby showers and friends visiting, and is that enough excuses!? I have not worked out in a month.
Our last set of visiting friends left on Monday. Then it was Wednesday and I realized I had not left the house since Sunday. It is time. I pack my bag with my cycling shorts, a change of clothes, towel and toiletries, and my laptop. I am going to take a spin class at the gym. I will shower there, then head to a coffee shop. I am going to be active. I am going to see other humans. I am going to get work done.
I get to the gym and pick out my bike for the spin class. I am ready to kick my butt back into shape. I may or may not have turned up the resistance on my bike too high in order to punish myself into shape. About halfway though the workout I realized, this may not have been the best plan. The cycling room is hot. The ventilation is poor. The lights are off. After the "hard" part of the workout I found myself planning how to get off my bike, and run out of the room without puking, and without anyone noticing. Realizing that this is not going to work and that if I do not slow down I will certainly puke, I started taking it easy: turning my resistance down instead of up; not getting out of my seat when its time to stand up; resting my head on my handlebars and praying "please don't let me puke, please don't let me puke." Finally the cycling part of class is over and it is time to stretch. I survived!
Everyone get off your bike. Done. Now stretch your leg like this. Can't. Can't move legs. Can't see. Eyes are darkening. Voice is not working. I try to look around before I lose consciousness. I try to make eye contact with someone to let them know I may need some help. I remember thinking I did not want people to not see me pass out in case I didn't come to right away, but I also didn't want to frighten people into thinking I was dying...although I am not completely convinced I am not dying, but I felt alarmingly calm. No one was looking at me anyway I was all the way in the back. Oh well. Then my world went black. When I came to I was bent over the seat of my bike. I summoned enough energy to lift my head up ever so slightly and made eye contact with the wide-eyed girl next to me. I barely whispered "I think I need help," then puked in her general direction, went limp again, and fell to the floor.
I came back around pretty quickly and felt pretty good afterwards. The girl who called for help, the spin instructor, and the gym manager had helped carry me out into the hallway and out of the dark, hot, sweaty, and poorly ventilated spin room. They sat around with me and we chatted for 20 minutes until the paramedics showed up. I was feeling much better. These three lovely women looked like they were in their late 20's, early 30's. One had recently moved from California. They were all into fitness. We joked about how cold it has been out and how we cannot wait for it to be warm and all the BBQs and beaches and outdoor activities we are going to do once it gets warm out again. And I thought to myself, "this is what it takes to make friends." This is how you can strike up a conversation with strangers. So what if it took me almost dying, to ask someone for a favor? In the worlds of Benjamin Franklin:
“He that has once done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.” – Benjamin Franklin
And that's how friends are made. So consider them my new best friends.
End of story: the paramedics came, my heart rate was fine, my blood pressure was fine, they wanted to take me to the hospital because they thought I lost consciousness, which I probably did, but even if I did it was only for a second at most, and if they knew my history of stubborn work-outs-gone-wrong they would not be that concerned... If I got into that ambulance, I would never be able to show my face around that gym again! I would walk in and people would turn away and whisper... "There goes that girl that passes out in spin class again... Better call 911 and keep them on standby...don't sit next to her, she has a tendency to puke..."
Now how am I going to motivate myself to go back to the gym again? The spin class instructor did ask if she will see me in class next week, so I suppose in exchange for her assuring that I did not die, I could return the favor and keep her class attendance numbers high, puke or no puke (hopefully no puke). New BFF.
My two favorite things about this story were:
1) calling Trevor after it happened and trying to tell him what happened in one breath without making it sounding alarming...and failing...
Me: "Sooooo yea I'm on my way back from the gym".....
T: "Cool, how was spin class?".....
Me: "Well it was OK, pretty hard I guess because I ended up passing out and puking and the paramedics had to come, but I refused to go the hospital so I'm on my way home."
T: "WAIT, WHAT?!"
2) sitting around at home recapping the story and thinking about that poor girl's panic who I puked on and laughing thinking "this will make for a fairly entertaining blog."