After the race, runners are whisked from medical check to blood draw to urine sample. The blood draw is done to measure five kidney-function related values: Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN), Creatinine, Creatine Phosphokinase (CPK), Sodium, and Potassium. All my values were in the normal range except my CPK was high (7300), which is not unusal after a 100 miler...you just don't want it to be too high...then you're talking about scary stuff like kidney failure. In a way, it's also a measure of whether you've pushed yourself beyond your training. I feel like my CPK said I pushed myself, but not beyond my training. Andy Jones-Wilkins has a really good story about this...run slower or train harder!
From the Western States website, "CPK is a measure of muscle protein breakdown. A normal CPK ranges from around 50 to almost 200. Vigorous exercise such as a hard run or a long hike or a strenuous football practice will elevate CPK's to 500-1000 or more with no side effects other than achy muscles. However, in prolonged extremely strenuous exercise (such as running the WSER 100), CPK's will be elevated anywhere from a few thousand to several hundred thousand units! The higher CPK's will be associated with severe muscle pain, nausea, weakness, "flu-like symptoms", dark urine (Coca Cola colored) and other unpleasant symptoms. Rest and vigorous rehydration with a variety of fluids such as water, electrolyte drinks, juice, soda, etc. generally will clear the markedly elevated CPK's within a few days. The higher the CPK, the more likely the kidneys will become plugged up and impair kidney function. Anyone with a CPK above 40,000 should follow up with a physician within a day or two for repeat blood work. However, if the urine output is diminished or the color is not clearing or you are gaining weight or you are feeling worse as time passes instead of feeling better, you should see a physician promptly." Yikes!
After all the testing I sat down on the grass and it wasn't long before I started to get really cold...so I put on my dad's shirt, Andy's hat, and then two sleeping bags on top of me. Now I was laying down, all covered up, and I wanted to put my compression socks on. I have to give Andy a big thanks for doing this for me...it couldn't have been very pleasant down there. I laid there for a little while, but we needed to get out of there so we could all get some sleep...most of the crew was driving home that day. At this point we all went our separate ways. I was able to get up and shuffle over to the car...Tonya drove the kids and me back to our hotel room. We all slept till about 10:00, then ordered breakfast from room service. I remember being surprised that I didn't really feel tired. I took a shower...it felt really good to be clean...and Tonya took the kids swimming while I went to the awards presentation. Let me just say, the buckle looks really nice...it's definitely one of the coolest things I've ever received. That night we all went swimming, then had pizza for dinner. And the next morning we packed everything up and headed home. It was a much tougher drive home for the kids than for me. I was pretty sore, but sitting in and driving the car was no problem. It was quite a relief to finally make it home.
It's funny how a little time can change your thinking after a tough race. During the race I had the thought several times, I don't need to do this again...but not more than a few days after the race I was thinking, I know I will.
11 months ago