Tough Time 2002

Thanks for a most unforgettable experience.  I didn’t get back to Nordic for the 3rd time and a 100 mile finish, as I had hoped, but I pushed the envelope a little.

My first outing at KM100, in 98, resulted in a drop at 50 miles after taking a wrong turn and losing an hour exploring Wisconsin farmlands.

I returned last year, stayed on course, and felt fine, but couldn’t get past the 100k point due to the enforcement of the 9:30pm cutoff.

After that experience I had given up the hope of ever attempting KM100 again, until May 19–less than two weeks prior to the race–when I just happened to check out your website and discover that you had extended the 100k cutoff to midnight.  Wow!  A chance to FINISH this monster!  I overnighted my entry the same day.

All well…fate can be unkind.  Because of the heat I was popping Karl King’s S-Caps on an hourly basis and gulping cokes at every aid station.  During the night I took a NoDoz tablet and used caffeinated Hammer Gel to stay awake, which apparently didn’t do the trick because I was rudely awakened when my face bounced off the trail somewhere between
Nordic and Highway 12.  This was no wimpy “trip and roll” kind of thing but a real-for-sure FACE plant–no hands, no shoulders, just face, bouncing off the ground like a damn basketball.  THAT woke me up.

At some point I stopped to take a rock out of my shoe and noticed that my heart was racing.  Seemed kind of odd but then it had been a hard, hot day.  I missed the cutoffs at Highway 12 and Rice Lake, where I finally called it a day and headed back to the motel with my wife.

When we got up at 1 pm, my heart was still racing, so my wife (an RN) took me to the hospital in Fort Atkinson to have it checked out.  They put me in the ER immediately and rigged me up to monitors on one arm and three IVs on the other.  My heart rate was 150, which I can’t achieve on a treadmill with a full sprint.

By this time, I’d been tachycardic for maybe 30 hours straight, and the emergency room docs couldn’t get the rate down.  They tried two or three drugs with no results.  They finally eliminated the possibility of Atrial Fibrillation and concluded that I had a more serious condition, Atrial Flutter, in which the heart just quivers.  This is dangerous because it can wear the heart out and allow blood to pool and clot.

After several hours in the ER they gave me a drug that slowed the flutter from 150 to 70 beats a minute, although my heart still wasn’t functioning in a normal sinus rhythm.  Shortly later, as they were transferring me to the Intensive Care Unit, my heart “converted” to a normal pattern, pumping at my usual 46 pulse rate.

After monitoring the situation for a few more hours, they finally discharged me at 7:30 pm and the wife and I immediately headed to Randy’s for a delicious turkey dinner–our first meal since the day before.  This demonstrates the maxim that “all’s well that ends well” and in view of the alternatives, just being alive and well made up for not reaching the elusive 100 mile mark.

The doctors concluded that the electrical problem with my heart’s firing mechanism was caused by the high intake of electrolytes and caffeine combined with the heat and exertion.  So I wonder what the weather will be like NEXT year…

Thanks for a terrific race with unbelievable support and the nicest people I’ve ever met at aid stations.  Even with the detour to Fort Atkinson, we had a wonderful time in Wisconsin.