Friday, September 04, 1998

TR Australia

Trip Report
8/26 – 9/2/98


Noosa Marathon
Noosa Heads, Australia
Sun, Aug 30/09
Marathon # 130 – Country # 9 – Continent # 7

 I needed one more continent to complete my goal of running a marathon in all seven continents. I had been trying –unsuccessfully – to find a marathon in Sydney. However the Sydney Marathon seemed to be held intermittently and it had been cancelled for this year. So I searched for another marathon in Australia. I don’t remember how I came up with a marathon in Noosa Heads? The Noosa Marathon was a small but popular race held along with a much bigger Half Marathon race in Noosa heads located near Noosa National Park in the Shire of Noosa on the  Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia approximately 136 Km (85 mi) north of Brisbane, the state's capital.

Fortunately Nicole was able to schedule ‘work’ meetings in Sydney the week after the race so we departed early for Brisbane. After arriving in Brisbane we rented a car and drove south along the Gold Coast to spend a few days in Surfer’s Paradise to acclimate and recover from jetlag. On Sat we headed north along the Gold Coast to Noosa Heads near Sunshine Beach on the Sunshine Coast.

I picked up my race packet on Sat and checked out the course. It was hilly but didn’t look too bad? The weather was HOT and humid as expected but it didn’t really matter. I had been struggling badly in training and races for the past four months and didn’t expect to run well? I had no injuries but I was struggling with fatigue and could barely break four hours in a marathon?

Sadly this race turned out as predicted. I reached 10 Km in 52:44 and a (5K) split of 16:13. When I reached 25 Km in 2:22:42 and a split of 6:43 I was totally fatigued and struggled to reach 30Km in 2:53:20 and a (5K) split of 19.01 where I hit the ‘wall’! I was finished! I had nothing left and struggled courageously (mostly walking) to cross the finish line in 4:12:46 – a PW (Personal Worst) for a marathon! I had completed marathon # 130 –Country # 9 and most importantly Continent # 7 but it was not a memorable way to accomplish such a significant goal!

After the race we drove back to Brisbane and flew on to Sydney so Nicole could attend her meetings while I played tourist and re-visited many of the sites in Sydney. Syndey is such a beautiful city with its spectacular Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and the topless beauties on Bondi beach! In the evening we enjoyed visiting the Quay and Rocks for drinks and dinner.

But I was eager to get back home to visit my GP and other doctors to see if they could find out “what was wrong with me”? I underwent many, many tests over the next few weeks including every blood test known to mankind – and Nada – nothing! The docs could not find any problem to explain my symptoms of fatigue? Their only advice was ‘to stop running and rest”! That advice was not acceptable to Maddog!

One month later I tried to run a marathon in East Lyme, CT.  I started suffering fatigue at 10 miles and at 18 miles I became so dizzy and disoriented that I had to sit down on the road and cry because my body shut down and I could not move? I thought I had suffered a heart attack? Somehow I managed to get up and finish the race in a new PW. And I knew that I had a serious medical problem.

This time I contacted the Baylor Sports Clinic at the Baylor University Hospital in Dallas. They were renowned for working with pro and elite athletes to help them rehab and improve their performances. I was assigned a team of medical staff to work on my case. They reviewed all the medical tests that I had undergone in the past month. They reviewed my training/racing logs for the past three years. And they conducted their own battery of tests including two intensive sessions on a treadmill where I was connected to an EKG, breathing apparatus that looked like scuba gear and had IVs in my arms and legs so they could draw blood and muscle tissue while I was exercising on the treadmill. They tested and measured all the parameters of an endurance athlete.

When the tests were completed the team requested (advised?) that I take some time off from running and rest while they analyzed the data. That advice was still not acceptable to Maddog!



No comments: