Final Race Prep – Trip to A&E Wasn’t in the Plan

Those of you who know me or read this blog regularly will know that I’ve been training hard for triathlons this year. The weekend just gone was the first  of two big races I had planned so everything had been gearing up ready for the weekend. Training had been going well, I’d put in the hard work, I was fit, getting faster and feeling good. After some hard training weeks I’d eased off and tapered the week before the race and had my final training session, an easy 60 minute cycle, on Friday. There was nothing else I could do, just take it easy and prepare ready for the race on Sunday.

I’ll post more about the race itself in my race report that will come soon, but this post is all about my final few hours of preparation. The plan was to drive down to the race venue on Friday evening so that I could have all day Saturday to relax, check out the lay of the land and the course itself, get an early night and wake refreshed an raring to go on the Sunday morning. No last minute panics, no aches or pains, nothing strenuous at all on Saturday just relaxing and taking it easy.

It was a long and uncomfortable drive on Friday but we arrived at our hotel on time, met my parents and had a nice big meal at the carvery and then went to bed. I was up at 4am and commented to Anna that I felt a little bloated so would have to make sure that I didn’t eat too much that night and that we ate nice and early.

I then headed off to Emberton Park where the race was being held and had a lovely early morning ride around the cycle course. It was a gorgeous morning, the sun was rising as was mist from the lakes and rivers, it was cool, sunny and still and there was no traffic on the roads. This wasn’t training it was a very easy leisurely ride around the course. Easy gears all the way just checking out the course and the hills so that I knew what to expect. I kept my heart rate low (averaging around 100bpm) and enjoyed the ride. It was a little chilly out there but I felt good, my bike was working properly, the course was lovely and I was looking forward to the race the next day.

When I got back to the hotel I had a little bit of a stomach ache but thought nothing of it. I hadn’t eaten anything yet so it was time for breakfast. They only did a fry up in the restaurant, no cereal or any ‘healthier’ options so we all wandered off to a shop to buy some cereal, yoghurt and fruit. On the way there the stomach ache started turning into stomach pains and became quite uncomfortable. By the time we got back and I ate a small bowl of cereal things took a turn for the worse. I was now in severe pain and ended up scrunched up on the bed in agony. I wasn’t feeling well, I was hot and clammy and certainly not feeling like a triathlete. Anna and my parents were looking concerned and talk turned to doctors. I resisted, and the pain did ease off a little after a while. However as we set off for a stroll and a picnic in a nearby forest, my parents did enquire about the location of the nearest hospital at reception.

I still wasn’t feeling great at the forest but managed to wander around with just the odd wave of abdominal pain from time to time. That was until we had a picnic. I ate a ham roll and within seconds was once again in agony. Apparently all colour drained from my face and I went pretty grey. I decided to take myself off to the toilet – I was not only in pain but felt pretty ill as well and thought I might be sick. I was hot and clammy as I walked to the toilet. I’ve never fainted before but came pretty close on my way there. Walking was quite an effort and I had to concentrate hard just to get there. I made it, cooled myself down with some water and sat there still in agony trying to cope with the pain and settle myself down.

I certainly wasn’t well and all thoughts of racing tomorrow had now gone. Walking 20 yards to a toilet had been an effort 10 minutes ago, there was no way I was doing a triathlon tomorrow.

The pain eased a little and I returned to the others who were still looking pretty concerned and this time I put up little resistance when they started talking about doctors and hospitals, so half an hour later we were at Northampton General Hospital A&E department. Not quite what I had planned for today! I started feeling bad, not only did everyone now have to sit in a waiting room all afternoon, but I’d made everyone come all this way for the weekend and now I wasn’t going to be racing. Morgan had been really looking forward to my race as had Anna, I’d been training hard and it was all going to be in vain.

There was quite a wait and the pain was subsiding gradually all the time, I still wasn’t right but I was felling better than I had since it started and then all of a sudden within a couple of minutes the pain disappeared completely and I felt fine. It was really weird I now felt fine pretty much 100% and felt as though I could have gone for a 10 mile run whereas two minutes before I wasn’t going anywhere.

The doctors and nurses did a fair bit of poking and prodding. I was wired up to an ECG, had blood tests performed, a cannula inserted, urine tests done and even had a doctors finger in places you don’t want to know about, but I was now feeling OK, I was looking much better and was discharged with no one really knowing quite what had happened.

Maybe I would be able to race tomorrow after all, so we quickly rushed to Emberton Park and managed to register with a few minutes to spare before registration closed for the night. We had a quick look at a few tricky bits of the course, but didn’t have time for anything else. So much for registering early and having a relaxed stroll around the run course as planned. I was a little worried about eating that evening now and dinner was now quite a bit later than I had wanted, but eat I did and all felt OK.

I ended up getting to bed later than I’d hoped for too, but if the pain didn’t return I was planning on racing. My final days preparation had been far from what I wanted. So much for doing next to nothing, relaxing and having a stress free day. I’d been doubled up in pain for most of it, very stressed and tense, rushing from place to place and spent time in a hospital bed!

4 Responses

  1. Avatar forComment Author Alan says:

    Just a few comments from Facebook:

    Comments from Facebook

  2. Avatar forComment Author Emily says:

    Sounds nasty and quite bewildering, glad you recovered well in time for the big race.

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Alan Cole

Alan is a Freelance Website Designer, Sports & Exercise Science Lab Technician and full time Dad & husband with far too many hobbies: Triathlete, Swimming, Cycling, Running, MTBing, Surfing, Windsurfing, SUPing, Gardening, Photography.... The list goes on.

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