I remember going into the locker room at Northampton High School my junior year during a varsity football game. Everyone was exhausted (except me, the kicker), fighting for the win. A couple of unlucky breaks, bad calls, and missed plays were keeping the other team in the game. Coach Teko Johnson (may he rest in peace) gave a great speech where he bellowed, “The greatest test of character is how you respond when faced with adversity!!!!”
The quote and the football mentality really stuck with me. Coach Teko Johnson’s words are very true. Your character is not really tested when everything is going smooth and effortless. We ended up coming back and winning the game. My sophomore year we went 2-10 and lost the Turkey Day game to the Cattasaqua Rough Riders, my junior year we ended the season at I believe 9-3, made the D11 playoffs, and easily defeated the Rough Riders. (If you’re wondering, my longest field goal in a game was 37 yards and my longest in practice was around 52 yards).
On Friday morning we had a little workout and I felt great. I remember thinking how amazing I felt climbing up some really steep hill at 6400ft. After making a healthy omelet filled with spinach, brocolli, and salsa for lunch, I headed out for some errands. I started to feel nauseous a few hours later and came back home and lied down. Unfortunately it got worse quick. Soon after I’m puking my guts out. It started to get worse so I called Richie for advice and him and his wife were going to go to the store to get me pedialite. I had not had anything to drink for about 6 hours and my stomach was getting rid of everything in it. I could feel the dehydration kicking in. After another round of vomiting, I could barely walk back to my bed I was so weak and lightheaded. After lying in bed convulsing for five minutes feeling worse by the minute I knew I had to go to the hospital. Richie and his wife were nice enough to pick me up, and I spent the majority of the time in the car puking in a bucket I brought…poor bucket. After the emergency room nurses put the IV in they left the room and did not give me a “call button” or any advice. I wasn’t feeling any better and my arm started really hurting. I looked down to see my bicep was huge and my bed was wet night to my arm. Clearly, the IV was not working. I started yelling nurse for about 5 minutes before a neighboring person hit their call button to help me. They finally got the IV correct in the other arm and the nurse said you could see the color changing in my face. A few hours in the ER, a couple liters of IV fluid, and I was able to go home. The next morning instead of a solid long run with the guys, I was curled in the fetal position watching movies on my netbook.
I started thinking about the quote from my football coach after this and realized how this really is a test of character. Sure, grinding out 20+ mile long runs at altitude is a test of character, but this is a true test. Now, I’m on the upswing, staying positive, and getting ready for a few more weeks of good training before the Rothmann Institue 8k in Philly Nov 20th and the California International Marathon Dec 5th. I have had great training for 5 years and a really ideal, fun, and challenging last few months here in Boulder. One sickness is not going to derail my dreams!
Hope everyone has had a better weekend than me and thanks to everyone who commented on my facebook, left me voicemails, texts, tweets, etc. I really appreciate it and cannot believe how awesome my friends are here in Boulder and back home/State College. Always remember Coach Teko Johnson’s quote when something arises that you didn’t plan for!