Frank MacMillan: Story From the Back
"Fainting is Normal"
We were almost on schedule for my 48 hour goal when blisters began to be a real problem just over Towne Pass. Looking back, I would pre-tape and listen to my crew chief, Kawika Spaulding, and bring 4 pair of shoes in ever-increasing sizes. I cut the sides out of my New Balance 9 * EEEE's to make room on the left side. This foot is worse as I once developed DVT (deep vein thrombosis) while in a cast for an Achilles's rupture. The circulation is still not good. My right shoe was a Rockport walking shoe size 11 borrowed from Cousin Bob. It no longer fit. I walked into our Keeler stop carrying my shoes. Norman Allan, a massage therapist and crew member offered me some size 14 walking shoes which I could get on with two socks on the right foot. Some of you may have seen Norman barefoot on the course in temps up to 120. I needed him to patch the blisters first. As I sat soaking my feet in Betadyne, I had a sudden sickness in my stomach. Next thing I knew I was off in a strange dream. Norman brought me back to consciousness but I still wasn't sure where I was. I eventually declared it unsafe to continue and asked my crew to drop me from the race and take me to the hotel in Lone Pine. I was afraid to shower lest I faint again so I just went to bed. Having only 2 hours sleep in 48 made it easy to drop off. But in just two hours my room was invaded by all 4 crew with Bill Kinney and
Bill Hole, Cousin Bob, Denise Jones and Matt Spaulding on the phone from Mammoth. Denise declared she was there to tape me up and get me going as I still had time to make the cutoff. I was sure they had not told her about passing out and that she would let me off the hook with that news. "That's normal," she said. "It happens all the time out here." She went on with the taping. I just lay in bed not believing I was going to be sent back. I hadn't fainted due to dehydration as my hydration was good and I wasn't cramping. My BP tanked probably due to lack of sleep and maybe food, and because I sat down after being on my feet for so long. The two
Bill's drove me back to Keeler and threw me out of the van next to my stake. I made Portal Road with 5 hours to go. I was pleased to see Ben and Denise as well. Denise seemed happy her work paid off. Sakurai, the great Japanese athlete and 3rd place finisher was kind enough to cross the street to encourage me. We had spoken at registration and he tolerated my primitive Japanese. It was good to know the elite runners want to see us all get in. By 4.4 miles to go on the map I was sure to miss the 60 hour cutoff by about 15 minutes. I was not feeling good about this and barely kept going. Kawika was not around as his brother, Matt, was pacing me. He showed up at what should have been the 2 miles to go mark and said he had measured with the van and it was really 1.05 miles. That I could do. I picked up my walking pace and all the crew eventually fell in behind me. Ray Bell came down to tell me he thought I could make the cut. I slipped in 6 minutes under the cutoff. Thank goodness for crew and friends who don't give up on you even when you give up on yourself.