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The Importance Of Nutrition (Or: My First-Ever Trip In An Ambulance)

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Here's a story on why nutrition is so important. It's also a story about the author's first-ever trip in an ambulance.

There are many different headlines lines I could've used for this post. "My First-Ever Trip In An Ambulance" is just one.

"The importance of eating and nutrition."

"That time I woke up on the bathroom floor."

"Maybe don't drink so many beers after running." All would be applicable. And together, they all tell the story of my Tuesday night.

The day began pretty typical -- breakfast, work, etc. I opted to get that day's run in during lunch, since I knew I'd be at work late. Nothing big, just 6.5 miles (at an 8:30 pace) on a relatively cool day. It's my "easy" run of the week. I had what was a somewhat late lunch after that: PB&J and cheese and crackers and my typical post-run beverage of chocolate milk. That's about when the trouble started, in hindsight. Because I never ate again the rest of the day.

A couple beers after work turned into a few more beers at ChurchKey and suddenly I'm six beers deep on what was likely a very empty stomach. But still, I felt fine. Never felt drunk, and by all account, was talking just fine. Then I started to feel ... not 100%. So I excused myself to the restroom -- I had to pee anyways (I'd had 3-4 glasses of water at ChurchKey, too). I remember walking into the bathroom ... and then the next thing I remember is an employee of ChurchKey waking me up on the bathroom floor.

"Sir, do you know you passed out?"

I didn't fully comprehend this question. But at the time, I remember thinking, "Well, yep, obviously. Bathroom floor is definitely where I am supposed to be."

It took 15 seconds or so before I realized, "Heyyyyy, wait a minute ... I'm not supposed to be lying on the bathroom floor!"

A few of the bartenders helped me back to the table while the manager informed my friends that I had to go home. Because I had just passed out, and, according to him, it wasn't because of drinking -- "In my experience, this is not a thing where he had too much to drink. He eyes were open but he was unresponsive."

As I slowly began to comprehend what happened, I started profusely sweating, and the idea of simply standing up made me want to vomit. So the 9-1-1 call was made. The paramedics showed up in minutes and before I knew I had an IV in my arm and was getting an EKG while lying on a booth in a bar. New life experiences!

They brought me outside, placed me on a stretcher, loaded me into the ambulance (new IV) and took me to Georgetown Hospital. I spent the next four hours there, receiving another EKG, three more bags of IV, a blood test and a bunch of questions. They thought it was very weird I just passed out (hey, me too!), especially since I never had before (not exactly comforting!). They eventually determined it was a syncope/vasovagal experience -- essentially just an isolated fainting incident.

I spent Wednesday and Thursday recovering, and sleeping like 12 hours both days (I was exhausted). But otherwise, everything else was just fine. I even went for a 12-mile run Saturday.

The common consensus -- and likely the lesson to learn from this -- is that I simply don't eat enough. (My mom is the president of that club.) Especially with how much activity I do, and what I put my body through. Fortunately everything is okay now (and fortunately I didn't hit my head or anything). But it was a bit of a wake-up call, and a scary reminder of just how important nutrition can be while training.

(Special thanks to Chris, Brian, Matt and Kevin who hung out in the E.R. with me. SB Nation United, indeed.)