SISU Iron hints and tips from a Team SISU volunteer - Laura Johnson

Hello Cream Puffs!

Let me introduce myself. My name is Laura. I’m a registered nurse and I am one of the first aid volunteers for the 2015 IRON. This is my 3rd year working with SISU and this event. My event resume is extensive and includes the “Summer of Fun” Irvine Mud Run, the Bubble Run, the ROC (ridiculous obstacle course) race and about a half a dozen virtual 5K’s. The IRON is something that I look forward to as it never ceases to make me chuckle.

For those who have signed up, good for you. For those that actually show up, be prepared. I have not been involved in any of the planning of the actual challenges that are in store for you this year but I have gone over the participant list with your race directors and have identified the athletes that could cause me to have to put down my cool beverage and get up out of my chair. For this reason, I would like to give you some insights and advice from a health and safety standpoint.

The SISU IRON is a unique event for many reasons. Camp Trask, which is our base camp, is exclusively ours for the weekend. This is the place where the athletes usually start from and meet up between challenges. Some athletes who have finished a challenge early have even had a chance to sit (but NOT in my chair) and have a short rest while waiting for others to finish. It is a transition area. Not all events have the luxury of having a base camp that is private. The reason I tell you this is so that you can plan and prepare.

So here’s what you can expect. You will not bring enough water. There will be bugs (the Red Velvet "Cupcake" Ant will be out in full force). You will cramp up. You will chafe. You will get blisters. You will cry. You will feel like you are dying. I will roll my eyes.

That being said, we are prepared to handle minor issues and injuries. In the event of any major injuries, including but not limited to, broken bones, snake bites, bear attacks, severed digits, limbs or appendages, respiratory distress and cardiac arrest, those will be handled by calling 911. We will go in to “beast mode” to keep you alive until help arrives (please refer to your waiver).

Here’s what I expect. I expect that if you actually show up for the IRON that this is not the first event you have ever done and you know what your hydration needs are. Adequately hydrate prior to the event. If you need 5 cases of water, Gatorade, mustard, whatever you need to stay hydrated and replenish electrolytes, bring it. Last year some athletes critically underestimated their need for water. How much water would you bring to Hell? Bring adequate nutrition for the duration of the event. Last year I cooked 2 pounds of bacon in the compound while Coach Payne took the athletes through what I refer to as the “Meet Your Maker” boot camp session. I didn’t share my bacon.  If you need some sort of special salves, ointments, cushions, or pads for your feet, bring them. We are prepared with basic first aid supplies, including OTC meds and topical ointments. We don’t have horse placenta or whatever that stuff is that some of the endurance athletes use on their feet. If you take any prescription medications, asthma inhalers or Epi-Pen, bring them. If you are aware of a medical condition that you have that may flare up or occur during the event that may cause an emergency situation, please let me know. I am bound by law to keep confidentiality. I am talking about heart conditions, seizure disorders, bleeding disorders and respiratory conditions. I don’t want to see the mole on your back that you’ve been meaning to have checked. Finally, on the off chance that you have time to sit, bring your own chair. Do not sit in my chair!

True story. Last year someone asked me if I had a pair of toenail clippers they could use to pop a blister. So this year I will be prepared with my personal toenail clippers. The ones I cut my toenails with.

I look forward to meeting you all, especially those that I have identified as potential patients.

~ Laura

Posted On: 04/05/2015

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