If the 3M Half Marathon had a category for athletes running with a ruptured appendix, Kim Gutierrez would have won.
Gutierrez, 50, a member of the Austin Jeff Galloway Runners group, woke up at 1 a.m. the morning of the Jan. 25 race, writhing in pain. Instead of scratching from the event, though, she reported to the start line, determined to run. She was midway through the Austin Distance Challenge, after all. (Runners, please do not try this at home.)
“I really will not let anything stop me. I ran on a torn meniscus for 13 months before I got it fixed,” she says.
Gutierrez had an understandably miserable race, walking at every aid station but unable to get any water down. When she finished, in 2 hours and 1 minute, she suddenly found herself laid out on the ground with cramping calf muscles. Friends from her Austin Jeff Galloway Runners group arranged a ride home.
Doctors initially suspected she had a stomach virus, but when it didn’t clear up in a few days they did more tests and found that her appendix had ruptured. She was checked into a hospital. Now she’s on hold, taking antibiotics and waiting for the infection to clear up before they can remove the offending organ.
“The more I think about it, the more I realize just how lucky I am,” says the office manager for Neogenis. “My body has learned to protect itself; it knows how I abuse it.”
Gutierrez, who teaches fitness classes at the YMCA and competes in triathlons, has struggled with the forced time off. She had planned to cap off her Distance Challenge at the Austin Marathon this weekend.
“It’s killing me not to be able to do any of the stuff I normally do,” she says.
We’re just happy she’s here to complain about it.