Friday, February 29, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
We were sitting in the bleachers and I looked down the line towards first base, where our son was headed. When he got there, I started to look back at home plate but caught a man down at the other end grinning at me, so I smiled back. He was wearing a hat that said something, but I couldn't make it out, so I smiled again and turned back to the game.
Well, in the course of your son's Little League game, you look towards first base quite a few times, and each time I did, this guy met my glance, and I looked at his hat, trying to make it out, and he grinned at me, and I smiled back because I'd been caught staring at him and his hat. This little scenario repeated itself every little while for the whole game, he smiled, I squinted at his hat, I smiled.
Eventually the game broke up and the bleachers started clearing out. The man with the hat came closer, and finally I was able to read what it said:
"Smile if you're not wearing panties."
Saturday, February 23, 2008
I'm still backtracking.
Monday, Feb. 18, the day after the marathon
I'm euphoric. Although my marathon didn't go as planned, I had a wonderful time. I've got a medal. I've got a new tech shirt. I've got a Texas marathon on my map. I showed up, I ran, I conquered!
I walked the last 9 miles because I'd been sick and I'd messed up my race strategy and my nutrition, but I'd trained for 4:15 and expected 4:30.... suppose I hadn't blown up? Suppose I hadn't been sick? Suppose I'd done it "right?" It was my last marathon and I'd hoped to go out in a blaze of glory.
Of course, a REAL blaze of glory would have been 4:15 and an entry into Boston. Which, of course, would have meant another marathon.
But..... suppose..... hey, I'm all trained up and then my training went out the window. Except it's still in me. Suppose I rest up and get over my illness, and in a month or so, go do another marathon, and get it right this time?
I start cruising the internet for possibilities.
Dang. Look at this: The Big D Texas Marathon. April 6. 7 weeks away. In Dallas. As it happens, we're going to be in Dallas that weekend for our nephew's wedding on April 5.
Dang, I could do this. It's only $75. I'm excited. I can take a no-running rest for 2 weeks, get over my illness, do just one more 20-miler 3 weeks before the race, and go for broke, as long as I don't drink too much at the wedding.
I don't even have to decide yet. You can register on race day, $85.
I get excited. I feel elated, high as a kite. I can do this!! I want to do this!!
My husband, who always, always, always supports my athletic training and events, who helps us afford new gear for me, who goes with me whenever he can, questions me. Why do another one now? Didn't I need a Texas marathon, and didn't I just run it? What's this about "doing it right?" Besides, we need 4 new truck tires, and $75 is one-third of a truck tire.
I crash to from the clouds to the ground. The parachute didn't open. Forget it.
Evening: I have gone to work at the daycare the day after my marathon, medal in my tote bag, pain in my quads, confusion in my heart. I want a "better" marathon. I use my hands all afternoon to support myself crouching down and getting up, picking up toddlers, sitting on the floor with them. I hurt. My throat is scratchy. My head aches. I am tired.
This is marathon aftermath. And do I really want, again, in less than 2 months, to struggle past mile 23, mile 24, mile 25, wanting to quit, struggling not to slow down, or maybe having, once again, crashed at mile 17 and been walking since then? Or scrabbling for a 4:30 when what I need for Boston is 4:15, and there is NO WAY I can run a 4:15 anytime soon???
I realize that thinking about this marathon in Dallas is buying into a mindset I normally resist: that the only "better" race is a "faster" race, and I don't buy that at all, and I discourage it in my friends. "Better" is more than "faster." "Better" is stronger, or more comfortable, or more fun, or more satisfying, or digging deeper to hang in there..... "faster" is not the only "better."
I ponder. Putting aside the notion of "faster," it would be hard to have a better marathon than I ran yesterday. I ran strong after a conservative start and put in a 10-miler that, as I said in my report, would have thrilled me had it been a 10-mile race. I had surmounted a lot of obstacles, including training minimized by work and then a bout of die-hard illness.
Here is what went down on Sunday: I ran a great 10-mile race, followed by a 10K cool-down, followed by a 9-mile Appalachian Trail Training Hike. I met a wonderful friend, I had a lot of fun, I cheered on my suffering compatriots, I petted dogs, I thrilled kids by taking candy from them, I got a medal and a shirt when shirts were hard to come by, I finished happy as a pig in a poke.
This marathon had a taste of everything I have loved in 20 years of marathoning.
Maybe I don't need to do Dallas. Because I really did go out in a blaze of glory.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Because I'm still not ready to ride my bike (legs and throat are sore), I'm still taking Steve to work and collecting him after I get off from my own job. It makes a very long day for both of us. Monday, the day after the marathon, I had a scratchy throat again, which became a very painful *sore* throat Tuesday and yesterday. It's about 50% better at most today; this is Day 3 of a sore throat and it's recommended that you see a doctor for a sore throat that lasts 3 days.
When Steve and I left for his job this morning, there was an injured coyote lying in our driveway. It got up and hobbled off to the side of the driveway at our approach, lying down again just a few feet from the driveway. When I got back over an hour later, it had moved away few yards through a fence into an adjacent field, off this property. I called Animal Control to report an injured animal and they said they'd be out.
Then I took our cat, Annie, to the vet, for her first illness in the 14 years of her life. Some kind of respiratory infection. When we put her on the scale it wiggled and she jumped off and grabbed onto the inside my lip. I had to unhook her claw like a fishhook and got a laceration about half an inch long. The vet gave Annie some amoxicillin and I took her home.
The coyote was dead. The groundsworker here had told the landowner that Animal Control was on the way, and the landowner went out and shot it.
Since my throat was still sore AND I now had a cat-claw laceration through a mucous membrane (cat claws dig in cat-poo, ick) at a time that I'm in a generally run-down condition from being sick 2 weeks, running a marathon half-sick, and have a new sore throat, I trekked over to the urgent-care center for the third time in two weeks and was given a new antibiotic. I got the same doctor, who recognized me as the one with the worst case of conjunctivitis she'd ever seen in all her practice. Thanks. She asked how my marathon went. Thanks! I told her I'd run half-sick and she said, "Well, at least you finished." Good answer!!! She gave me a new antibiotic for my throat and my cat-scratch.
Then off to work, where one of my 19-month-olds had a febrile seizure. I'm a nurse, a seizure doesn't freak me out, but it was definitely a departure from normal at the daycare center.
What a wild day. Injured coyote, trip to vet, dirty cat injury, dead coyote, doctor visit, kid with a seizure.
Postscript: Today, Friday, Feb. 22. I'm better, rode my bike to work, taking it easy in the low gears. Annie's respiratory infection is better but she's started limping badly on her left hind leg (like the coyote?) so I'll probably take her back to the vet tomorrow. We haven't heard how the little girl with the seizure is doing. Usually the way it goes is, temp starts going up, seizure starts, seizure stops, kid proceeds normally with the rest of her ear infection or whatever it is. I hope she's OK, and she probably is.
The coyote still lies where he fell in the field. He'd gone through a fence and is technically on the neighboring property so no one from here has moved him and the neighbor, ironically a vet, probably doesn't realize he's there. I guess the buzzards will have to take care of him.
Life is weird.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Photo by Ellie Hamilton around Mile 24
I wrestle with this all the way to the race.
At 2 hours I'm hurting. Hips, quads, neck, shoulders. I pop 2 X-Strength Excedrin.
I'm thinking the 4:45 group is still behind me, though, until the 5:00 group catches up to me right before mile 15. I tell them they've got a new group member and they welcome me. Approaching the mile marker, they tell anyone who wants to, to go ahead, because they're in a competition to see which pace-group leaders can come the closest to hitting the splits right on the head, and they need to slow down a couple seconds to hit it. It feels very comfortable running with them. I'm happy.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Saturday, February 16
After having had bronchitis (etc.) for 10 days, feeling better (and running) Wednesday and Thursday, on Friday I felt like I was getting sick again,and on Saturday I was worse, with a headache and scratchy throat and just feeling sick all over. Got up early, though, to feed the creepy critters (45-minute project) and be ready to drive Steve to work, which I had to do in order to keep the truck to go to packet pick-up.
TriSkatemom and I had plans to meet for dinner, and I was dying to meet her finally, after previous near-misses.
So I drove Steve 45 minutes to work, then drove back to Austin and picked up my number and race packet. I called Skatemom and we decided, instead of dinner, on a relaxing, sleep-inducing pre-marathon soak in her hotel's hot-tub. I can't tell you how good this sounded to me, since I live in an RV with no bathtub, and was currently aching all over. I wandered slowly around the expo looking at stuff I either didn't want, or wanted but couldn't afford, and feeling worse and worse: tired, thirsty, headachey, sandbags for lungs, sandpaper for eyelids, and finally thought, there is no reason for me to be here, and I went home.
I figured that my only hope for even considering running was to go to bed and stay there. I knocked on our neighbor's door and asked if she could do me the tremendous favor of taking over the afternoon feeding of the creepy critters. I even called Skatemom and cancelled our hot-tub plans. I mean, I felt THAT bad. And I went to bed.
I had to be up again at 4p.m. to go pick up my husband, and I wanted to hit the sack at 6 when we got back, but I hadn't packed my race stuff yet. And then I got the runs along with my other symptoms. I was tempted to just say, "I'm not packing, I'm skipping it, I'm sick." But I took some Imodium and Tylenol and vitamin C and thought I might make one of those miraculous recoveries, so I continued to go through the motions, behaving as though I were running the next day, just in case. Pinned my number to my shirt, tied my chip to my shoe, packed my gels in my hip pack, wrote my name on my pre-race garbage-bag warmups (so Skatemom and I could find each other), did everything as though I expected to run, even including shaving my legs for the occasion....even though I was 60% sure I wasn't running.
In bed finally at 8:30, loaded up with medicine for cough, cold, pain, and sleep, I debated whether to bother setting an alarm clock, or just forgetting the whole deal. I set two alarms, and fell asleep feeling like crap.
Friday, February 15, 2008
Tomorrow I get to meet up with Skatemom! This is Blogger Weekend in Austin!!
Tomorrow is packet pickup and it could be tricky. BAD WEATHER expected, not the best day to be driving anywhere. See this mess?
The pink is a winter storm moving east; warm moist wind is coming up into the tan section in Texas, where at present there's a "Hazardous Weather Outlook." Strong-to-severe thunderstorms with possible tornadic activity. I'm looking at the hour-by-hour forecast trying to figure out when to slip into town, grab my packet, and scoot back home. Guess I'll skip the expo. I was really looking forward to it but might as well save my money and my energy and get back home before storms start (about 11a.m.) The Weather Channel is calling it "potentially the most dangerous February day in Texas history." Great.
Sunday, however, marathon weather will be practically a dream.
7:00a.m. start -- 48*F, clear
12:00 -- 61*, sunny
Wind -- NW at 10-15mph, the only possible kink. However, the loop course goes more or less north for the first half, and more or less southeast with a net elevation drop the second half, so negative splits are possible.
WE SHALL SEE!!!
Saturday, February 09, 2008
This time I've got something that ain't no plain ol' cold.
I felt unmotivated on Sunday but that's not unusual. Skipped my planned 12-15-mile run. Monday started a progression of increasing fatigue, achiness, sore throat, headache and cough. Called off work Wednesday thru Friday, on which morning I woke up with blood-red goopy eyes as well. Like, gross. So now I'm on a week of Augmentin and a week of quinolone-antibiotic eyedrops. The quinolones include Cipro which is sometimes associated with tendonitis and Achilles tendon rupture, but the doctor assured me that the drops would have only local effect and would not rupture my tendons just in time for the Austin Marathon next weekend. I can't wear my contacts for a week and have to pitch all my eye makeup and start over.
My marathon is in danger. I have not run all week. I did not run all of last week, either, recovering 2 days from my 20.2-miler and then crediting my 3 bike commutes as runs. And I sure as hell am not going to be running the coming week. So by marathon day I won't have run for 3 weeks.
It could go one of several ways:
- I won't be well enough to run it and the whole deal's off.
- I'll give it a shot and have my first-ever DNF.
- I'll finish struggling and slow and be glad it's my last marathon.
- The enforced rest will solidify my training and I'll run a blistering last marathon and go out in a blaze of glory.
This is not impossible. It's happened to me before. Illness or injury has sabotaged my last 2 weeks or month of training and then I've run an amazing marathon.
So till then I'm going to eat very well, hydrate very well, rest and sleep as much as I can, and hope for the best.
I'm glad the marathon's not tomorrow.