I wanted to get this 'out' of me before the start of June. Tomorrow is a new month. I am ready to start fresh. So here it is in all its whiny glory. If you don't want to read my sad story, move on. I am sure I'll be back to my normal happy positive self soon. I have until tomorrow :)
After training basically since January for my goal run on May 29th I feel robbed that I wasn't able to cash in on all that training with a race. I am working on letting it go, but I am super disappointed and pissed off. I know that I did absolutely everything within my power to get to the start line healthy and prepared- but circumstances were beyond my control. It is like the universe keeps shoving this lesson down my throat even though I feel like I've learned it. Here is my message to the universe...Eff off already!
Last week was a nightmare. Waking up sick as a dog on Monday I wanted to scream "NOOOOOOO"! But my throat was swollen and felt like it was full of razorblades so there was no screaming. With 5 days until the Blackfoot 80km I knew I was in a bad situation. I spent most of Monday sleeping with a fever that had me freezing one minute and sweating buckets the next. I was worried I had strep throat. The next day the coughing started (a sign that it was not Strep). I decided to do whatever I could to get better. I unleashed an array of alternative modalities- Oil of Oregano (5 drops 5 times a day- that stuff is NASTY!), various vitamins, 2 sessions of accupuncture, magic chinese tea and cough syrup, infared sauna sessions, saline nasal flushes, super powered smoothies and lots of sleep. While I felt somewhat better everyday, I was still not well. I would take H-dog for a 3km walk and be so exhauseted at the end I would need to lie down. D told me I should pull the plug on the race. But I couldn't.
Despite knowing I was not near 100%, I still wanted to toe the line at Blackfoot. I knew if I stayed home I would be even more depressed about missing out on the race I'd trained so hard for.
We headed to Edmonton Friday afternoon, and while my energy was starting to return, I was still full of congestion and coughing my head off. But still, I thought that maybe, by some miracle, I would feel better once I started running. Oh the power of desire (and denial)! haha!
I hadn't actually run a step since Saturday, when I had pulled the plug at 3miles because I was feeling so off (this was the first sign of things to come). I was pretty tight from a week of laying around and had a painful massage Thursday to try to work out the kinks, but I had no idea how things would go. I was hoping for the best though.
Saturday night I slept very little. I had decided to bite the proverbial bullet and take some drugs. I took 2 tylenol cold pm caps, primarily because they had a cough suppresant and I wanted a night off coughing. Unfortunately it didn't work and I think one of the other medications in it actually kept me awake...live and learn.
We were up at 5am, had breakfast and hit the road. We started off on a bad note when we realized we didn't have the map. We had a general idea of where we were going, but unfortunately with a 6:30am race start we didn't have any room for error. And error we did. Several wrong turns later, we finally arrived at the race site. At 6:43. Every racer's nightmare come true. I asked if I could still run and the race director just laughed and said - yes. I asked if my start time would be 6:30 and he laughed again and said yes! But don't worry, Jack Cook was 25mins late one year. I had no idea what he meant or who Jack Cook was but I was pretty sure he was saying it to make me feel better. I took off to use the washroom and then started my run. The 80km starts with a 5km out and back and then is 3 loops of a 25km course.
It was really weird being the only runner out there. And knowing I was dead last. I felt pretty good running and the course was beautiful. About 1.5km in I started to see people on the return of the loop and at 2.5 I hit the turn around. The sweeper bike was with me :) At this point the weather was a cool 6 degrees with a very light rain. I felt perfectly dressed in my 3/4 length tights, bike jersey and thin sugoi jacket. I had my mountain biking gloves on more for the snot factor than warmth at this point.
And snot there was... I won't go into any more detail, but it was a blessing to have no one around me as I hawked, blew, and wiped the steady stream of mucous.
I made it back to the start line to finish the 5km and start my first loop. I did the first 5km in 28mins which was faster than I was planning to run, but I felt fine. Soon after I started to catch up with people and within the first couple of kms I had passed about 6. I knew that every km out there was a gift for me so I was just enjoying the run, the fun of reeling people in and the fact I was there.
After the first hour it had started to rain a bit more and the wind was picking up. I was still warm enough but shortly after the skies really opened up and it began to pour. My jacket was soon plastered to my body, soaked through, and my fingers were freezing inside my soaking wet gloves. The temp was also dropping (it was 2 degrees by this time) and I was starting to feel pain in my left hip and knee.
The terrain had also changed from a grassy trail to a dirt road which by this point was a greasy, muddy mess. I chose to run just off the road in some long grass which was easier to keep my footing, but my shoes were soon full of water.
At about 20km I started to go downhill. I was freezing, soaked to the bone and everything was cramping up- fingers, toes, legs... and the aforementioned mucous that I was coughing up was now mixed with blood. I knew at this point I was probably done for the day. I came into the last aid station and D and H-dog were there. I told D that I was pulling the plug at the end of the loop. He had the Jeep there and told me I could stop now, but I really wanted to finish the loop.
I took off for the last 5km, thinking I could handle anything for 30mins. I had been running 2hrs 28 but the last 5km were by far harder than the 25 previous combined. My left IT band seized up and my hip and knee were in serious pain. I had to take walk breaks and the more I walked the colder I became. Just in case I had doubted my decision to pull out my calves seized up too. I was hobbling/ walking the rest of the way in, finishing the last 5km in 40 ugly minutes. So my day ended at 30km, 3hrs08 mins. I went straight to the truck and was shivering so bad D had to take my shoes and socks off. He had the heat blasting and the seat warmers on but was was shaking like crazy. I finally got all the wet clothes off and some dry ones on and I started to warm up. I was coughing my head off and felt horrible. I just wanted to have a hot shower and go home. So we checked out and headed back to GP.
I have no regrets about pulling out when I did, it was hardly even a choice for me at that point. But I was (and am) really bummed that I didn't get to take on the goal that I had been working towards for so long. The disappointment of that still stings. I want to give it another go next year for sure. It was a beautiful course and the organizers, volunteers and participants were fantastic.
So that is that. Time to move on. This weekend is the Banff- Jasper relay, I am running the only leg rated "very difficult"- a 15km climb out of Columbia Icefields. I am also registered for the Hinton Duathlon the next day, so for the love of all things fair and reasonable I NEED TO BE HEALTHY!
June, I am looking forward to you... to training, running, enjoying life and being well. Bring it on.
PS (I stole this title from Mr Simon Whitfield. He used it twice. I am hoping for an opportunity to use it again the way he did.)