Survival

Hey gang, I apologize for going MIA.  Allow me to run down the events of the last week and a half or so.

Last Tuesday – Summer Track Series

Clayton (outside lane) and I battle it out at the Summer Track Series (photo courtesy of Jamaar Valentine)

My 3rd week at the Summer Track Series went very much like the first 2.  I felt great in the 1600, although the details 9 days later are a bit fuzzy.  I just remember feeling so much better than I did in the same event the previous week.  And my time reflected that, a 5:29 compared to a 5:44 a week earlier.

Alas, the 3200 didn’t go quite so smoothly.  Prior to the race, I was joking around with Paul when I told him, “No way you’re lapping me today!  I will sprint my guts out to beat you to the line!”  Paul just laughed and I added, “It is not happening!”  I knew he was coasting today, content to make the 3200 finals.  I was shooting to break 12:00.  It would be close.

I could tell from the get-go it was going to be tough to maintain 6-flat pace.  There was no Chad around to pull me through tonight.  Gradually,  I started falling off pace.

By the 7th lap, I had fallen off to about 6:05 pace and struggled to hang on to that.  And here came Paul.  I sped up but still got out of his way.  He flew past and I tried to go with him.  Surprise, it turns out that 5:05 pace is a lot faster than 6:05 pace and if I thought it was difficult to sustain 6:05, I quickly found out that it was impossible to match 5:05.  I could only watch as Paul pulled away.  I ultimately finished in 12:10.  But hey, I’ll take it.

After the meet, I met Aaron and Matt out for $1 tacos at Loco Lime.  I laughed, thinking he was joking, when Aaron told the waitress, “I’ll start out with 5…”  But he wasn’t.  Apparently his body was still trying to catch up on calories after running a 2:41 in the Grandma’s Marathon on Saturday, only 3 days earlier.  He destroyed those 5 and ordered more.  And Matt put his fair share away too.  Somewhere Billy was smiling.

Friday

Friday afternoon, I met Nathan at the Davidson cross-country trails.  The first bad omen occurred when I grabbed a bottle of bug repellent (horse flies reign supreme at Davidson) and the nozzle broke without one droplet of bug spray landing on me.  Things only got worse from there.

I felt like death for the duration of our run.  At one point I turned to Nathan and asked, “Did you bring your cellphone?” and he responded, “No.  Why?”  “So if I have a heart attack, you can call 911.”  I was only half joking.  I felt bad, very bad.

I struggled through 6 miles and was oh so very grateful when we finished.  Nathan asked me if I was okay and I again only half jokingly answered, “No.”  “You’re scaring me” he said and I quickly responded, “I’m scaring me!”  I really did feel like hell.  I was a little worried about the next day’s Birkdale Upgrade 5K.

Saturday – Birkdale Upgrade 5K

Friday night, I didn’t sleep a wink.  I tossed and turned all night.  Saturday morning, when the alarm finally sounded, I felt horrible.  I don’t think I slept 5 minutes all night.  I slowly got dressed and headed to Birkdale.

Meagan Hovis and Kelly Fillnow were as chipper as ever as I paid my entry fee and handed them my registration form.  I tried to smile and be friendly back but I was not feeling well.  At all.  I kept waiting for this bad feeling to pass.  But it didn’t.

Nathan and Ben were chatting in the parking lot.  I joined them.  Mike Beigay, with daughter cheerfully hanging out in the stroller, rolled up.  We all headed out to jog the course for our warm-up.

Bad is an inadequate adjective to describe how I felt. On-the-verge-of-dying-any-second feels about right.  Nathan, Ben, and Mike casually chatted while I struggled to run with them, even at a very pedestrian 8:30 pace.  I broke into a chilly sweat early, way too early.  But I’ve had many runs where I felt bad early.  “Shake it off”, I kept telling myself, “It’ll get better any second now.”  It never did.

It’s a really bad sign to get dropped in a warm-up, but that’s what happened.  By the time we made it back to the parking lot, I was done.  I knew there would be no race for me on this morning.

I walked to my car and took off my sweat-drenched singlet.  I toweled off and put on a t-shirt.  I saw Jamaar and noticed that he had no bib on.  I offered him mine as he looked like he really wanted to be racing.  He graciously accepted.  I was grateful to be sitting this one out.

I'm glad Bill and Jamaar are so fresh and wonderful feeling because I feel like death.

I chatted with Bill (Waterson), Théoden, Sarah, Jason Blackwood, and others.  I watched Jamaar’s (or is it Christi’s?) dog while he ran.  I joked with Jamaar that he had better run a respectable time since he was running as me.

Ben, as expected, destroyed everybody.  Nathan had a strong showing, finishing second and breaking 17 for the first time.  Mike, even with the stroller, was right on Nathan’s heels.  Normally, I would be chomping at the bit to be out there.  On this day, I was grateful to not be.  All I could think about was getting home and climbing in bed.

After Bill finished, we talked about his race for a few minutes.  By this point, I knew I had some sickness coming on.  Even though it was 80 degrees out, I was starting to shake with chills.  I headed home, showered, and jumped in the bed, where I basically remained until Monday when I could get to the doctor’s office.

The doctor hooked me up with a Z-pack and I’ve been gradually getting better.  But I haven’t run a step since Saturday and I’m worried this sickness may have derailed any hopes of a strong performance Monday at Peachtree.  Or maybe I have fresh legs and will surprise myself.  I’ll let you know how it went in the next installment.

Until then, run well, run often, and, of course, run fast.  I’ll see you somewhere along the road to Boston.

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