Saturday, January 20, 2007

Don't be a Baby

I woke up this morning when Finn groused at 5:30 and thought to myself, "I want to go for a run". This hasn't happened since Sunday, even though I ran on Monday and stumbled through 4 miles on Thursday. Since taking ill Monday night I've woken up most days feeling like I'm buried beneath a pile of concrete blocks and construction rubble. Just getting out of bed has been a chore, and while the worst bits of the sickness eased after a few days, the gastrointestinal system just has not been cooperating while I've tried to resume normal work hours.

But like I said, today was different and for that I am thankful. Yesterday's rain left behind cool temperatures, big puddles, and a low banding of clouds that swallowed the Santa Catalina mountains that contain Sabino Canyon. I followed most of my Slow Down loop at a relaxed pace and enjoyed the eerie quiet that finds the desert the morning after a storm. The condensation hanging on the cacti and succulents combined with the recent freeze damage muted the usually shocking deep winter greens to a minty hue, and the reflected greys and blues from the clouds in the many puddles along a trail in Sabino Canyon gave the desert a dulled silver hue. I found myself in the middle of all of this, loving every minute. Five cautious miles became six, and six became seven before I found myself back at the garage door.

On being sick: I am a big baby. Thank you dear readers for being kind and supportive instead of telling me this, but know I realize this now. If you end up stricken by a similar malady, here is what NOT TO DO-

1. Eat. Jeez, we eat a lot, or at least I do. By trying to force myself to eat before I was ready in an attempt to gain my strength back I just caused my body and digestive system more grief. I ended up losing about 5 pounds, but most of it was due to dehydration. Oh, this leads me to number two-

2. Stop taking on fluids. I simply never wanted to drink. I wasn't thirsty, and when I did drink I felt bloated and neauseas, so I ended up not drinking nearly enough. By the third day I was pretty seriously dehydrated, which I feel really takes an additional toll on an already taxed system. Just drink, even if you feel crummy doing it. If you throw up, hey, it's only water anyway so it's usually not so bad. Beats the dry heaves.

3. Pretend you're not sick. This one is pathetic and very Junior High, but the thought of missing two days of work stressed me out so much that I believed just sucking it up and going to work would help get me through it sooner. I showered, shaved, dressed, tried to eat, then spent two minutes leaning on the couch trying not to collapse after putting myself through that amount of effort. I then called in sick and slept for 5 straight hours.

2. Pick your shot (or announce your comeback). When I said "It's all downhill from here" a few days ago I was whistling past the graveyard. Comebacks or a return to form are like new jobs: get two good weeks and a paycheck in the books before opening your mouth. Note: A personal best at 10K equates to a paycheck for the purpose of this metaphor. 50K trail races work too.

4. Be a baby. By Fridy I was feeling quite sorry for myself, and I was pretty despondent about just about everything in a very selfish way. Then while on the computer I found this article linked on Let's Run with the words "If you read one thing this week this should be it" next to it. Next to a story like this, the woes of a runner sidelined by a virus for a few days and his crowing about all the suffering he's gone through makes him sound like...well, a big baby.

Don't worry, I still like babies, just not 35-year-old ones harboring an unreasonable fear that four days of sickness will eliminate two years of training. Here's what I should be worrying about: the stories I missed reading to our kids, the promised night at Chuck E. Cheese I had to postpone, and whether or not the snow will still be on the mountain when I'm well enough to take the kids to Mt. Lemmon. Life is bigger than running, but it's better with running. Whatever I've lost (if anything) I will get back and then some with time, training and intelligence.

Training: 7 miles, 49:21, 7:03 pace


Laurie said...

I'm glad to hear you are feeling better.

love2runcanada said...

Great article link, thanks Mike. Glad you're feeling better. Nose to the grindstone now...

Eric said...

You are a hell of a writer. This sentence is just gold:

Life is bigger than running, but it's better with running.

Nice post, and glad to hear you are feeling better.

Phil said...

This is most poetic post yet Mike. Happy to hear that you're feeling better. Even sick, you're out running most of us.

The Track & Field Superfan said...

Mike, thanks for the post on my blog and the offer to send me the info.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find your e-mail on your profile. Mine is

Thomas said...

Niamh would say you're not a baby, you're just a man.

Apparently we're all like that.