Thursday, November 11, 2010

Slowing Down...for a minute.

No matter where I am or what I am doing, this time of year cannot pass, without me getting sick. I forget, until  that unrelenting dryness in the back of my throat reminds me that another year has passed and I am going to calm down for a few days, whether I want to or not.

I surrender to sickness. I don’t try to fight it or even really to suppress the symptoms. It seems futile. Clearly something wants out. So, despite how much it pains me, I resist the urge to do my normal thing…going full speed all day everyday. It isn’t really a challenge, for my normal routines aren’t even appealing right now. Coffee isn’t doing anything for me. Sugar has lost it’s sweetness. Running sounds disgusting. Brief urges to indulge these things are quickly forgotten as I feel my whole body ache.

Yesterday I watched three full movies. That is insane. I rarely ever commit myself to a movie. They are so long. This is what I’ve been reduced to.

I did mange to push this illness back a week. I spent last week in Ashland, Oregon, leading up to a race there and feeling it out in preparation for moving there this winter. A couple days before the race I could tell the sickness was upon me, so I took some homeopathic remedies and drank copious amounts of water as to not succumb before the race. It kind of worked. I was able to run the race, although definitely not feeling my strongest.

I ran the Lithia Loop Trail Marathon last Saturday.  Last summer, I ran the course, so knew what to expect. Knowing that the last 7ish miles were steep downhill (my favorite) and that I wasn’t 100%, I decided to take it especially easy on the first 8ish mile steady climb. I figured since I couldn’t be very competitive, I would at least save enough to really enjoy that 7 mile downhill.

And that I did. It was slightly difficult to resist the temptation to push it on the uphill as I got passed by hoards of people. I fought the urge and decided I would catch them all on the downhill. After mostly power-hiking the uphill interspersed with chatting, peeing, going back and forth with Kali, I reached the top and then settled into, what felt like a good steady pace for the 12ish flat, pleasant miles on a dirt road.

I decided to count the people I passed from the aide station that marked the end of the climb, as a way to entertain myself. I think I passed like 12 or 13 on the flat part. Then came the downhill. There was an aide station right before the plunge. I got some water did a little shake-out of my limbs, maybe even let out a little WOO HOO, then unloaded.

It was so fun. Effortless, really. Gravity is my friend. I flew down the first couple miles of dirt road, then had to reign it in a bit on the singletrack, as it was crowded and I had to negotiate passing people. I passed about 20 more people before reaching the finish line in 4 hours and 3 minutes. Clearly, I could have pushed it harder earlier in the race, but I think it was more enjoyable this way.

I jogged around and stretched as I waited for Kali to finish her longest race to date. She wasn’t far behind. We changed then headed in for the post-race festivities. The whole thing was really well done. It was really nice that all the miles were marked. The aide stations were plentiful. Good food/beer afterwards. Best t-shirt I have ever received in a race. All around good times.

Despite the fun of the race and couple of days that followed in Ashland, I knew I was on borrowed time. As I drove back out to our rural dwellings, the niceness wore off, and I was left with the reality of my condition. Yes, I am being dramatic. But, for an energy fiend, low energy equates with torture. As I realized years ago, I can’t get really high without getting really low. So, as I wallow in my sickness I can be assured that the high times are not far off. For now, I guess, I’ll watch another movie.