Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's the shoes!

When we last left our jogging to health hero, he was training his way to his first marathon in over 13 years.

By November and as we neared the holidays, I was humming along at about 35 miles per week, doing steady build weeks and resting as necessary. By this time, K who was due 12/04 with our second, A, had stopped coming with me to our personal training sessions at Timberline Fitness (awesome gym btw) which meant more and more of my exercise time was by myself. I was going a little stir crazy. So I looked around for a race to do. I was kind of aiming to do San Antonio, but it wasn't in the cards. We had to be in DTW the week of the S.A. race. But then I found the Seven Hills Huntsville Half Marathon. Having done a bike race a few years back, I knew this would be a good challenge. Probably hillier than I needed, but good practice nonetheless. So I signed up for it.

I get all concerned because my "training plan" called for a 16 miler on that day, and here I was "only" going to do 13.1. I reached out to some of my fitter buddies, Drew and Paul, wondering if this was advisable. BTW, this was the first time I came to realize, that despite indications to the contrary, common sense usually can help you decide what to do. In this case, shorting myself 3 miles probably wasn't a big deal since I was so maniacally following the plan otherwise.

Unfortunately, to get to this race, I'm going to have to get up at an absurd time to drive the 70 or so miles it takes to get to Huntsville. I prepare a bag the night before, leave my shoes out and handy because of course, I don't want to forget those, but I won't wear them since it's a long drive before the race. I figure I'll wear flip flops on the drive.

The morning of, I'm ready to go when I realize there are shower stalls available for a post race shower before I have to drive back, but I haven't packed a change of clothes. So after I've almost finished packing the car (not much, but not the shoes yet), I go and make a bag for a change of clothes for after the race.

As I'm racing back and forth, I get a vertigo attack (I haven't mentioned this yet, but I suffer from Meniere's Disease, a debilitating condition that strikes somewhat unpredictably) that almost makes me fall over as I'm rushing around in the morning. I can usually shake off lighter attacks, so I tried to do that with this one and headed out (probably not the smartest idea, but I was driven to do this race).

As I'm driving, I'm not feeling any better. I'm lucky there is zero traffic since I pretty much just had to stay in the right lane and keep my head against the window to avoid dizziness. About 50 miles out and 20 to go, I call up K and tell her I'm going to bail on the race, but I change my mind and see the exits for Huntsville. As I pull off at my exit, I look over to the passenger seat expecting to see my running shoes, and lo and behold, I remember, they were on the bench, next to the door to make sure I didn't forget them. D'oh!

So, 140 mile round trip for pretty much nothing. I get back in time to grab breakfast with the family and I decide, I'll just do my regular scheduled mileage. Of course, I don't leave enough time after breakfast and end up really feeling ill before I finish mile 8 of the 16 miler.

I've had better moments in my training days...but this teaches us to prepare better.

Next time, an actual race report!

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