My Marathon Disasters – Chapter Three
February 8, 2012
You would think that cracked ribs was enough to make training for the Detroit Marathon tough enough. But no, that wouldn’t be nearly exciting enough. You would also think that with all the calamities I would have had a bad race, but as I mentioned in my previous posting, I actually PR’ed . It just goes to show you that training is way overrated. But I jest.
OK, so what could have been worse than cracking some ribs?
The Yoshi Run
Not to be too redundant, but training was going well for Detroit. With the October race date, we had the unfortunate task of training through summer. Fortunately I had my Running With Rage group to hold me accountable to waking up at ungodly early hours to get the long runs in every Saturday. Our goal was pretty simple: try and finish by 7. For those of you not lucky enough to run in the desert during the summer, it simply never cools off. Sometimes the lows remain in the 90s, but usually we enjoy a low of around 87. If we finished by 7 AM not only did we usually escape the triple digits, but also the sun wasn’t too oppressive yet. I emphasize the too in too oppressive because anyone you slice it, it plain sucked.
So what to do? Well out solution was to keep pushing our start time earlier and earlier until eventually we were meeting around 3:30 in the morning. Or is that 3:30 in the night? This was sorta fine as one benefit was was crawling back into bed before the rest of the house had even woken.
While Jeff and I were sweating out our first 20 miler we had a brilliant epiphany. Come on, is there really any other kind?
We thought what if instead of waking up really early and trying to beat the sun, we should wait for the sun to go down and enjoy a nice run while others are going to sleep not waking up. As we worked on the details of our plan the final miles of our run gracefully disappeared. We had out-thought the weather. Mother Nature didn’t stand a chance against our brain trust.
The plan was to meet at 9 PM at Mummy Mountain. Sure the temperature would still be up there but the sun would have set and moon beams are far more gentle than the sun’s repressive rays. The challenge of running at night is you have all day to prepare. However my usual pre-run strategy was to roll out of bed, brush my teeth, grab a couple of Pop Tarts and drive to the meeting spot in a semi-conscious state. I decided to just be lazy all day. I would of course still take a nap. I bought a couple of bottles of Gatorade and that was about it. Around 6:30 I decided it was time to eat dinner and opted for a nice mixture of carbs and protein, a teriyaki chicken bowl at Yoshi’s. A little heavier than my usual Pop Tarts but probably more appropriate.
Mother Nature also decided she wasn’t so keen on being outsmarted, so her pride decided to throw a 116 degree day at us, meaning it only cooled to 110 when we converged into the parking lot at Scottsdale and Lincoln. No biggie as we didn’t have the nasty sun to deal with. I poured one bottle of my fruit punch Gatorade into my Camelback. Good choice of flavor for tonight’s run.
We flicked on our Garmins and off we went. Two laps around Mummy Mountain lay ahead. Running down McDonald on the back of Camelback Mountain we were surprised the heat seemed to be oddly mixed with high humidity. No problem because it only took two miles until we would break free of the backside of Camelback.
I felt like crap and thought some delicious Gatorade would help. So I drank some. Then I drank some more. However it wasn’t working. I was burning up and my stomach started to rumble. Jeff had his usual break at the tennis courts around mile 3 and I was hoping to quickly recover. Didn’t happen. Somewhere around mile 5 I started officially started Yoshi’s Run.
I threw up what I assumed was an entire large chicken teriyaki bowl. I then felt surprisingly good. Then I regurgitated. Ran. Vomited. Ran. Hurled. Ran. Heaved. Ran. Expectorated. Ran. If I could come up with 7 more words for puke I could accurately describe the first loop. All in all I threw up 13 times before we completed the first 10 miles. Fortunately I chose a flavor of Gatorade that actually tasted almost as good heading north as it did going south.
On our halfway break I refilled my Camelback and begrudgingly started out again for the second loop. After another five hurls I resigned and took a shortcut back to the parking lot, calling it quits after 13.
No big deal, it wasn’t the end of the world, I still had another 20 mile run in my schedule. It couldn’t be worse could it? I mean, come on, what was I going to do, slip in the shower and crack some ribs?
I have to hand it to Jeff, despite the complete and utter disgustingness of our final 8 miles, he hung in there with me trying to believe that I eventually had to stop throwing up. A friend in need is a friend indeed.
We learned two things that night. The first, you really can’t outsmart Mother Nature. Secondly, all epiphanies actually are not brilliant.