Thursday, March 17, 2011

Triple Whammy.

It is a beautiful (St. Patrick's) day today.  60 degrees and sunny.  As most who run with me know, I much prefer to run in warm weather than cold weather.  I'd gladly take a humid, 85-degree day over anything below 20 degrees.  It is the one way in which I am completely the opposite of my father.  So it's just now beginning to be my kind of running weather.

13 miles were on the schedule.  Actually, a double run of 7 in the morning and 6 in the evening is what was scheduled way back in November when Tim created my training plan.  However, as I began to struggle with what we didn't know at the time was MPS, we found that I was better off running all those miles at once from the standpoint of my abdominal pain.  When I would break the run in two, the second run was always substantially more painful.  So I've just gotten in the habit of doing one longer run on Thursdays.

If you've been reading here lately, you know that I've had a couple of really good runs.  Sunday was great--20 miles of very manageable pain.  Tuesday was even better, and I even did a tempo.  I was hopeful that today would follow that same trend.  I decided I'd run out in the county, which is really hilly.  But it's a beautiful day and a beautiful course.  Tim told me I should take some water, but I absolutely hate carrying it, and so I decided not to.  That, my friends, was a mistake.

I knew my legs still hadn't recovered from Sunday and Tuesday, so I was planning to go very, very slowly.  As soon as I headed out toward I Street, I knew it was going to be a long day.  My quads ached.  My legs felt like they weighed 100 pounds each.  With each step, it was like a rod was being driven into my thighs.  If you run, you know that feeling.  It's kind of a bad sign to have that as soon as you start running.  Then, a half mile in, my right-sided pain was very noticeable.  Within a mile, it was on both sides.  Great.  I tried to ignore it.  But I couldn't.  I wanted to stop.  My legs hurt, my sides were killing me, and I was pissed.   I really wanted to stop.

But I didn't.  I reverted back to survival mode.  It's hard for me to admit how deeply I had to dig to finish this run.  Not only were my legs trashed and my sides really hurting, but I started to get extremely thirsty.  By 6 miles, I was in great need of water.  I was actually overheating.  I played with the notion that surely Tim would drive out and bring me some water, as he undoubtedly knew how badly I must need it.  After all, he had warned me how careless it was to go without anything to drink.  Every time I heard a car up, I'd hope it was him.  He has brought me water many times, but not today (and he had a very good excuse--he was working!).  I've just been so spoiled, and I was so thirsty.  I began to look for people out on their porches.  I was ready to beg for a sip out of their garden hoses.  But I didn't see a single person.

By about 7.5 miles, I was in pretty pitiful shape.  My quads were throbbing, I had stabbing pains in both sides, and I would have paid an absurd amount of money for a bottle of water.  I had to start talking myself into finishing the next half mile.  "Go a half mile, then you can stop and rest."  I actually only stopped once, at the 9 mile mark, to use the bathroom.  But I played mind games the whole time.  I ascended Slaughter House Hill at a speed so glacial I'm not sure it could even be considered running.  I didn't walk, mind you, but no matter what I did I could just hardly move.  I continued to picture Tim driving up with an ice-cold Gatorade.  Didn't happen.

By 11 miles, I was honestly in trouble.  I was dehydrated, and I wondered if I'd have to walk home.  My abdominal pain continued to get worse.  I was being bombarded with unpleasant sensations:  extreme thirst, sharp abdominal/back pain, and throbbing/extremely fatigued quads.  But I kept running.  To my surprise, my pace was decent (8:20ish average, though I slowed down drastically over the last three miles), but it felt like I was going through sludge.

Finally, I was almost home.  I saw Tim standing on the porch holding a Gatorade.  What a tease! But I still had to run around the block to get 13.  Scarcely have I been so glad to stop running as I was when my Garmin beeped 13.  I hobbled to the front porch and gulped down the Gatorade.  Then I had to break it to Tim what an awful run I had.  I wasn't at all concerned about the quad issues or the thirst--those are expected, transient, and partially due to my own stupidity.  But the MPS pain was back and much worse.  I was so frustrated.  I sat on the steps and cried.  As I did so, I was simultaneously aware of the weather--the sun shining on my face and the breeze in my hair.  This is my weather.  And look at me--sitting on my porch...a broken runner.

Tim tried his best to comfort me--but what can even be said at this point?  I wish we could have sat there and laughed at what an idiot I was for not taking water, or made fun of the way I had to climb the porch steps sideways because my legs are so sore.  But, the truth is, I (and, to be fair, we...because Tim and I are so close) am still in limbo.  I had just been talking to Tim about racing an upcoming 15K.  We were trying to figure out what pace I should target.  And this run was a big reminder that I can't even consider racing yet.  I want to more than anything, but I'm just not there yet.  I could in no way race through this pain.

So what happened?  Why was Sunday so good, Tuesday even better, and now this?  I don't know.  I thought the cortisone had kicked in.  I did see Dr. Russell yesterday and had a treatment, but nothing I haven't had before.  My condition is complex, and it's clearly resistant to treatment.  I told Tim (during my break down on the porch), "They've just got to help me.  Why won't they help me?"  Even though I know I have a lot of people who want to help me, when I have a run like that, I feel abandoned.  I feel like I want to scream.  I feel, right now, like I want to give up. 

I have to survive three more runs before I see Dr. L next week for more injections.  I honestly feel like, at this point, we need to pull out all the stops.  Whatever can be done for me...please do it.  Until then, I rely on the following:

"When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing, or situation--some fact of my life--unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.  Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God's world by mistake."

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