Races are usually tests of fitness. Or so the theory goes. On Saturday I will be testing my lack of fitness. I am running the inaugural Hollywood Half Marathon in LA. The race coincides nicely with Passover, so I thought I would spend some time with family over the holiday and sneak in a race while I was there. Ah, yes, the best laid plans…
My training since the Masters Cross Country championships in early February has been flimsy and haphazard. Upon my return from St. Louis, I had to take some time off due to a foot injury. When my foot healed, the pollen in Boulder exploded causing some breathing issues affecting my ability to run hard.
Then, just when I thought I had it all under control, I contracted the flu. This was no ordinary flu, and I think it deserves its own name. There are fancy flu viruses out there with ominous designations like H1N1, swine flu, avian flu. I am dubbing this particular flu the “mutant flu”. Most flu’s elevate your temperature for a little while. The mutant flu gave me a 103 degree temperature for 36 hours. This made my legs hurt so much I thought I had a muscle wasting disease! Then came a deep, painful cough. It was unrelenting, battering my ribs and wreaking havoc on my asthma. The sinus pressure was like a vice grip. The fatigue, unimaginable.
I sequestered myself in the house for days, looking out the window wistfully at the blue sky and listening to the squeals of laughter from the kids on spring break as they crossed the path behind our house. The Grinch in me hoped it would snow.
Every night, my optimistic self would say, “tomorrow I will be better and I will be able to get out and enjoy a nice run.” It was a lot of tomorrow’s before I could heed those words.
The mutant flu took down Mark as well. Misery loves company, unless the company is a sick male. Our days in the house together were no romantic interlude. At least we both survived without incident.
I am on the mend from the mutant flu, although not quite back to normal (whatever normal means). As long as my asthma is under control by Saturday, I will line up for the Hollywood Half. My race plans will be different than normal. I have to adjust my pacing in accordance with where I am now fitness-wise not where I was or where I want to be. It is the perfect opportunity to try a new race strategy and maybe even stop and smell the roses. All so I can collect what is being dubbed the coolest finisher’s medal ever.