I haven’t been on a run in a week. Not what I had planned; the plan was that I would do an easy round trip on the greenbelt today, feeling strong and having fun and reaffirming my readiness for Bandera.
My last long run was a success. I went out to Bastrop on Sunday, December 26, to run as much as I could in the amount of time I had (from 7:45 a.m.–4:30 p.m.), keeping in mind that I needed to run at pace where I’d finish and feel like I could run more. It was cold that morning — 27 degrees! I loved the first lap by myself; I’d opened my day up to anyone who wanted to come out and hit a loop, so I had no idea who’d actually show up and, when I was alone, I opted for the longer loop.
All the holiday food wrecked havoc with my GI system, so I was slowed by a couple of bathroom stops (note to self: quality food the week before Bandera needs to be a priority). When I got to my car, my friend Claire was waiting. Off we went, and I was reminded how much better (i.e., faster) I run with company and how much time is saved when there are no pit stops. We did my second big loop together.
By the time we got back, the day was warmer and I decided to change from tights to shorts. There was a significant break of almost 19 minutes while I changed, actually ate, made a phone call, reloaded supplies, etc. But no worries — I knew I’d be doing all this stuff in the course of the 100K (well, no phone call), so it was a practice in efficiency. Claire needed to skip on back to Austin, so I set off on a third long loop by myself.
I was pleased that, time-wise, that third loop was not much different from the first. My legs felt good. There was no foot pain; I had made a point to wear more supportive trail shoes after my discomfort the last time, when I wore my lightweight trail shoes. My nose, however, was a constant faucet. About two days after returning from Bandera, I had turned into a giant clot of snot, all of it allergy-related. The dust and cedar in the Hill Country State Natural Area had conspired to do a number on me. However, it was all clearly allergies, as I felt fine otherwise and had no energy issues, aches, fever, or any symptom…other than that stream of clear snot.
As I came in from the end of the third loop, I had to make a time-management decision: go for another long loop, putting my distance at or close to 40 miles for the day, or opt to do the short loop for about 38 miles (and modify even more to come in before 4:30 p.m.)? You see, my family was meeting me at the Roadhouse Diner for food at that time. I pondered this as I finished the last full loop and decided that, since it was cold and not exactly a pretty day, I wouldn’t make them wait. I went for the shortest final loop — though I did pick out the hilliest portion (the red loop), ran purple to the Roosevelt cutoff, and then took the orange trail back in. How long was that loop? I have no idea…about 3 miles?
I knew I’d run more than 30 miles but certainly no more than 35. And as a bonus, I was changed and ready for my family when they arrived at the Overlook parking lot. Best of all? I felt energetic and ready to run many more miles.
I’d planned to take Monday off. My younger daughter was returning to school on Wednesday, and we’d made plans to do some necessary shopping on Tuesday. As the day progressed, my face turned into a mass of pain. No doubt about it: sinus infection. Wednesday seemed a bit better, but I had no energy and bailed on coaching, thinking an early night would do the trick.
I was much better Thursday morning and headed off as planned to Nacogdoches, bookshelf and carpet cleaner in hand, to help my girl with her household projects. But by evening, I was exhausted, aching, and almost in tears…so I picked up and went to the medical clinic there in Nac. Wound up with a big shot in the butt and a prescription for steroids and antibiotics. In hind sight, I should’ve set up an appointment in Austin the minute I felt bad on Tuesday but the day got away from me.
So I’ve been recovering. Not a single run; I thought about going to the gym today but taking it easy just seemed the right thing. I’m still somewhat congested but there’s no pain, and I’ll follow up with my doc this week. The steroids are messing wtih my moods and my sleep, not exactly a positive in the week before a big goal race.
My biggest struggle with Bandera is not going to be whether or not I can run for 63 miles; I know I can. The struggle is going to be whether or not my immune system is going to let me. Between the food-dependent allergy-induced anaphalaxis and my environmental triggers (cedar and that choking dust out there), my system simply may not let me finish the day. And i have to be okay with that. And that’s where my pacers have a very important job — helping me monitor my physical symptoms and making that call on whether it’s safe to go on.
So, I’m relying on the miracle of modern medicine and hoping for the best. Bandera 100K in a week!