There’s enough Vaseline on my body that I bead up in in the shower. I should know; I’ve showered twice already. And I still smell vaguely of menthol (psst…it’s VapoRub). But, since I spent last night more or less doing this:
I can honestly say that I’m glad to be slightly greasy instead of laid up in bed and weepy.
As I mentioned, I don’t know, seventy billion times, my plan for months has been to run the St. Luke’s Half Marathon in Allentown. It’s been, like, super important to me. But, as I also might have mentioned, I have strange luck.
So, of course, the whole “run a half marathon on May 1” thing had to go off with a few hitches.
Faithful readers will remember that I went on a cold weather running bonanza, jumped over a few snowbanks, landed on some ice, and made my hamstrings angry. You may also remember that I only fully got the message that I should take it easy after I fell face-first into a stranger’s hedges.
But you might also remember that while the discomfort persisted, I decided to be careful not to reignite or develop new injuries. It was a moment of great restraint and a demonstration of my ability to make adult running decisions. Or, it might have been a moment where my mom* gave me surprisingly accurate sports advice and I listened.
I mean, when one has a history of sidelining hip injuries, that should be the only thing one needs to worry about heading into an early May half marathon, right?
I feel there there are several seasons that go on too long. Like hockey and basketball. And cold and flu.
In doing my careful calculations about staying healthy, I never factored in actually staying healthy.
Friday, during an excellent blacktop wiffleball game and open studio hours at the hot shop**, I chalked up the tickle in my throat to the fact that some people I know have seasonal allergies. I mean, I don’t really have them, but maybe I had sympathy allergies. That’s a thing, right?
Then, the fact that I couldn’t swallow without my body alerting me that it was engaging in an involuntary reflex woke me up at 5am on Saturday. But again, I could come up with excuses. Clearly, my bedroom needed better humidification. And I got up at 5 because, well, I sort of do that because I can’t always remember what day it is.
Once I figured out it was Saturday, I willed myself back to sleep because Saturday was (and is) the morning I get to sleep in. And when I woke up at 9, I was a little bit panicked, but that could have been because I get a little paranoid when I’m running a slight temperature.
In going back and forth with my parents, there were a number of conversations about my disappointment at not feeling well, the possibility that I might not be able to run the race, and the agreement that I needed to see a doctor on the off chance that I had something that I could medicate the crap out of.
But part of that required taking a strep test. And I hate strep tests.
So, first, I did some errands, both real and imagined.
In the world of real errands, I went to the race expo and picked up my packet, got my race bib, activated my timing chip, tried free samples of smoothies, bought a new pair of running gloves on clearance, purchased a really cute new running top on sale, and made a sizable donation of used running shoes.
Then, I decided to hit the Spring on Fourth chili cook-off. I could make up a few bullshit excuses about why I didn’t go to the doctor immediately, but here are the real reasons I made a longer-than-necessary detour on my way to an urgent care facility:
- It was really nice out and I wanted to be outside.
- I was getting really tired when I was driving and didn’t want to drive anymore.
- I wanted to have fun and not be sick. So, I thought if I pretended I wasn’t feeling like crap, I could will myself to be better.
My intentions were good, though, and I was all set to go to the doctor after a quick walk around. After all, I hadn’t showered or exactly taken care in dressing myself that morning. So, I really didn’t feel like being Princess Sloppy Dirtyhair for too long.
But all that tiredness I felt when I was driving around only got worse when I started walking. So, even though I excused myself to go to the doctor after a few samples of chili and some hellos, I only made it as far as the smoothie place before I realized I should get myself an icy beverage with an immunity boost, return to a location designed for sitting, and reassess. Also, did I mention the sun felt so nice?
Anyway, after a few hours of being outdoors (and a bit of a sunburn), I thought it might be best to finally seek that medical attention. But, because I hate those darn strep tests, I stalled until 4pm on a Saturday. In all my farting around, I had made my life a little difficult. And since I don’t have a smartphone, I nearly tossed my phone across the parking lot of the Banana Factory attempting to use its web browser to track down numbers of urgent care places.
Eventually, I made it in the door of the Airport Road EmergiCenter (which closes at 6pm on Saturdays) at 5:30. (Fun fact: I only visit the Airport Road EmergiCenter after Spring on Fourth. It’s becoming a tradition.) Last year, I thought I broke my foot. This year, I needed drugs, but not in the fun way.
To make an already long story a tiny bit shorter, my pre-race physical went well. Heart rate, blood pressure, and weight were all good. The dreaded strep test turned up negative. According to my very nice nurse, the way I white-knuckled the exam table and let him swab my throat proved my determination to run. Twenty minutes after I walked in, I walked out with a prescription for antibiotics and instructions to take DayQuil and gargle salt water.
And, after I drove to the other side of town to the 24-hour CVS I last visited during my mono emergency, I was all set to drug myself up. Which I did, right before I ate two bowls of spaghetti with red sauce.
I should now pause and mention that under the best of circumstances, I have trouble digesting red sauce.
Which brings us back to the beginning of things. And a more serious conversation with my mom about possibly not being able to run for real today. And some tears. And a lot of crossing of fingers.
And when I woke up from my sound sleep this morning***, I felt good. And ready. Not 100%. But, like 85%, which was good enough.
And later, after turning in a time of 2:06.07^, I came home and ate some cheese.
* That is probably the first — and only — sentence anyone will ever write that includes the words “my mom” and “sports advice” that doesn’t have the phrases “doesn’t know how to give,” “can’t believe there’s such a thing as,” “gives terrible,” “doesn’t believe people need,” or “is the most unlikely candidate to distribute” in between.
** It was an alarmingly busy Friday night. Usually, I’m nowhere near this awesome. But hang on, because this weekend’s events make me seem like I’m totally out and about.
*** Even more remarkable in light of the fact that the party my neighbors held directly under my bedroom window was just breaking up at 6am as I was making my breakfast.
^ That’s a Personal Record, or PR, if you know the lingo.