Saturday, May 26, 2007

If Salvador Dali Ran the Second Circle of Hell

On Wednesday I ran a pretty good 10K up to Prospect Point and back down in Stanley park, measuring 10.2K on my Polar in just over 47 minutes. Usually we take a water break for two or three minutes at the top (it's a 600 foot ascent), but i slurped and scooted.

Had a lovely slice of pizza, or two, or three (I confess I have let my weight get back up to 194) - the best pizza in Vancoucouver at the Flying Wedge - even if you were counting the Top Ten in Vancouver, Patrick and Justin - and a nice long chat afterwards with Seymour and two more brand new running buddies I've gained over the course of the last marathon clinic.

Actually I'm amazed that Rob and Kevin still talk to me, at least socially. I immediately recognized them as a couple of superior athletes right off the bat five months ago. I might not be able to run a lick myself, but I do know talent. And!, they're in the SAME peer group as me (guys over forty) - thank Gawd someone my own age to run with! - and just as or even faster. Kevin needs a 3:20 to qualify for Boston and he lost about twenty pounds over the course of the clinic and ran a beautiful, superbly strategized 3:29. He'll do it no problem in his second marathon, conditions and marathon Gods willing. I felt like a proud older brother. Had to, these guys are too old to play my children! Rob, same vintage as me, needs a 3:30 and ran a 3:36 in his very first marathon...

Even these guys would be the first to admit they were and are hard-chargers. You have to love marathoners, but in the same breath, admit they can drive you a little crazy... I prefaced EVERY word of advice I gave them over four months by say, "I did the same thing myself once and this is what happened..." Stress, recovery, stress, recovery. recovery, recovery, recovery....

Don't credit too much of their success to me, these guys were smart enough to read some of the information I sent them and actually listened to what I said in technical terms. I am willing to bet all comers that if the weather and conditions hold, these guys will be in Boston next year.

Anyways, a lovely dinner that was running related that is my long-winded way of getting to two days of Hell...

But I have not even mentioned that I think I have two potential sub-three guys, and one who at 24 might even in a few years be good enough to do a 2:45 - or better. Shoulda been a coach...

After suffering through chemo-therapy for skin cancer last year I have been wearing 60 Sunblock, hats and keeping out of the direct mid-day sun if I can. I volunteered to help a friend on his farm Thursday. To put in fence-posts and gates after he had been robbed. Required operating a huge powered auger. That's the thing that makes holes in the ground...

Went out to Tom's farm. NOTE: Woke up with a slight sore throat. Despite 60 sunblock and the hat and being covered up head to toe - by three in the afternoon thought I might be suffering heat stroke. Was light-headed and nauseous and had a splitting headache. Had to lie down and soak my head in wet towels. I've had it - heat stroke - before and that makes you more susceptible to getting it again. An hour later I felt well enough to help Tom finish installing the gates. All in all it was still a twelve hour day... But the fences and gates looked magnificent. A showcase farm.

Yesterday - Friday. Woke up at the crack of dawn unable to swallow and with my throat in incredible pain. Felt like I had been eating my Reidel crystal all night long...

Had to take blistering hot showers to fight off the chills. Sweat-soaked sheets had to be changed a couple of times. I was light-headed and fell in the shower. Fell again when I got up out of bed. Rest of the time I was freezing and shivering to the point of convulsing under four quilts. My throat started closing up, swelling and making it agonizing to talk. Or even drink water.

My little dogs must have thought I was dying. They both perched by my head, giving me sympathetic licks on the forehead. Hell, I thought I was dying.

By Noon I thought I'd have to call in re-inforcements. My regular doctor was at his second practice in Kamloops and out of town. Thought I would just tough it out. But I was in really rough shape. When I could breath I started calling around to friends because I didn't think I could safely drive to a clinic myself.

We live in a strange age of cell phones, e-mails and not so instant as we would like to think communication.... Actually couldn't get hold of anyone. Not one person. In desperation I called a dear, dear, lovely friend who is a Veternarian. I knew she couldn't leave her surgery but I thought I'd get some medical advice... Hey, I'm as close to a monkey as you'll get on the evolutionary ladder.

After ten weeks with my father in the hospital, I just couldn't IMAGINE sitting in an ER for six hours to be told I had a sore throat and to go home. And I didn't want to call a Cab or, God forbid, an ambulance unless there was a good chance I was going to die.

By the way, I have a first-aide kit for my car, for my running pack, for camping and a heavy duty- Muther-Trucker for expeditions. But no thermometer!?! Is this because I have no kids?

So I called my friend the Vet. I started talking until finally Cathy had to ask me, "Who is this?". She couldn't even recognize the croak that was my voice. She literally said I sounded like a frog. She gave me some sound advice. I promised if I got worse to go to the ER. I gargled with hot salt water and felt a little better. And after work she saved my life. Despite drinking copious amounts of water, at least six or seven litres I was severely dehyrated. I had a raging infection, probably strep throat or a cousin, and a fever of over 103. Baby, I know I'm hot, but I was burning up.

After treatment and a few painkillers, I felt well enough in a few hours to let my dogs out to take a piss. You know, open the front door, pee on a shrub and come right back. No need for a leash right? Hell, I've done it several thousand times.

The skunk, all six and half inches of her with a twelve inch tail, was waiting for them. The skunk bolted for safety and Cactus Jack and Panhandle Slim were yelping and whining and doing a strange dance of "bury my face in the grass". The skunk was running straight for me and I was leaping and cavorting about the yard like a mad Cossack. In seconds I was drenched in sweat and the stench of fear and the stink of my wounded puppies.

My Gawd, you can not imagine the smell, the absolute stench. It made you gag. Your eyes water. Literally. The dogs were in agony, I was in agony, my neighbors began pouring out of the building. That is quite the little sulphur compound up the ass of a skunk let me tell you.

Someone mistook the skunk smell for a gas leak and called the fire department. I kid you not. I picked up the dogs and carried their whimpering little bodies into the bathroom and left them in the bathtub.

What were the chances of having a Vet on the premises? Thank God.

The Fire Dept. showed up. Nice guys. They quickly realized that our building has no gas appliances. Vet Cathy and i told them what happened. I had to lean against the wall to keep from passing out.

Next stop, Safeway, where we cleaned them out of hydrogen peroxide. Literally. I wandered the grocery store isles, high on antibiotics and a mittful of pain-killers and every once in a while would have to hang on to something to keep from falling over...

Recipe for getting skunk smell off of dogs? Two litres of hydrogen peroxide, a quarter cup of baking soda and two tablespoons of liquid dish detergent. Under no circumstances try to use water on skunk spray - it will only make it worse.

Plus, both boys had been sprayed in the eyes, so we had to get an eye-flush kit and eye drops to reduce inflamation and swelling.

Did I mention this all happened after ten at night?

Next stop, beer and wine store. Liberally gave away bottles of twenty dollar Yellow Tail Shiraz to all my neighbors on the front of the building.

Washed dogs and sprayed my apartment until after one in the morning. Burned fifteen sticks of incense. Went through abottle of Febreeze de-odorizer. Still reeks of a small stinky forest creature. Did I ever mention how much I love Mother Nature. Vindictive Bitch...

By now it was close to three in the morning and i was ready to pass out.

Cost of medical supplies - $64.57

Cost of cleaning supplies - $34.89

Cost of wine - $92.75

Cost of towels that will have to be burned - $50.00

Cost of an experience like this? PRICELESS!

I tried to keep the boys locked up in their little kennel in my office. I just couldn't imagine letting them sleep with me. But two seconds of hearing them whimpering and I just said fuck it. Hey, we all stink anyways.

This is what it must be like if Salvador Dali runs the Second Circle of Hell. Surreal.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Procrastination, I Am Thee!

I kind of loathe the new Blogger, it's a pain in the ass to log-in all the time. Yeah, I know, an extra thirty seconds which I've more than tripled with this whining...

I liked the old one better. Actually, about three versions ago...

I am procrastinating on the Blogging, trying to get caught up with work.

A research assistant disappeared. That makes two in a row. Why would you agree to take on a job and then vanish into thin air? An allergy to money?

Have been running twenty K every other day. Starting to gear up for the Stormy 50 Mile (80 K) Ultramarathon Trail Race in early August. Not that far off!

Plus, maybe a couple of more 4:30 marathons as training runs in Skidegate, Haida Gwaii in July and the Edge-to-Edge Marathon in Uclulet in June. Need a few partners in crime...

And put off doing laundry for way over a month - or more. Haven't been this bad since college. Actually went out and bought more socks and underwear because I ran out and it was easier to go to Cost-Co that do laundry!!!! Talk about weak...

And now I'm faced with fifteen loads of dirty laundry which will cost me forty-five dollars in coins! That's an outrage. I'd rather get drunk on three fifteen dollar bottles of wine and beat my wet clothes on a rock in a stream with a stick...

Of course I'm in a twenty unit apartment building with ONE washer and ONE dryer. And they're always in use when it enters my small pea-brain that I need clean stuff. Like in the evenings and on weekends... And after running for four or five or six hours on a Sunday I want to do household chores? Yeah, right....

Obviously why I have enough linen for a small bed and breakfast...

Cheers, All.

Next Marathon Clinic starts June 5th. Already having to start thinking about re-qualifying for Boston!

Where will this all end!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Vancouver Marathon

A lovely long run with good friends. I had the rare great privilege of accompanying Deepi, Mima and Elizabeth on their very first marathon. Thank you, Ladies.

I finished in 4:53:00

The women all beat me by a second...

Something about a photo-finish.

Here is Deepi in her own words (with her kind permission).

I had a total blast even though every fiber of my body is aching(will definitely be calling in the massage offers). Managed to get completely inebriated by 3 PM...(after running the marathon, of course).

Slept it off till 9 PM and then got ready and was taken out by my non-marathon buddies to a really great Burlesque/Vaudeville Show....

I know it sounds bizarre but it was brilliant!

So being my Impetuous, Naive Self I once again jumped into something - training for a marathon - and by the time I realized I was in way over my head... it was too late to turn back!

MOST people train for a couple of years and run a minimum of 2 Half-Marathons before even considering doing a FULL. But noooooo not Deepi! I consumed a little too much wine during the Holiday Season last Christmas, after having neglected my workout routine for about 4 months, and bet my buddy Vince that I would and could run 26 miles in 4:30 with only 4 months of training... Which I didn't follow as religiously as I should have.

The Marathon itself was very humbling and a perfect time to reflect. Although Vince was to be my personal "Pace Bunny", I decided to share him with two of my girlfriends. He lived up to his reputation as a great pace bunny and was extremely entertaining, motivating and down right irritating cause while the 3 of us were trying desperately to just keep moving he would break out into dance whenever we passed the bands and DJ's along the route. I would have given anything for a piece of that stamina, but I am sure if I make it to my 21st marathon... I would probably be able to do the same.

So we ran our little hearts out with a head wind and rain pounding us for what felt like an eternity. At about 15 miles I started to embrace the idea of just completing... which we did in 4:52. We all had smiles on our faces and nobody ended up in the first-aide tent... which in marathon-speak equals a very successful first marathon.

I am thinking of doing the Kelowna Marathon in October(is that a collective groan I just heard?)....which means I will be taking the rest of May off(during which time I promise to spend oodles of time with my loved ones) and start training in June. I promise to work on my time management so as not to be neglectful of my highly cherished friends and family :)

P.S. The only bling I wore to the burlesque/vaudeville show at the Commodore Ball Room was my medal ..... I am such a geek! ;)

Yes, Deepi, you are. But only in the best possible way.