Sunday, February 21, 2010
A little bit of doubt is always a good thing. It's like going into a blind date with low expectations with a back up plan if he turns out to be a loser, and happily discovering that he's not. For whatever reason, I had no doubts going into the Pasadena Marathon. I had just gotten back from an exhausting overseas flight about 6 days before, went back to work immediately, and still had no doubt about completing the marathon without a hitch. I must have caught some running confidence bug. I figured I did 24 miles not too long ago, so what should be the problem. And for the most part during the race, there was no problem.
Pasadena is a runner's race. Not a lot of fluff or sideline distractions (and by distractions, I mean supporters, cheerleaders, music, something..) There were a few people who did provide music courtesy of pot banging and cowbell shaking, but apart from that it was you and the road, about 1000 other runners in the marathon field, and nothing else. I decided not to take my iPod with me too, so mind games helped also in a pinch, as well as some helpful banter with my running partner. And towards the end, the music from his cellphone helped too. Sure, I didn't really know much Warren Zevon, but it sounded good at mile 22.
So I was more cognizant of the mental and physical challenge because there was not much else to take my mind off of it. My left knee started bothering me at mile 10, and the hills were no picnic either. Somewhere along the course, there was a sign posted on a tree that said "Remember what you are running for". Hmm...What am I running for? This is the first time since I started running that I really began to question what I am doing to my body. But I did finish, at 5:24:03 (12:22/mile pace). Almost 40 minutes faster than my first marathon last year.
A couple of days post-marathon, I didn't have the joint and body pains I expected, but a whole slew of other problems. I was feeling woosy, nauseous, bloated and dizzy. I couldn't eat anything without getting uncomfortable stomach cramps. My doctor claimed I had an abdominal flu and sent me home with some pills. I took the pills and drank Pediasure for a few days. Easy fix for him, but not for me. My symptoms have continued on and off for the last few weeks since the Marathon.
So, naturally, I have been hard on myself. Initially, I was mad for not getting enough electrolytes during the race. Since I got bad stomach cramps during LA Marathon last year from too much Gatorade, I decided not to drink any. I wasn't drinking any during training, so I thought it was OK. But boy, did that cup of Gatorade taste good around mile 20. So I thought that I had diminished my body so badly, that now I was paying the consequences.
Somewhere along the way, I forgot that although I enjoy running, a marathon is still a MARATHON. It's hard, challenging, grueling and a major challenge to the human body. A reminder that as strong and resilient as the human body can be conditioned to be, it can also be vulnerable, hurt and defeated. This was a reality check for me.
Externally, my knee still hurts, so does my back, and my side. I feel like the machine I have been working so hard on now needs a major tune-up. So naturally this doubt is effecting my mental game for the LA Marathon. I am taking it easy until then, and if push comes to shove and I don't feel like jeopardizing my body, I won't do it. After all, isn't this supposed to be fun?
Now times to re-group and get my motor running again.