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Sunday, December 11, 2005

Smack in the Face

Today was the first bit of exercise I’ve done in the past 5 days. I’ve taken off training on the advice of my wife, coach and doctor in order to get over some sort of bacterial infection in my lungs and throat. I just started taking antibiotics and I will know I am better when I am no longer hocking up great globs of green loogies.

I picked up fellow runner and blogger Cris on the way to the Joe Kleinerman 10K in Central Park. We’ve been emailing each other for the past 8 months, but have yet to meet each other. When I found out he was also doing this race, I said I would pick him up. I was looking forward to meeting him. Cris is a runner and aspiring multisport athlete who has been fighting a lifelong battle with Cystic Fibrosis. He understands to the Nth degree what dealing with lung related issues is like, including the nastiness of coughing up great gobs of green guck from your lungs. I think he may appreciate this posting I found on the web.

We had plenty of time to make it to race packet pickup, find parking and head to the baggage check before the race. While driving Cris told me about CF and we compared notes about sticking to it with our training in order to achieve our athletic goals. Cris started to cough a few times and the sound of it gave me the urge to cough as well.

Whenever I have trouble with my chest or lungs, I begin to obsess over them. This probably started from the time I was a teenager, when I suffered a punctured lung in a car accident. Other incidents in my life that add to my lung paranoia are:

* Exposure dirt and debris when cleaning out a basement after a fire at a printing company.
* Renovating my basement and discovering I was handling Asbestos.
* Nasty paint fumes
* Exposure to second hand smoke while driving in a car with my parents as a child in the winter when they kept the windows closed.

My troubles are nothing compared to Cris’ and I should take what he has to go through as a smack in the face to put my issues in perspective.

It took a while to park, but after some aggressive driving and some luck from the parking gods, I managed to find a spot for my car with plenty of time to spare. We made it to baggage claim, headed to the race start and said goodbye for the day. I would be running much faster than Cris and we were going separate ways afterwards.

My plan for the race was to take it easy since I wasn’t supposed to overly stress my body. I started out at a strongly comfortable pace and held it throughout the race. I will sum it up here by way of my email to my coach. He sent me an email asking how the race went, here is my response:

Neil -

I am finishing up my blog entry now. I felt good. I am still coughing up some stuff (still green), but not that much and nothing during the race. I ran comfortably strong effort. I kept my HR where I felt comfortable and ran a 7:48 overall pace. I didn't push it, but running slower would have been sheer torture. I just didn't feel like running slow, but resisted the urge to race.

Two specific things about the race I will mention; either my max HR is much higher than where I think it is (184) or I really have lost all speed from my legs. My HR was 166/178. 166 is 90% of my max. It didn't feel that hard, but the fact that it was so high at so slow a pace is annoying.

I can hear what you are going to say to this, but yada yada yada. I feel slow and it annoys me. Nothing you will say will make me feel otherwise. However, I will listen to you and not go out trying to run as fast as I can for my next run so don't worry that I am going to go out and start pushing.


I did forget to mention to him, that as I crossed the finish line, a runner right in front of me felt exuberant about his finish and tossed his arms up on the air for the finish line photo, smacking me right in the face with the back of his hand. For the first time during the day, I was glad I wasn’t running faster.


Blogger Brooklyn said...

well, that guy's post was rather strange, but hilarious.

your chart is interesting; I can clearly see where the north end of the park downhill and uphill are and where Cat Hill is.

congrats on the strong race! no parking ticket, I hope?

11:29 PM  
Anonymous JT said...

Smacked in the face, huh?

You have a history there. Remember your bachelor party?

4:38 PM  

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