Monday, October 09, 2006

A Bad Kind of Tradition

So today was the Tufts Health Plan 10K. I was signed up to do it. Paid and everything.

To understand why I am more resigned than angry about the fact that I wasn't able to race today, you need to understand my history of racing...

In 2003, I signed up to walk the Maui Marathon with Team in Training. We trained all summer, and as part of our training, we walked the San Francisco Chronicle 1/2 Marathon. The day before that race, I woke up feeling sick. The day of the race, I felt no better. But since it was part of training, I did it. I didn't end with a great time, but I finished, and I had a blast doing it.

Fast forward to September of that year, when I flew out to Maui to do the full marathon there. On my way out, I started feeling sick, but it wasn't until I arrived in Maui that it hit - my first ever sinus infection. Every part of my head hurt. I couldn't sleep because I was coughing. But I had signed on to do this marathon, and I wasn't about to let months of traning go down the drain. I took my Dayquil, put some tissues in my pocket, and at 5am, began walking.

Now it is true that walking a marathon does tend to take longer than running. My goal to finish had been about 6 hours and 20 minutes. But once I decided to walk it while sick, my goal changed to simply finishing the race, no matter how long it took. I crossed the finish line at 7 hours and 20 minutes.

It took me weeks to recover from my illness, but it was worth it, having accomplished such a huge goal as completing a marathon. Probably not something I'd do again soon (maybe ever), so I was glad to have had the experience.

Interestingly, despite my history of always being sick on race day, when my friend Mary invited me to do this 10K, I jumped at the chance. What a great opportunity to get in shape again! And an all-women's race - what a fun experience!

And then, yesterday, while driving back from Vermont, I got an ever-so-faint sore throat. I chalked it up to too much singing in the car. And last night, I started feeling a little run-down. I chalked it up to my weekend in Vermont.

But this morning when I felt hot and cold at the same time and my glands were swollen and my head felt like it was going to explode... well, I couldn't ignore the signs anymore: I was sick.

It was an unseasonably warm day here in Boston today - 75 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. I wanted more than anything to be outside running and to complete my first race in 3 years.

But then I thought about why I'm really here in Boston: school. While walking a marathon sick was definitely justifiable when I had sick days at work to use to recover, what about running a 10K when I only have classes once a week, and can't afford to miss them? And what about the kids I babysit? I want to be as healthy as possible all the time, so I don't have to cancel babysitting jobs because I'm afraid of passing my germs on to them.

And so I took the T down to the race and picked up my race shirt, and wished my friends good luck on their race, and then took the T back home. I feel guilty having taken the race shirt for a race I didn't run (though I did pay the $29 race registration fee, so it's not like I didn't pay for it even if I didn't "earn" it), but I also feel even more sick now than I did this morning, so I think it was the right decision.

I've decided that next year, when I run this race, and I will run this race, I will not register ahead of time, because I'm convinced that doing so gives my brain time to tell my body to get sick. I will do a sneak-attack and register on-site, and by the time my body realizes what's going on, I will have completed the race and earned the race shirt.


CDG said...

MoMP is ill as well - that funny hot/cold feeling, achey knees and shoulders, and the feeling like you have a fever in the back of your throat. Bah!

Feel better, Fibby. Those who are about to infect innocent children salute you...

Sarah Bird said...

Next year, bird, next year. My brain will be calm, your hot and cold will turn to energized warmth. We'll wog healthily and happily and briskly together with a breeze at our backs and the sun shining down from above. (note: the sun would never really shine up from below - that would mean bigger trouble than I care to imagine - but it sounded poetic and dreamy so I went with it).

Cheerier days to you, my dear.

Miss Peach said...

Hope you feel better Phoebe. I am going to be in Boston next week to see the neurologist. Will you be around? I will be staying in Lunenburg, but would love to catch up with you in the city some time over the weekend. Let me know :)