Sunday, August 19, 2012

It Doesn't Matter That You're Sick -- Running Edition

I'm sick again. This level of aches and pains can only come from... [cue old-time reveal music] baby germs.

But, as I wrote in one of my first posts, "Parenting Lesson #148: It Doesn't Matter That You're Sick," you never get to call in "sick mom." Even when dad's home, milk only comes from the moo cow's boobs.

You know what else doesn't care if you are sick? Marathon training. Time doesn't stop for you just because your bones feel like they are going to shatter like so much broken glass.

So this morning I got up at 6:15 am to feed and clothe Henry, force Rayne out of bed with the power of my nastiness and drive over to Prospect Park for a 10-mile relay race called The Battle of Brooklyn. Here are Rayne and Henry representing at the start:

I Insta-ma-grammed it so Rayne would look less tired. You're welcome, honey.

I ran my 3+ miles faster than expected, which is not the same as running a good pace. I still got passed like I was standing still a hundred thousand times.

In regular races, "corrals" ensure that I run alongside others who trot at my pitiful pace. But in relay races, runners don't line up according to pace. Inevitably most people glide past me with their lithe bodies as I plod along, wondering why I stubbornly continue to run -- for fun! no less -- as I'm clearly not cut out for it.

An illustrative anecdote: A couple of years ago Rayne and I did a 200-mile 12-person relay race in New Hampshire called Reach the Beach. There are 36 legs ranging from three to nine miles each. You and eleven of your closest friends pile into two vans and each run three legs through the night to your destination.

It's really way more fun than it sounds.

I'm slow to begin with, but couple that with exhaustion from working and commuting so much, and it's not pretty. Other teams' competitors blew by me, racking up "kill" (as passing is known) after kill. Some would slow a bit to call out a condescending little "good job" before they accelerated past, laughing maniacally (one can only assume).

My second leg was around 8 or 9 at night, and it was dark. I had yet to pass anyone and was determined to do so. As I rounded a corner on a gravelly, tree-lined path, I saw a figure running in the distance. From his pace, I knew I could overtake him. I set my sights on him. I was catching up! I was going to pass someone!

But as I got closer, something seemed strange. Maybe this guy was hurt? His gait seemed off.

And as I approached for the "kill," I saw the truth: this man had one leg. He was running with one regular leg and one of those "Cheetah" prosthetic legs from the knee down.

"Good job," I called lamely as I shuffled past. It was not my proudest moment, I assure you.

Anyway, today's race wasn't nearly that traumatic, and I did it while sick. So.

Good job, me.