Monday, October 8, 2012

When things go off track...

If you have been reading this blog, you know that I was registered to run in the Steamtown Marathon yesterday up in Scranton. Unfortunately, things do not always work out how we wish.

On Friday night around 1am (really Saturday morning), I went to the ER with severe lower left abdominal pain that evolved into throwing up without any pain relief. For me to even consider going to the doctor for anything is a big deal. The ER means it was bad. I spent 9 hours there getting fluids and medication and trying to get something of a diagnosis. While there I did get a CT scan with contrast. At the end, the biggest sign of anything was with my blood cell count showing signs of a massive infection. The timing of this could not have been any worse. Doctors advice was to not race on Sunday.

Yet, for us serious runners, it is not always so easy. I worked for months to prepare for this race. And I was considered one of the contenders. Knowing who was racing, I had a formulated race strategy. I didn't just want to throw that out the window. Plus, from an economic standpoint, I had a hotel room with a non-refundable rate. So, thus, the beginnings of a debate as to what to do. At the hospital, I told myself that my goal was to run but I would give my body time to make the decision. I figured since I had to go use the room, might as well put off the decision. Well, on the way home my choice got a bit of a bump as my stomach did not want to hold down what it had inside. For me that sealed the deal. My Steamtown was done. It is a hard decision to make to withdraw at such a late stage. Thankfully, the hotel was kind enough due to the circumstances to cancel my reservation and not charge me. This was a huge relief. But I still felt down even if my body was telling me there was no way I could race a marathon.

Coming to grips with the reality, I was at a crossroads. Do I try to find a marathon now to run or just move along? And if I looked at marathons, would any help me achieve my goals? I decided to do my best to look at some races in the next several weeks while I still have the conditioning and mental resolve. So two weeks from now, I will be racing in the Atlantic City Marathon on its improved course. This gives me time to recover and focus.

But what happened at Steamtown? Turns out it was a slower day than usual. Only one person went under 2:30, Matt Byrne. I'm very happy for him to win and become the first 3 time winner of the race. It would have been great to run with him but it is a nice mental help to know that no one else went under the 2:30 mark so while I might have been happy with my placing, the time could have been a letdown. Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to race Steamtown next year. But right now, my eyes are set on Atlantic City.

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