June 19, 2006

I am the mighty Jagrafess

I must be bipolar or something. It is so easy to be so pumped at the end of a good run like Saturday's, and then come down into crushing disbelief in myself. Back and forth this little tussle goes from run to injury to race to exhaustion.

It is time to make an appointment to see Doc Maharam. There's no way around it anymore, I am injured and courting further injury. I had some aches and pains in my lower legs Sunday, which I chalked up to Saturday's run, but they have been worse today - and I'm beginning to find stairs difficult to navigate again because it brings on pain in the outside of my lower legs and knees. Classic shin splints, I think, but I'll leave the diagnosis up to the doctor. (I tried to call his office today about 5, only to realize that everybody there goes home at 3; I'll try again tomorrow.)

The pains take all belief I have in my ability to run a half-marathon, say, this weekend or next, and crushes it into disbelief that I can even go around the block. I know (my Ego knows) I could go tough out three miles with this pain, but my Id says no way - and it might be the wiser of the two. My Superego is just so disgusted that it has retreated to a corner and is calling me names that aren't very nice.

Compound the pain with this pressing heat and humidity - and it's by no means as bad as it'll be in August - and I have no desire to run. I simply cannot function in this heat, even to the point of planning work on my motorcycle for before 10 a.m., because I can't do good work with a head muddled by heat. I have never liked summer, but after such a mild winter and spring, this summer is going to hit hard and I think I may explode. It's as if I have become the mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe, which explodes when its cooling system fails and its body heat goes too high.

The heat has weakened me even further: I was determined to tough it out, even at nights, so that my body might acclimate to summer, thus making running and my upcoming few thousand miles on a Harley in July a little more bearable. But I broke down today and as I worked to get it done before the rain comes, I pulled my two airconditioners out of storage and hastily set them up at either end of my apartment. Air conditioning, I tell you, is anethema to athletic training. It isn't good for asthmatics, either. (Note, I'm not talking about air filtering, which is entirely different.) Too much air conditioning is about as good for the human race as too much refined sugar. Now you get to hear me conclude for the rest of the summer how air conditioners are making Americans - and me - fat and lazy.

Define irony: I am sitting here looking at a piece of mail that came today: my finisher's certificate from the Nashville Half. This thing is made to amplify bitterness: never have I received a certificate for finishing a lousy half-marathon. That has remained in the province of marathons until now. "Congratulations!" it chirps at me from the corner of the table. "Fuck off," I spit back. It is a reminder of a marathon plan gone wrong, cut short, modified to barely limp myself through 13.1 miles. It is a reminder of what NOT to do on race days and what was missing before the race. By the same token, though, it is a reminder that I can go the distance (or a distance), even under less-than-optimal circumstances; evidence that not too long ago I was able to run that far - and I can't right now. It is, in short, an imprint of failure, then and now. I am tempted to burn the damn thing.


LeahC said...

I am so sorry that your running isn't going so well these days. Take some days off and give your legs and your mind (!) some time off. Sometimes that's all you need to get back out there and feel great again. When you lose the mental factor all the pains get worse and the desire to run at all is gone.

As far as the heat goes, I think it affects everyone and everyone badly. All you can do is slow down and take the little victories. Whether that's getting out the door or finishing the full run.

I hope all goes well at the doctors and I hope you feel better soon.

Lora said...

About time to buy that new bike, I'd say ;)