Afterward

After I crossed the line I started to have really bad coughing fits. Doubled up and coughing.

I wanted to vomit too. I wondered off in search of something to vomit into.

The finishing area seems strangely bereft of proper receptacle. I stand by a wastepaper bin for a while, but the need passes.

My quads hurt too, of course, but that seems a minor irritant.

I head off to my hotel (2 blocks) to dump my camelback and email people. Then I figured I should walk into the ocean. That’s the traditional ending for the Catalina Marathon, and my quads are in far greater pain today.

No one else is in the water. Of course not many people have finished. I take my shoes off (this isn’t easy) and leave them at the top of the beach. I walk down to the water. I realize I still have my hotel keys in my pocket. I walk back up to the shoes and deposit them. I walk down to the water. I walk into the water.

It is cold.

There aren’t any real waves here, just sort of small lappings such as you might find in a lake. I guess Avalon faces away from the Pacific and is protected by a rather large island. But it means I can’t stand still and have the water splash up my legs. I move a little deeper.

It really is cold.

I get in until it is halfway up my calves and then I just stand there. It’s cold. Too cold to go in deeper. I turn round and slosh out. Grab my shoes. Now, I’ll let myself take a warm shower.

I get back to the finish line just as Brian crosses the line (8:56 or so if I recall correctly). So I congratulate him. We chat a bit and his wife comes up. He tells her about the buffalo and says that I “saved” him. 🙂 She doesn’t believe him at first, but when he asks her to make a note of my email address so I can send them the picture of him and the buffalo she comes around.

Suddenly I feel really ill. I excuse myself. I am wracked by a coughing fit which turns into a gag and another almost vomit.

Again it passes uneventfully.

Why do I do these? I should probably give up on the 50 milers. I don’t think I want to come back to do the Catalina Marathon later this year. Ug.

I take a hot shower. Then I curl up for a nap.

After an hour’s doze I no longer feel nauseous. I sit on the edge of the bed and stare at my hands for a bit.

I rouse myself. Feeling daring I grab an apple. Feeling more daring I take a bite as I head back to the finish line in hopes that they will have posted my time.

They have. I see I was 15th, rather than 14th.

I do some more coughing. I know! I’ll get some cough syrup! (I brought some with me, but it ran out this morning).

I go back to my room. The awards banquet isn’t until 6. I don’t feel like doing much. I read for a bit, but that palls. I load my pictures (and watch) onto the computer.

Eventually 6 happens. I see the timers are still at the line. It’s an hour past the cut-off time (and has been dark for an hour too), but they are still recording finishers. 209 have finished, whoops, 210 now. And 250 people started.

I wait outside the restaurant in the vague hope of finding someone I know. But I don’t see anyone. So eventually I go in by myself. There is a projection screen up on the wall showing race photos (already!) and as I enter I see a picture of me with the sunrise behind me. I want a copy!

I find an uncrowded table and ask if I can join it. They let me. I flop in the chair. I don’t have much energy, and don’t make a good conversationalist. Anyway they asked me to sit some distance away so their friends (who haven’t yet arrived) could sit beside them. Eventually the table fills, with their friends and more strangers (like me).

The woman who ends up beside me is very friendly and draws me out of my torpor and into conversation. She’s done the race 12 times before, she was going to do it this year, but found out she was pregnant, and so worked as a volunteer instead (she was one of the timers at the finish line).

I found her attitude toward preparing for the race very odd. When asked how she trained she said she didn’t really train any more she just relied on “muscle-memory” to get her through. They guy on the other side of my said his brother signed up for the race on New Year’s eve (two weeks before).

How can anyone take a race so lightly? A 50 mile race anyway. I can pop off a 10K without worrying about training, but not a 50 miler. I guess my attitude is just wrong. I don’t want to finish the race, I want to have done the best I can at it. These two obviously care about other things.

Maybe if I didn’t run so hard, I wouldn’t hurt so much? My mother told me that last year.

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One Response to “Afterward”

  1. Dan Arias Says:

    Just as a data point, here is my take on pain versus training for a race:

    Days-of-pain-after-race ~ K / Days-training-for-race

    Note that K has units of Days^2 and is a function of how out-of-shape you are so that as K -> 0, one is in perfect shape for the race.

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