Friday, November 6, 2009

An Unexpected High and a F*&*-ing Awful Low

Last Sunday I ran my second-ever half-marathon, the US Half Marathon here in San Francisco.

It went a A LOT better than I thought it would. The weather was perfect. The course was incredibly beautiful. Having ridden across the Golden Gate Bridge so many times by bicycle, I never had the chance to really appreciate the view. Running across the bridge behind a few thousand other runners, the clear skies above, the dense fog directly below, the mists shrouding the city, it was a great moment.

And speaking of the few thousand other runners, I forgot just how much of a difference it makes being able to draft behind a huge group of runners. The first seven miles even with the hills were easy.

Somewhere just past mile seven I checked my GPS. I was running much faster than I expected and didn't feel fatigued at all. My last half marathon I had just missed getting in under 2 hours. Looking at my splits and my time at mile seven, I decided to go for it. I decided to see if I could get in under 2 hours.

So I floored it.

The last six miles were perfect for making up the time. It was downhill from the bridge then nothing but flat terrain along Crissy Field. When I checked my splits, my minutes per mile kept dropping until the very end. I was able to come in just under the two hour mark.

That was the the unexpected high of the day.

The f@#@-ing awful low happened later that evening.

I had read that immediately after a long hard endurance workout your immune system is basically wrecked. You should rest, pound fluids and carbs, and not do anything too strenuous.

I didn't consider a major clean-up of our closets to be a strenuous workout. Nor did I consider hauling several large loads of old junk down several blocks to the charity donation store to be anything too challenging. Lastly, I thought the three beers I drank in the early evening constituted a form of carbohydrate reloading. After all, the Hash House Harriers have been doing that for decades!

Sometime around 1:00 AM I woke with a burning feeling in my gut. No biggee I thought, take some maalox, go back to bed.

Then 3:00 AM rolled around.

The gut no longer burned. Instead, it felt like a dagger was being shoved in there, and twisted left and right.

More maalox.

5:00 AM rolls around, one more round of maalox. No luck.

At 6:00 AM, I conclude its food poisoning. That stinky Dutch cheese and spicy dried Italian sausage I ate as a snack probably were too much for me. I call in sick. I also discover I have a fever.

12 Noon. Had some pepto, it helps a little, I go back to bed.

3:00 PM. The twisting dagger returns and gets me good. The pepto didn't help. Fever is even worse.

4:00 PM. M and I head to the emergency room to see if this is something more serious.

The doctor does some initial checks, tells me I might have an appendicitis. I start flipping out. I have images in my head of my belly being cut open, hands diving in, and parts being snipped off.

I get subjected to six hours of blood tests and cat scans. They inject me with a buttload of saline, morphine, and God knows what.

Sometime after 9 PM the doctor comes by.

Doctor: I have good news, you don't have an appendicitis. But you do have kidney infection.

They released me and gave me a prescription for some drugs that can probably kill my organs as well any bacteria crawling around inside of me.

A kidney infection -- how the hell did I get a kidney infection?

The usual warning signs weren't there. No burning or bloody pee. No infections to my bladder or urinary tract. And on top of that 24 hours before I was in tip top shape.

Unless of course it was the Half Marathon that did it to me....

In the span of 24 hours I put in a personal best athletic performance, and suffered through one my the worst illnesses ever.

Is it true then -- could running actually be bad for you?

1 comment:

  1. Maybe going to a Halloween party the night before a 1/2 marathon???