"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Monday, March 30, 2009

Zumbro Beta Run- it's all in the dentistry

It took me a year to figure out what a "beta run" was. "Alpha" is information you get from doing a race, "beta" from running over the course - and that would make "gamma" info you get from other runners and "delta" what you get from the race's website. My plans to run over the Zumbro 100 course got changed almost minute by minute this week, but all turned out well.

This week in training
Monday: 8 in 76. Wrist is better, quads dead from downhills two days earlier.
Tuesday: 0. Teeth started throbbing at the start and I decided not to run.
Wednesday: 0. Who'd think that dental problems would be my downfall?
Thursday: 7.5 in 71, much with Barb. Had dental surgery scheduled for Sunday evening and was given a boatload of painkillers.
Friday: 3 in 22. Nice to run faster for a change, but teeth throbbed after finishing.
Saturday: 0. Oh my God. Please shoot me. I considered pulling my teeth out with pliers it hurt so much. I managed about 3 hours of sleep and managed only a liquid diet.
Sunday: 20.5 in 5:39 at Zumbro. I didn't sleep at all and I downed painkillers and washed them down with booze - wanting to sleep so badly I was willing to not wake up again. So, awake and drunk, I paced all night. I found I could alleviate the pain if I held cold liquid in my mouth. There is nothing to do at night when in pain - can't manage to focus on any task, can't waste time doing nothing - the dental clinic opened at 9 AM and I was counting minutes at 4 AM. I decided to drive to Burnsville just to see those who were going to Zumbro, just to have something to do from 5:30-6:30.

I decided to drive to Zumbro (I could go down there, say hi to Larry and get a course map and drive back for the clinic opening). A cooler of ice water in the passenger seat - and a spit bucket, as I was pretty well hydrated - plus eight different types of painkillers (one not quite legit and two that wouldn't let me drive); I was quite a spectacle getting down there. Fortunately, no one had to see it.

I geared up for the run and met everyone - Julie, Mitch, Steve G., Wayne, Molly, John T. and a guy whose name I've already forgotten. Lynn and Darryl didn't show, but we'd later find a message that they had been there and ran other trails. I made sure I had a map and garmin (with compass) so I could find my way back when the pain was too much and I had to bail.

My bad wrist was fine carrying a water bottle, but that might've been just because I was a walking pharmacy and you only notice the worse of two pains; I think it's healing well. My teeth stopped hurting almost immediately! I felt great! So, I got to spend a day in the woods having fun with people and learn more about them (who knew Molly was close to the 3 hour marathon mark? or that Julie's older son was 13 pounds at birth!?). I did a lot of talking - no surprise there - and suggested to Julie that there should be an aid station cookbook. [Jean, you want in on this?]

I'd run out there before, when there was snow on the ground, so I was surprised by just how rocky this course is. Five times up and down some of those hills is going to be tough. I'm usually the guy who doesn't see anything but his feet when running, but I ended up pointing out the wildlife. We managed to get off course several times, once detouring through a muddy non-park area for miles, and the temperature started climbing; everyone started peeling layers of clothes (except me, who liked being overwarm. Oh the joys of not-pain) and pulling out things to eat (except me, who wasn't going to tempt fate by trying to chew).

I just wanted to run faster all the time, so I was often leading the pack and in some places would dart ahead and then wait or return to the pack. I wasn't tired even though I was sleep-deprived. I wasn't hungry even though I hadn't eaten much for days. I didn't fall, I only slipped once. I was having a great day and when we called it a day, I wanted to do it all over again right then. Everyone else changed clothes, but mine weren't even wet with sweat - and I didn't have to share a van ride with others, so I didn't have to change for them, either.

On the drive back, about the town of Coates, the pain came back with a vengeance. I had trouble just driving home, but now there was only a couple of hours before surgery and I could stick it out. I wasn't sure how I was getting home afterward, but I didn't care, either.

When I got to the dentist's chair, they decided I had too much of an infection for surgery. I have to live on painkillers and antibiotics for a while. Thankfully, the pain's receded and I slept 11 hours. The closer to my race schedule the surgery gets, the more worrisome it gets.

I'm pretty sure when, at the 60 mile mark of the Zumbro 100, I'll be saying to myself "Better keep going. It only hurts when you quit."

Just cuz its cool: Check out this video (embedding was disabled)

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