7 Days til the Marathon and I'm Sick!

I've heard of this phenomenon and was hoping it wouldn't happen to me.  Coach Gerardo told me recently that coming down with an illness in the days leading to a big race typically happens about two weeks in advance.  And it's perfectly normal. Surprise!  I'm sick.  And a giant blitzkrieg at that.

But instead of a fortnight, I've got seven days to rest, hydrate and make sure I don't lose my physical or mental edge before the LA Marathon.


The achey body, sore throat, watery, itchy eyes and hot-to-the-touch skin all struck at once -- about five hours after an otherwise uneventful trail run at Chesebero Park around 9 this morning.  In fact, I did very well on the 30-minute tempo portion, clocking sub-8:00 miles and never exceeding an 8:15 pace.  That said, my plantar fasciitis is acting up on the arch of my left foot, to the point where I could barely walk the rest of the day.

I'm definitely getting worried.  I feel like I'm starting to fall apart.  I suppose it was bound to happen after pushing myself so hard the past few months. Or after a few days of shaking hands with all types of folks at the video games conference. (I even used Purell an ungodly amount of times, what gives!?) But one week before the race? Really?

(Fortunately, all this happened before our afternoon of engagement ring shopping, which went really well!  More details another time when I know she's not reading over my shoulder.)

As Stephanie can tell you though (or my parents), I'm a bit dramatic when I don't feel well.  In fact, can you feel Steph's eye-roll?  Perhaps it's because I'm so used to being in good health that it accentuates my pathetic-ness when those rare moments occur.  Maybe it's because I watched too much Ferris Bueller's Day Off and identified more with Cameron growing up.  Either way, thank goodness for Steph tonight.  She's taking good care of me with Canter's matzah ball soup, lots of herbal tea and cold medicine.  I'm a lucky dude.

To be safe tomorrow, I'm taking the day off work.  I need to rest and sleep as much as possible to beat this with enough time to resume my training pre-race.  It literally is a race against time, and I hope my body is up for the task.

Come on, Ry.  Don't fail me now.

And Ferris, wherever you are, don't even think of calling me.  I so will NOT pick up.

"When Ryan was in Egypt's land...LET MY RYAN GO!!!"

254 days and counting.

Not Much To Report...Yet

Today was quiet on the training front. Tomorrow, not so much.  A three-hour run awaits, rain or shine (currently raining in Southern California).  We're supposed to revisit the Boney Mtn Trail in Newbury Park, but we'll see how wet and wild it is before we venture up the back of the beast.  The most interesting part of the run won't be the terrain condition.  It will be Coach Gerardo's strict instructions not to bring a watch or electronic gear of any kind.  We're supposed to run how we feel.

If that's the case, then I'll be flying. I've had a great couple days!

Today was marked with the final day of the videogames conference I was attending in Las Vegas, along with a fantastic breakfast with my cousin, Hillary.  She's 10 years my senior, though we talk and act like the best of friends.  I thoroughly enjoyed her company.

Tonight was fantastic as well.  More on that some other time though.

It's late.  I must awake early. Trudy and Bam-Bam lurk.  And a big run beckons.

I can't wait!

277 days and counting.

A Light Training Day

For all the discipline I showed yesterday, pounding out a running test and lifting amidst an industry conference, today was closer to reality. The event proceedings started at 9 a.m., which didn't leave much time to swim and spin on the stationary bike beforehand.  OK, it could have had I been in the pool by 6:45 a.m.  But, considering I was going to have a quiet night's sleep in a dark hotel room, after a late night of drinks with friends and colleagues, that wasn't going to happen.

Though I managed to get out of bed by 6:20 a.m. I didn't rally to hit the gym until 7:15.  I decided to postpone my swim T-pace test since the hotel pool is 20 yards and has no clock.  (No, I still haven't programmed my Garmin, so the waterproof watch thing is off the table for now!)

Instead, I did spin intervals on the stationary bike for 45 minutes.  Worked up a sweat, burned 300 calories, called it a day.

I feel pretty guilty. I could have found a way to manage the swim if I really wanted to.  But, I'll make up the swim test this weekend so it's no big deal.

Instead, I've enjoyed an informative day of seminars about game design theory, social games design, production methodologies and even a discussion about how the brain works when it comes to states of awareness.  Very cool stuff.

Tomorrow is my off day.  The second this week.  Though today felt like a third off-day.  Heck, I'm not complaining.  I've got nine months left of training.  I'll take an easy week when I can get one.

278 days and counting.

PS: One really cool note.  Last night at an industry party, a former co-worker found me and said he reads the blog.  He added that it's inspired him to run again.  It meant so much to me to hear that kind of feedback!

Friday, the New Sunday

Ahhh, I remember those leisurely weekends when I could do whatever I wanted. All day. Sleep in? No problem! Take a road trip? Let's go!

And then along came Ironman training. Six days a week of training, so far up to 15 hours per week. And rising.

Except on Fridays. My day off from training. My day of do-whatever-the-heck-I-want (except eat junk or drink too much!).

When I'm not working at the office, that is.

Even with working a full day, it still feels like a day off. It's the serenity of knowing I don't have to put in a few hours of training, squeezing it in between work and having a life. It's not that I don't enjoy the training (I do), but the stress of fitting it all in and meeting my assigned hours is what gets to me. So, on one day each week, I don't have to worry about that. I like that day a lot.

Tonight, I am spending my free time with my parents. They made me dinner (and dessert) and I'm picking my car up from my father's automotive repair shop, located in Simi Valley.

I feel spoiled. And I'm not complaining one bit. Homemade chicken with cous-cous, homemade split pea soup, and my personal weakness, My-T-Fine chocolate pudding.

I don't care what kind of training regimen I'm on, you will NOT separate me from my chocolate pudding. Period. Don't mess with my puddin'!

Of course, the conversation and relaxation with my folks is the best part. I realize how lucky I am to be able to have a close relationship with my family. We're not a perfect family, not by any stretch. But we are a tight-knit one.

I'm currently watching my dad try to play one of the video games my company develops, Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time. It's an exercise in joy and frustration. He's enraptured in the universe and deriving a great deal of joy from the experience even though his character is dying more than a zombie on Groundhog Day. Yet he keeps trying. Very rarely getting frustrated, finding excitement and insight with every new opportunity to make progress in the game.

I never thought I'd be inspired by my dad playing a PS3 game, but here I am realizing that's just what's happening. He's slogging through a new experience, one that he's admittedly not the best at. He's not giving up. He's still laughing. Still learning. Still finding the fun.

Even though my dad is the one progressing through the game, I'm the one who experienced the payoff tonight.

320 days and counting, but now I'm actually looking forward to 319.