Running with less weight around your hips and other body parts makes you faster and more efficient. Lose about 10 lbs. of weight and your performance could increase up to 5%. So, finding your racing weight for a marathon and reaching it can be quite important if you are chasing a PR or a BQ. If you wonder what your ideal racing weight is, read Matt Fitzgerald’s book with the same name “Racing Weight”. I reached my racing weight this week – having lost about 4 lbs. of actual body weight in the last 7 days. I know I can still do better, but when you have only 12.5 weeks of preparation for a marathon your goal weight has to be achievable and I ended up where I wanted to be.
So, how did I reach my racing weight and why would I attempt to lose 4 lbs. of weight in such a short time? Simply said, I am that crazy to do such things, but the truth is much darker. I actually had given up on my racing weight and was happy with where I were on Sunday, November 3rd of 2013. But then I got sick and by sick I mean I did not have just a simple cold even though that’s how it felt at first. I usually have a plan of attack when I feel a cold coming. I load up on Cold Snap, Vitamin C+D, rinse my sinuses 3-5 times per day, and drink lots tea – all combined with lots of rest. I am usually able to fight of a cold and in 2-3 days life is back to normal. This time the attacking bug knew what was coming and this thing arrived via high speed running over all lines of defense. Monday morning I felt Ok, not good but manageable. My defense was in full swing. Monday night I was down and out. I did go to work on Tuesday, but left after an hour to go home. I did not want to spread germs at the office + I needed to rest. It went downhill from there.
On Thursday morning I went to the doctor with bad pressure on left and the entire left head. Diagnosis: Ear Infection.
I got a prescription for antibiotics and took the first one at 12.30 PM on Thursday, but my body did not give those little helpers a chance to go to work. By 5.30 PM I was in unbearable pain and we went to the urgent care center. After waiting to be treated for an hour I finally received some help in form of a shot with pain killer (2 x Vicodin strength) and a prescription for more pain killers. The shot took the edge of the pain, but instead of lasting 4 hours the pain came back after 2 hours. I was in bed trying to sleep and so I took 2 more Vicodin pills as prescribed and fell into a light sleep. By 1.30 AM I was wide awake and could not find any comfortable position. Suddenly the ear drum on the left side ruptured and most of the pain was gone. Instead yucky yellow-ish and red-ish fluids were coming out of my ear. With the pain heavily reduced I was able to finally sleep a bit, but there was more to come. Friday was just a yucky day with lots of pain and my hope that the antibiotics would finally start working.
I woke up Saturday and I could not walk straight literally. I had lost my feeling for balance and on top of it I had to vomit. Time to get to the ER. My wife drove me to the ER and the sharp turns did not help either, but I did not through up (Yeah). It was Saturday morning and the lines were short, so within 30-45 minutes I was examined by a doctor. I got confirmation that my ear drum was ruptured and received some medication for Vertigo and nausea. I was also told that things should get better now with being on antibiotics for the 3rd day. Well, that “promise” did not stand and Saturday was just as yucky as Friday was. I stayed in bed all day.
Sunday morning actually felt a bit better I felt hopeful that the worst might have behind me, but after 2-3 good hours I was feeling as bad as before. I slept for another 3 hours and then the afternoon and evening was not too bad. I decided to go back to work on Monday after being off from Tuesday to Friday. I woke up Monday morning and I simply wanted to cry. It felt like one step up and two steps back. It was bad, but I still went to work. At work I spent some time going through my health insurance’s website to find an Ear Nose Throat doctor. The first 2 were closed for Veterans Day. The next one would open at 8.30 AM. I called them 3 times between 8.30 Am and 8.50 AM, but “died” in the queue repeatedly. Number four had an appointment open for the next day at 9.00 AM and so I booked it, but then continued on to search. Two calls later I had an appointment for the same day. Yeah! At the appointment the doctor removed a lot of fluid from my infected ear and then put some drops in as the first step. I immediately felt better when the fluid levels sank. I got yet another prescription for some different antibiotics and some ear drops. I also asked the doctor about my upcoming marathon and he had no problems with the running if the infection would retreat according to how things looked like. He was a bit concerned about the flying part though and we scheduled a follow-up for Thursday the same week.
Today is Tuesday and the night was still painful. It takes a while for new drugs to kick in naturally and I barely slept overnight. This morning I took the second pill of the new antibiotics and hopefully that will kick those little “helpers” into high gear and start working. I am in the office where the air is dry and you naturally feel yucky anyway when you are sick, so I am definitely looking forward to go home in the afternoon. There finally seems to be less fluid coming out of my left ear which is a very good sign for me.
I booked a rental car to be able to drive from Denver to Las Vegas if the doctor has concerns about flying. Overall I know it is a race to make it to the race. I hope my body is able to recover in time. I will make a last call decision on Friday morning. If the improvements are good enough + 2 more days to go then I will travel, but if I feel I am stretching my luck then I will cancel the race (and be totally frustrated forever). My legs feel strong and if I can the head cleared up then I want to run. I do not care about time goal anymore, all I would care is to make it to the finish line in 5 hours as that is the official time limit for the Las Vegas Rock ‘n Roll Marathon.
I am not easy on giving up hope just yet. I worked so hard for this and I do not want to throw in the towel just yet. I can cancel the 2 rental cars (1 reservation for Las Vegas, 1 for Denver) and the hotel on the last minute. I will not get a refund for the flight or the race registration fees and that adds up to over $400 right now. I know that United will most likely offer me a travel voucher when I check-in for the flight. The flight is over-booked based on the seat chart and they did so in October when we traveled to California. If they offer me a $150 travel voucher to free up a seat for somebody else I would take it and then drop the flight altogether, but at least then have something back. The same would apply if I cannot fly, but drive by car. I will check-in, hope for the travel voucher, take the money and a small loss on the ticket and drive.
Wish me luck.