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Pre-marathon Paranoia W ...

Posted Jun 13 2009 12:00am
Pre-marathon Paranoia

We've all heard stories similar to the following: a dedicated runner soul trains all summer long, getting up at the crack ass of dawn to eek out those long runs. He avoids injury and even gets a little faster as the training season draws to a close. The big marathon day looms ahead like a Holy Grail, excitement builds as he wonders if all the hard training will result in a PR, but then on race day--there is one last hurdle; he awakes with a raging 101 degree fever. The thought of running 26.2 miles becomes ludicrous as he can barely heave his body to the toilet, wracked with alternating spasms of diarrhea and vomiting. Most sensible people realize how insurmountable this viral hurdle will be. The insanely stubborn might drag themselves to the start but somewhere along 26 miles, the virus will triumph, and make you feel as despairingly human as only a microbe could.

There is no silver lining in this situation. This just plain sucks and my heart has gone out to those who have lived through this situation. Yes, there are other marathons, but most people train with a certain one in mind. I really do hate the Road Runner, but this is my home town marathon. It's a sentimental race for me. If I suddenly became ill--yes, I could run Columbus when I recovered, but it wouldn't have the same heartfelt meaning. I've trained all summer with bagging that bird in mind. So...I get a little paranoid about acquiring illness the week before a marathon.

I'm a freaky healthy person. I rarely get colds, but I remember the last one I had was after running my first Road Runner Marathon in 2004. It's common for marathoners to catch stuff immediately preceding or proceeding a marathon since hard training and the hard effort of running 26.2 temporarily weakens the immune system. Being a nurse, I know how the mechanical means by which viruses and bacteria proliferate, but I've never been a germ phobe. I do the sensible stuff like washing my hands frequently and I try not swill stuff from other people's glasses. Balance, right? I recall an old man that used to come into the Chinese restaurant where I worked as a waitress through college, wearing my black polyester slacks that perpetually smelled like egg rolls. This old dude would order pork chops, of all things, and then he'd eat them alone, wearing plastic gloves--the kind that women wear to color their hair. That poor pitiful guy. He depressed me like nothing else. I told my co-worker to just shoot me if I ever started doing stuff like that.

Have you ever noticed that germaphobic people, the ones that wash their hands 2 zillion times a day, and would rather die than take a sip of something out of your glass, are the same ones that engage in really gross germ spreading activities? For example; the women that squat over public toilets, so to avoid the germ riddled toilet seats are often pissing all over the seats because they lack the hamstring/quad strength for proper toilet seat hovering--then--they don't clean it up! They spare themselves potential stranger danger germs but leave droplets of urine on the seat. One of my earliest girlhood traumatic memories entailed my Aunt teaching me this maneuver while we were traveling. I pissed all over the seat. She got mad at me and I have been bothered by the whole toilet hover thing ever since. I think a sensible alternative is make a double layered barrier with toilet paper. Anyway--germ phobes crack me up because they really don't understand how it all works.

There were subtle signs that my son was acquiring a germ phobia. It lasted for a long time, but I think I broke it by pointing out some basic facts when he'd absolutely freak out if I took a sip out of his glass. I'd start with the simple fact that I gave birth to him from a bodily orifice, he nursed from breasts that I never sterilized, and leaving out the rat water for days on end, that he used to thaw out mice to feed his snake was far more vile than me taking a sip of his drink when we are both perfectly healthy. Family germs are much more acceptable than stranger germs. My husband has a touch of the germ phobia. He woke up this morning with a tickle in his chest, sure was spawned by his co-worker, Jim, who holds the office distinction of being a virtual walking pertussis ward; he coughs for half the year. He told me to begin germ fighting measures immediately--cause he knows the red-headed hell he will be living through if I don't run this marathon.

I started immediately on the Airborne stuff, which is like Tutti-Frutti Alka-Seltzer loaded with high doses of vitamin C and some hippy dippy herbs like ground ginger root and echinacea. Yesterday, I started getting a sinus headache that nothing touched. I'm prone to these when there is a significant swing in the weather. The throbbing vein in my temple keeps beat as the rain clouds roll in from the west and recedes only when the sun starts shining again. It was to be one of my 24 hour sinus headaches which I must go to battle to keep it from segueing into a sinus infection. I've been doubling up on the cayenne spray. I had an episode of dizziness that worried me, but I think I have won the war on this one. It's been years since I've had a full-blown sinus infection. I've flooded myself with lots of fluids and now I can only hope for the best, relax, and not stress myself out into illness. We're getting closer to race day!! I hope you all are healthy for race day! Good luck!
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