A Swift Kick In The, Um, Butt

I tend to wedge my training in between a whole bunch of activities, lately: post-production on a documentary, mixing a new album (due on Des Moines’ own Authentic Records June 18!), a career that’s turned alarmingly demanding, domestic duties, and an iota of a social life. Still, I do pretty well getting everything in on five hours of sleep and, on a good day, coffee, a Balance bar, and a decent dinner.

This week, though, it all came crashing down. The dark, small hours of Wednesday night found me in the fetal position, crawling from the bedroom to the bathroom and alternating between shivers and sweat. I’d tell you it felt like someone kicked me in the butt, only it was more painful than that, and in a far more vital location.

The week began well enough, though.

My wife, Abbi, and I ran a 10k race in Central Park Saturday morning. Then I repaired to the studio.

Sunday morning, I rode up and over the George Washington Bridge, tagged New Jersey, and turned around. Back home, I tossed in a quick 5k run along the Hudson River. Then I repaired to the studio.

I gave myself a break Monday morning, then put in ten hours at the office, and four hours in the edit.

I ran four miles Tuesday morning, worked twelve hours, edited the film until 1am, then slept four hours, woke up Wednesday, and did it again.

Which is when the trouble started.

Wednesday morning was off like a shot. By 3pm, I realized I hadn’t eaten anything, nor rehydrated after my run. Worse, I’d had a tall cup of coffee. Which is when I started cramping. By the time I got to my apartment (having called off that night’s edit despite the fact that we had a looming deadline), I was doubled over in pain, nauseas, and dizzy.

Thanks to my wife’s kind and patient nursing, a few rounds of much-needed vomitting, and a few conversations with The Man Upstairs, I endured that dark night of the soul (and believe me, I’m only hyperbolizing slightly).

In the moments of greatest pain and despair, when all I wanted was to feel normal again, I thought of this triathlon, and my annual New York City Marathons, and how vulnerable I am as I approach them. This thing stopped me dead in my tracks.

As the sun rises on Friday, now, I have a renewed understanding of my limits.

So you’ll forgive me if I take this morning off.

This blog post was first published as part of The Des Moines Register’s Hy-Vee Triathlon training series.

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