Warning-adult language :)
one of many snails out and about in Riga. They are now my best company
I'm not even sure where to begin with this nightmare, but figured I'd better post what may be one final time. I have truly had the grand tour of all nine circles of Hell over the last 3 weeks. Actually, my whole spring starting with my visa mess in March has been just that- Dante's Inferno. Dante's Inferno -getting into the best shape you have been in in years only to have it go down the toilet in the last minute. So, that race I had been quietly building for was the Riga Marathon. I wanted to keep it quiet because I sometimes need to keep my big plans quiet so I can focus on what I need to do. I actually had to go down to Migration Services and pull a couple strings so I could get my visa papers "sped up" a week so I could LEAVE in time for the race. I decided to combine the final visa run with the marathon. I did my final tune up at the 1000m at Moscow State in Monday the 12th.
finished 2nd in the 1000m
It was off par and sluggish but I thought it was more to do with the fact that I had to drag my sorry ass up EARLY to go to Migration Services to get my papers for the visa. No, worse, I came home and had dinner after the 1000 and went to bed. 5AM I woke up with a splitting headache and temperature! WTF? I felt shitty and went back to bed. When I got up later, the temperature was gone so I went to work. I thought it was just a freak thing. Still, NOT GOOD to have a TEMPERATURE FIVE DAYS BEFORE AN A RACE! Felt ok Tuesday save for a mild head and neck ache. Came home from work went to bed and woke up 2 hours later temperature 100.5F-F#CK! and the headache so bad my teeth and eyes hurt! Took a rest day because on Thursday I had to fly. Honestly, at this point I already knew the marathon was a lost cause and wanted to just skip the Riga portion of the trip and just go to Vilnius for the 2 days I needed to in order to get my work visa. It was too late to change my tickets though. Thurdsay morning no temperature but had one during the night and felt generally shitty and had a slight dry cough but wasn't hacking incessantly nor was I hacking on those around me. When I got to Riga, I decided to play it smart and just rest. Went for a little shakeout run was tired from the long day but legs were ok. I came back for the evening to have a bath and started feeling like I had a temperature again. SHIT! befoe I went to bed it was now 101.3F. It's very strange that the temperture seems to come on in the evening. Well, the the temperature finally broke on Friday, but on Thursday night, my lungs filled with shit.
WTF? How in the sam hell does one get BRONCHITIS in the middle of MAY!!! My kids and students hadn't been sick. Well, I am just going to be blunt and if I offend I don't give a rat's ass and here is why, I do not appreciate being hacked and sneezed on in public places by ignorant trash. I taught in the PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM for almost TEN years in Alaska and was sick all of TWO DAYS (not counting a rare cold) and that illness had nothing to do with the kids but rather the stupid luck of getting stuck next to a turd with STREP on the flight from Boston-Fairbanks after the marathon! Yeh and that turd was hacking about too. I never got chest infections and other crap til I moved to Moscow where lots of rags walk about and HACK AND SNEEZE in public places without COVERING THEIR F$CKING MOUTHS! I don't care what CAVE you were raised in, but this is not acceptable ADULT behavior and when I see this I seriously just want to slug them and so do a few other coworkers of mine. If my nephew knew by the time he was TWO to COVER, then, no it's inexcusable behavior. My friends and students don't do this, but too many pieces of trash out there do. It seems to be getting worse too. When I was a kid here in Soviet times (not saying it was better then), I don't remember hackers and sneezers everywhere. Actually, people still had MANNERS back then. Guys held the door open for a girl, helped her with her bags, etc. If I have a terrible cough, I'm embarrassed to go out in case I have a coughing spell. Sure I COVER MY MOUTH, but still feel uncomfortable just hacking and hacking in a public place. So, if you think this is acceptable adult behavior, your parents were failures as parents and as people for teaching you this and you should never ever become a parent yourself, because you will only pass your ignorant behavior on. And as I recall, a couple days before I got sick, I went to the grocery store and some old hag was hacking up a storm all over and around the food! Seriously, WTF is wrong with people like this? I'm not even going to give her break for being an old hag, quite the contrary, a GROWN ADULT SHOULD KNOW BETTER! If I walked into the green grocer's in almost any other CIVILIZED country hacking up a storm near the food, I guarantee you someoone, and rightfully so, would say something to me! I would deserve to have my ass whooped! Hell, in Riga and rightfully so, if you hack and spit in the street it's a fine if you get caught. If they did that in Moscow, half the population would be behind bars! Furthermore, on that note, this whole nightmare has more than proven that I need to do something to get the hell out of here sooner than later and preferably buy ASAP in Riga. I'm considering selling myself into nanny slavery for 6 months because that would give me enough + my savings to finally BUY a place in Riga. I'd be miserable as holy hell those 6 months (I'm talking full time governess where you can't have a damn life), but it would be a means to a better end sooner than later.
So, back to Riga. Bed rest all day Friday, I declined an invite to a friend's because I didn't want to risk getting anyone sick and wouldn't do anything social til I'd been temperature free for at least 24 hours so as not to be contagious. Saturday, my horrific headache FINALLY cleared and I had been temperature free for a day. The cough was still no big deal and back to dry. I met with Signis, our team captain from VSK Noskrien- one of the if not the largest running club in Latvia. I have quite a few friends in the club and it's a great bunch of positive people. I told him things were really bad and I'm really in no condition to run a marathon as my body has been fighting some crap all week and my temperature broke only a day earlier. He said to just do what I could. If not for the team, I would have either just DNSed or done like my coach advised and run 20k or so easy then drop out to avoid ruining my reputation with a horrific result next to my name. Well, these were nice people and even though I felt totally and completely like shit, I couldn't screw them over by not running. So, I decided to snadbag it just to finish. That's actually ther motto- The goal is not to win but to finish. They had a nice pasta party for the club the night before and MAN there was no shortage of food. I did not go home hungry and got to see some familiar faces.
The snail rocks!!!
The course was 2 loops and to be honest after I finished the first one just past the halfway point, I just wanted to drop for the sake of my health and yeah, not to have some pitiful performance next to my name. My coach said I absolutely should have dropped because I was still so tired from the bug I had had. My lungs did have crap in them, not totally congested, but crap was there making breathing a bitch.It was sort of like breathing through a straw. I just settled into one even pace where I could still run somewhat comfortably to finish which would be fine for a TRAINING MARATHON in a 100k buildup but NOT FOR A PEAK RACE coming off a 1:25 half 2 weeks earlier!!! It was just basically a sufferfest. Again, back to Dante's Inferno- flat, fast course in a familiar place, perfect weather, trained and peaked, but can't run worth a damn!The weather was good-overcast not too hot and the course was flat and fast as they had cut a lot of the sections that had terrible cobbles. This was supposed to be MY DAY and I had been totally ROBBED! I was angry as hell! I also needed this race to qualify for elite start in Chicago this fall because I actually wanted to do it after having had a 2 yr break from it. That is now out of the question too unless they will take a 50k time. They had a really cool section called the culture kilometer with live music and people dressed in national costume. I just wish I had been up to DOING MY JOB that day. Never in my career had I gotten sick right before a peak race. I'va had colds 2 weeks out actually had one 10 days before my marathon PR, b ut this is the sickest I have been since childhood and I didn't get sick much as a kid either!Our team ended up finishing second in the standings.The fact that I was a good 30-35 min off of where I otherwise should have been wouldn't have made the difference for the win otherwise I'd have felt even worse.
So off to Vilnius I was that evening for the visa run the next day. My lungs were still not so bad and I was tired from the race the next day but not sore (probably because I ran so pathetically slowly). I dropped my documents off Monday morning and had my visa in the late afternoon.
That's when my health went south- within a day of getting back to Moscow, my lungs filled completely with crap and I strongly suspect the irritants in the air had a lot to do with that. I probably would not have developed the secondary infection if I had stayed in Riga another week just to get better. The air is CLEAN there. Actually, LATVIA was declared best ecological country in Europe last year and I believe it. There are lots of open forested areas and lakes, and there is lots of CLEAN AIR. The doc said it was still likely viral since I was hacking white stuff as opposed to green or yellow and I knew that. Well after a week of antivirals, things were not getting better and on the 27th (now 14 days after this shit started)I started hacking up yellow and my chest hurt. Shit...I bet I need antibiotics :( Yup stayed home from work because I felt like super shit again. Wednesday and Thursday I was feeling better but still no progress on the chest and the doc said ...yup amoxicillin time. Anything viral in me rarely lasts more then 7 days so I knew something was really WRONG. I hadn't had a temperature though since the first week of this mess. A cold is 3-5 days max and once a yr and some years I don't even get them. So on the 30th I started the antibiotics and within 24 hours my lungs began to clear and on day 2 they were almost totally clear save for a few leftovers to hack up. I am still exhausted from 20 days of being woken up coughing wet or dry at night.
So this is how I went from being in some of the best shape in years to contempleting retirement. Yes, it's an incredibly shitty way to have to go. I'm not injured, nothing hurts BUT I had a terrible bout of bronchitis in Jan 2007 that was the catalyst for a whole compendium of problems thereafter that put me in a hole where I could not run worth SHIT for a YEAR AND A HALF! I'm 39 now and do not have a year or 2 to screw around figuring things out. I will see how June goes. If I feel I can recover in a decent time frame, then I may race later this year. If I understand that I am in a situation similar to that of 2007, I am going to seriously consider retiring. People who know me know that I avoid sick people like the damn plague because of what I went through 7 years ago and I always knew that if I had another incident like that again, it would likely be career ending. I will not show up to races and suck. I race competitively and race to podium when I can. I have spent my entire career as a COMPETITIVE RUNNER. If I show up to a race, I am there to RACE and not pussy foot around. I believe you do something right or not at all. I take that attitude at work and with my running and racing. I never do things half -assed and can't stand it when people do (ie at work). When I can no longer do that, it's time to go. I physically and psychologially will never endure another 18months or however long it takes to recover if it's a long term mess. I cannot see myself trying to come back in my early 40s at the level I was just a month ago after going through another hole like I did back then. So I am going to go away for a while and see how June goes. My manager still thinks I should do the 50k in Daugavpils in 6 weeks. I am debating the purchase of tickets as I write. I actually had wanted to stay a few days or a week after the race just to have something I NEVER GET- a HOLIDAY! The area around Daugavpils is nice and they even have spas and resorts that are not at all expensive. I'm not going to have much work in July so may as well take a mental health week in Latvia since I didn;t get to enjoy my last trip because of the shitty bug I had. All I know is that I am going to go underground for a while and disappear. I'm not going to lie, but yes, this is all extremely depressing. So, I'm signing off.