Running Free

I’m now less than a week away from my trail race in Moab and I’m feeling pretty darn good despite a little setback this past week.

Without going into the grim details, let’s just say that I had some rather grizzly oral surgery that resulted in some hefty prescriptions for pain and some beefy antibiotics to ward off infections. They’ve honestly kicked my ass, hard. Little did I know just how hard until this morning when I went out for the last “long run” I wanted to do before my race.

It was snowing and chilly this morning, but absolutely perfect conditions for a casual 13-14 miles. But, about 200 yards out of the gate I was actually gasping for air and my whole system seemed totally out of sync. I’d already assumed that I’d feel a little off because of the cutting and hacking that had been done, but this was seriously way more than I’d expected. To be honest, it was bad enough that it actually scared me a little. You hear about people having heart attacks who say they have pressure in their chest and have shortness of breath, yeah, well, that’s what was happening and that’s exactly what was racing through my mind.

I reluctantly slowed down, even stopped for a second or two and tried to get everything back in order. It took me more than a couple of miles to finally get any rhythm and relax into the run. Once I did settle down, it took me a total of about three seconds to decide that everything but the antibiotics were history from that point on. The pain I can deal with on my terms. The infection prevention stuff, well, I probably should obey that one since that was the cause of the whole deal in the first place. I just don’t take meds as a normal course of business and was completely shocked at how hard they’d hit me and how utterly terrible they’d actually made me feel…instead of better.

I can’t even imagine how awful people must feel who take a load of meds on a daily basis. They might not even know how bad they feel because they’re probably so used to taking them they simply don’t know any better. I know some people have to take meds to stay alive, but I’d bet that the majority of med use in America could be eliminated with the adoption of a better lifestyle and better diet. It’s like on that show Biggest Loser when they all say how many meds they’ve quit taking because of changing their lifestyle and how they don’t feel like they’re in a “daze” anymore. I know how good I feel about 99.9% of the time and it’s because I’ve chosen to stay in good shape, don’t take those meds and I allow my body to grow strong and take care of itself without them. And now, to realize just how shitty I felt after only two days on those things, wow, I just can’t even fathom living my life like that.

I admit that getting out every day and running in the rain, snow, wind, cold, heat and whatever else Mother Nature may throw at me is hard, really hard sometimes. But it’s so much better than shoveling in a chem-tab and feeling like crap, even when I’m just sitting around supposedly relaxing. And why people choose to take these things recreationally is totally beyond my comprehension. A good long run (include climb, paddle, snowboard, mountain bike, etc) makes me feel better than anything I can think of. It gets my juices flowing, helps build my immunity naturally and always allows me to clear my mind from the daily clutter. It doesn’t necessarily take a long, multi-hour run to do it, though I prefer those. Even a simple three or four mile run can recharge my battery.

So, once I got things sorted out on my run, I focused on making the most of the outing and significantly upped the tempo in order to sweat more and REALLY stress the system. This was with the hope that I could flush that stuff out of my system as quickly as possible. Normally I wouldn’t run a long up-tempo run only six days prior to a race, but I felt this was a worthy reason. So what if running faster today makes me a little more tired for this weekend’s race? I’d much rather be free of those chemicals than save a few minutes of time…time in a trail race that has no meaning whatsoever in the scheme of life. I think I’d rather save the time that actually does mean something…the time that I add to my life.

When I got home from my run I did the normal re-hydrating, refueling and carried on with my normal day — including going over to check out Andrew and Erin’s new travel trailer (which is another post that’s coming up!). And even though I knew I’d spend half the day in the washroom, I amped up the water intake (more than normal) throughout the day to speed the chem-flush.

Now, after settling in for the evening, I fully expected to have a little soreness. The amazing thing is that I have absolutely no soreness at all, none. Maybe that speaks well for the massive amount of training I’ve put in over the last couple of months. Even better, two of the stitches in my mouth sort of fell out over the last couple of days. Admittedly, this may have been a little premature even if they are dissolvable. Regardless, I grabbed some scissors from the medicine cabinet and snipped off the straggling pieces and went about my business. Only four or five more to go! I always tell people that I heal quickly so this could be a little more proof that taking charge of my health and living an active lifestyle is a far better choice than living chemically and only hoping to feel better. The sooner I can get all this chemical crap out of my system and all the twine out of my mouth, the better.

All that remains this week are three easy maintenance runs, all of less than seven miles each, and I should be ready to race…chemical free.


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