Ever have cold feet about an upcoming hot race?

Runners have to register well in advance for the biggest races. It takes some foresight (and long-range planning) to enter those popular big-city marathons that draw tens of thousands of runners – like, say, the Chicago Marathon. (See sidebar.)

That sounded like a really good idea last November, when I registered. It seemed fairly doable, when I put up my marathon charity page and began welcoming donations from lots of wonderfully generous folks.

Sure, I can do this thing, I thought.

This October 2018 race felt a lot easier (or at least, less hard) in November 2017. Well, hey. It was almost a year off at that point.

But now the date is fast approaching. Uh-oh.

My marathon training is well underway. I’ve been right on schedule, logging the painful progression of ever-increasing distance runs to ramp up for my first full 26.2-mile race.

Till today. Ugh!

I upped the poundage in my weight-training class at the gym this morning. Afterwards, I stepped outside for a 12-mile run – at 11 am on a scorching sunny summer day.

What was I thinking? (Don’t answer that.)

OK, I can be given to overdo my own abilities (and energy resources) sometimes.

So off I went. I cranked up my running playlist and kept my projected pace for the first 2.5 miles, even chugging up a fairly significant hill. I clocked away along the edge of a major county highway, measuring my miles and maintaining my cadence. Oh, and dodging inattentive motorists. (But that’s another story.)

Then I hit rock-bottom.

It hit me like a truck. (Ugh. That’s a bad analogy under these circumstances.)

The nausea, head-spinning vertigo, back spasms, and innumerable body part pains kicked in. My feet went numb. My hands grew clammy. My vision blurred.

I swigged some now-lukewarm water and changed my route. After a painful return path, I trudged up my driveway, having marked just 5+ miles.

Now I am second-guessing my lofty goals and trying not to feel defeated. I’m reminding myself that heat + MS = a recipe for disaster. (It’s called Uhthoff’s Syndrome, and it’s common among those with multiple sclerosis.)

Color me cold-footed, even though it’s blisteringly hot today.

I know this is something of a fluke. Maybe it’s a slump or a one-day phase. I’ll get over it.

I’m not ducking out of the big race or anything. I’m not really even questioning whether I will be up to the task. I am aiming to finish and pretty sure I can do it. But I wonder if I’ll be extra slow. I cannot fathom what sort of condition I’ll be in when it’s over.

I’m praying my body will hold together on race day, and that it won’t be a bazillion degrees out.

And I have <90 days to finish training for it.

Whew. Here we go.

UPDATE:  I did manage to step out later, once the shadows had stretched across the streets, and knock off a few more miles. My dogs wanted to tag along, so I had to keep them on the grassy roadsides, as the pavement was still like a griddle. 

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