Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday update

Ugh - it has been a very difficult couple of weeks for me. This time of the school year is always fairly (impossibly!) demanding, and I got a piece of bad news a couple of weeks ago about the health of my beloved cat Blackie, who has been my true and constant companion since 1993. The vet diagnosed him with a likely vaccine-induced fibrosarcoma - first they had to stabilize the cat's thyroid levels, which were too high, but the mass was surgically removed yesterday.

I am crossing my fingers that he will get a good additional stint of reasonable health out of it - I won't pursue further surgical intervention if the tumor recurs, it's too stressful for the poor little guy, but if we are lucky he'll have good recovery and be able to live out much of the rest of his natural lifespan. He is sixteen years old, that's the thing - it is an honorable old age for a cat, and I cannot expect him to be around forever.

Last night he was looking painfully bare and brutally incised:

This afternoon, he's sleepy but non-frazzled, except when I try and squirt medication down his throat with a syringe:

I feel that I owe Triaspirational readers a fuller account of last week's marathon, but have been unable to figure out how to write it, and in the end I decided that I will perhaps post the relevant bit of the email I wrote just now to Brent, as I feel I have achieved about as much (which is to say - not that much!) peace of mind about it as I am going to, and must just move on:
I am still in too strong a flood of self-criticism and negative feelings to write more on-blog about my marathon, but I have drawn some sensible conclusions in moments of clarity here and there! My realistic assessment is that my fitness this year was very similar to last year, and I achieved it on fewer miles/never felt this year as I did last constantly on verge of injury. In that sense I can still count the training a modest success, though I certainly should have consistently run 1x/more per week, even if it was just 4 miles. I would guess the 10 mins slower in race times [ED. 4:27 vs. 4:16], in other words, was mainly the price of the week's fatigue rather than huge difference in fitness - both times I started out at 4-hour pace, this time I fell off it c. mile 7 instead of mile 14 and rather more mentally uncomfortably, but not a radical difference. I am just not that fast a runner - not that there is any such thing as 'natural' marathon times, but my natural times with training will be still in the 4:10-4:30 range, if I want to get into the 3:50-4:10 I am going to have to work hard. I prioritized swimming and cycling this year, and that was correct for my triathlon development, but it was unrealistic to think I would continue to see some kind of steep improvement in run fitness without running significantly more and/or weighing significantly less (like 145 instead of 155). 2010 is YEAR OF IRONMAN, I will walk-run the marathon there and just do the NY marathon for fun (if I have good IM recovery, I might aim to beat my 4:16 Philadelphia time by a few minutes, but certainly nothing more ambitious than that, and maybe more like just run 4:30 for fun) - but it might be in 2011 I will really take running seriously, race some 10K and half-marathon stuff in the spring, back off a little over summer and then train for a fast marathon in Philadelphia in November 2011. Running the week before T-giving is wiser than the weekend after! I do want very much to run sub-4:00 and then make the 3:50 BQ time, and I believe that these are attainable goals, only difficult enough for someone of my ability level and size that they are not just going to fall in my lap while I concentrate on other things.
Finally, and on a brighter note - wish Wendy luck in her meet tomorrow - wish Brent a safe and happy Cayman half-marathon - and most of all, let's give a thought to Liz, who is swimming her first swim meet EVER this weekend! I wish I could have been there, but as I haven't swum for 2 weeks and am also on the verge of a complete nervous breakdown from stress and overwork, it was in fact the right decision not to register for it - but I will be there in spirit, and I look forward to a full report!


Wendy said...

Blackie is recovering very well -- sleepy but not frazzled is ideal at this stage.

I have a preference for squirting medication over pushing large pills down a cat's throat -- but in my experience cats have a strong preference for neither. However, a nice treat afterwards (much like a spoonful of sugar) often makes the process less difficult over time.

I think you are absolutely right about your level of fatigue after the week's stress and busy travel schedule being the difference year over year.

And it's good that throughout training you never felt injury lurking around the corner.

Liz said...

Oh, no, all my very best to Blackie for a good recovery! He is an excellent cat and I do not like to see him unwell.

And thanks about tomorrow! Ack!

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Brent Buckner said...

It strikes me as key to the lives of recreational athletes to maintain discipline in addressing their short- and long-term priorities. I think you did, and the consequently the running results just were what they were.

Best recovery wishes to Blackie!