Sacramento's CIM Has Hills and a Few Curves

A few thoughts from seat 8A on my way to Sacramento for my first marathon with Liam.

My goal with any marathon is to finish the training plan healthy and able to show up on race day. While Sacramento's California International Marathon has a lot of hills, the tail end of the sixteen week (it was actually eighteen; I started a week early, lost a week on the calendar, thus had to repeat week ten) plan had a few curves or in my case, a few kinks.

In the case of Liam, he's faced more adversity than one can count. He's had over 100 brain procedures which leaves him under-developed in some ways yet full of life. He suckles a pacifier as developmentally, he still has that reflex. Inversely, he shows his exuberance around women with his one good arm when he smells, or hears a female within reach as a twenty year old young man might react.

In the two weeks leading up to CIM, Liam's parents are having to contemplate amputation of one of his pinkie toes. The toe next door has also become red and inflamed. "Mama Bear" Joan goes into hyper-alert mode as any fear of infection is dangerous as he's prone to going septic. Whether it's due to the Cerebral Palsy, Hydrocephalus, or multiple brain procedures, one of his eyes has been floating to "all white."

This would tend to make any parent nervous, but additional planning needs to happen around a potential MRI due to the metal rod in his back due to his severe scoliosis. All that, and parents and Liam drove overnight on Wednesday (Dad works nights so he's used to this) to the first way point in Walnut Creek for the night. Liam, perhaps hearing his mom talk to the race director, Tania from Team Hoyt San Diego, and me frequently over the last week was "up all night" during the car ride. Perhaps he heard the "badass" blue Team Hoyt Running Chair getting loaded into their van. Liam is just like me, and perhaps was wired on pre-race jitters.

My last minute kink was throwing out my back two weeks ago. I can't put a finger on how it happened, but can pinpoint the pain in my low back. I had my last (short) long run of fifteen miles, went out for dinner, and woke up on Sunday completely "locked up." With a looong history of run-related injuries and a bad back, I accepted this in stride and figured, two days of rest and I'd be fine.

"Good thing this wasn't three days before the race", and "I'm in taper mode anyway" played on an endless mental loop in my brain. I hit the chiropractor that following Monday, then again Wednesday, but went into my second weekend not being able to stand up straight nor walk without an old man gimp or pain. This week, fear of not being able to show up was playing with my head, but hit the chiropractor's office for a third time and went in for a massage around the lower back.

The massage started to work and instead of a final trip to the chiropractor, the "run whisperer" suggested stepping it up to a run physical therapist. I have a few options there and struck gold being able to get an appointment the day before I was supposed to fly. Red Hammer rehab ran me and my gimpy back through a gauntlet of Chinese cupping, hip adjustments, dry needling, and electric stimulation. Michael suggested I go for a swim or bike that evening (Wednesday,) and I opted for a mile swim. I was feeling much better and adrenaline kicked in making for a 29 minute mile swim. (For you runners, that's a pretty decent pace for an old dude.)

None of my issues are complaints as I need to put into perspective against Liam's world. I was however panicked that over 680 all-purpose (swim, bike, run) miles would go to waste by dropping out of the race. I didn't want to disappoint Liam or his parents.

Against all those curves, I'm on a plane and fully intend to "give it a go" on Sunday. Before the back thing, I felt my training went great...peaking at the right time with my last twenty miler including faster than BQ pace miles. I was texting Liam's mom before the flight and (had previously miscalculated) figured out our combined weight is roughly 330 pounds. Manageable on flats and downhills, but we will see how the motor (me) handles some of the rolling hills and my first 26.2 miles since the New York City Marathon in 2016. I'd like to qualify as a duo, but not sure that's realistic. One thing for sure is I'll give it my all. If I sense somewhere between mile 13 and twenty that fast goals aren't achievable, perhaps for once I'll try and enjoy the ride and the high fives as I make my way to the State Capitol.

Thanks to everyone that have been cheering us on!


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