Sometimes you have to challenge yourself. Other times, you inadvertently challenge yourself by, oh say, going out to the Flying Saucer in Addison the night before a 15K (the Dallas Running Club’s Tal Morrison 15K, to be specific), staying out way past your estimated time of departure (10:00pm), and telling yourself it was all going to be okay because you had downshifted to Michelob Ultra from the high-test brews you were drinking earlier.
It was 12:30 by the time I left the Saucer; I was home and asleep by 1:30. And awake by 5:30, thanks to my stupid alarm. I stumbled out of bed even though I really wanted to go back to sleep – not only was I tired as hell, but my head hurt and my stomach was queasy and if I slept some more maybe they’d both feel better when I woke up again. But some of the people who were at the Saucer were also supposed to be at the race, although they were doing the 5K (well, that was their plan, but they wound up bagging anyway) rather than circumnavigating White Rock Lake, and I really needed to get the miles in, so blowing the race off wasn’t an option. Well, it wasn’t an option I spent a lot of time considering, at any rate.
So, I showered and felt a little better, got my stuff together, and headed out. I also took a couple of swigs of Gatorade and they didn’t feel like they were going to make a reappearance, so that was a good sign. Good enough that I stopped by Starbucks for a sixteen-ounce coffee, which I mostly drank while driving out to Winfrey Point, which I reached early enough to get an okay parking spot. The DRC races keep getting bigger and I'm pretty sure people are having to park out in Mesquite and walk in. After registering and stretching and talking to various people, I finally got to run, which presented its own challenges – I don’t think I’ve ever had so much trouble finding a comfortable pace. I spent most of this race speeding up to a point where I’d start to feel ill, then I’d back off and inevitably start to speed up again. This went on pretty much the entire race although by the end the speed at which I’d start to feel ill was noticeably slower than it had been at the start.
Based on previous experience I expected to feel better after running – so long as I was actually able to finish the race, which I did in an acceptable (for being hungover) 1:16:44. In fact, this turned out to be true – my head didn’t hurt nearly as much and while I wasn’t hungry, I felt like hunger, not nausea, was in my immediate future. Assuming I didn’t succumb to hypothermia, first; I worked up a healthy – some would probably say excessive – sweat running around the lake and hanging out a damp t-shirt in 40 degree temperatures wasn’t feeling too comfortable. So I went to my car and changed into warmer duds, went back to Winfrey Point until the hunger pangs started kicking in, then went to Whattaburger.