Caren Ware's Blog

July 26, 2010

Ran out of Gas…tank on empty.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Caren Ware @ 1:47 am

I actual slept 8 1/2 hours, but the grog wouldn’t leave.  I ran around the corner from my hotel and got a sumptuous mocha and muffin and took a few bites and sips…and still felt overwhelmingly in a fog. I sat on the bed of my 12th floor which overlooked the State Capitol Building and wavered as to even run the Steeple Chase.  That is what I came here to do, so I gathered my spikes and went out the door. 

My shins were paying the pounding price from the day prior. The Mondo track was fast, but the surface hard on hurdlers and would be harsher on Steeple Chasers.  The Steeple Chase at the masters level is a 2000 meters; 5 laps with 5 barricades including a water jump per lap.  The idea of the water jump is to hit it with great momentum as to clear the pit as much as possible.  It is near 4 feet deep at the base and tapers to 2 inches over 12 feet out.  So I treat it like a long jump…if  I hit the top of the steeple smack on.  The barricades, unlike hurdles, do not fall down when you hit them .YOU FALL DOWN! It is a combined endurance, speed, agility obstacle course that someone made up to simulate the cross-country courses where athletes jumped over hedges and ran through bogs.  

Warmed up, sweat dripping, and ready to go ,I lined up with 15 other well-trained and fit athletic women.  The World Record was shattered that day in that pack and it wasn’t me!  No amount of caffeine was going to eradicate the past six months.  I leaned forward and forged with them when the gun went off, but I knew it just wasn’t in me.  I hung with them for one lap, could feel my lungs start to act up, could feel the Achilles start to scream pressing over the water jump and landing off of each steeple, and I said, NAY.  Never in my life have I ever ‘given up” and it all seemed so elrelative as I rounded the bend for the second lap.  I trotted off to the side.  The officials raced over,  grabbed my number, and wrote DNF on their clipboards.   

Oddly, I didn’t feel defeated when I pulled up on the track.  I felt resolved.  I just didn’t feel like pushing myself that hard.  I just didn’t feel like doing it.  So I didn’t. I strolled along the outside lane of the track, picked up my racing flats, and walked out the check in gate and onto a new day.  

I undeclared my remaining event, changed my flight,said good-bye to some choice friends I have made over the years of track, and left the competition.  I drove back to the hotel, let the valet open my car door for me, stepped into the inviting lobby, took the elevator to the 12th floor, said my respects to the govenator, drew the blinds, crawled into my bed, and threw the covers over my head.  It was the middle of the day.  

Rachel Guest. USA Olympic Caliber Pentathlete

BJ. Canada's National Heptathlete

Karen Steen. Best Steeple Chaser. Sidelined with an injury

I made a few business calls in the unbusy Sacramento airport.  I was the last to board.  My seat ended up being the very last seat furthest back.  A gentleman in business attire gathered his paperwork, stood up, and let me plop next to the window.  I was still in my running shorts and I stuck to the vinynal.  This seat felt symbolic of my attempt at the track meet.  Being last, seating last just wasn’t an issue.  It didn’t define me.  And there was something revolutionary and victorious about this simple fact. I won resolve today and that was a bigger medal around my heart than a podium.   

I glanced at the paperwork the gentleman was highlighting.  They were medical journals for asthma and respiratory issues.  He was a pulmonary doctor.  We had a flight conversation about what my newly developing breathing issues were.  He pointed out some tests I should have set up because I sounded like I had developed athlete’s asthma. He said checking for vitamin D deficiency was a good idea and beefing up the fish oils.  (Moxxor qualified!) My window allowed me to look over the central valley of California.  It was filled with brown gunky air.  The voice next to me commented. “You know that this valley has more asthma related deaths and attacks than anywhere in the USA.  That is why I was here doing research.”  Yikes.  

He got into his journals and I got into my thoughts. Was TRACK my vice or the evil it had been tagged?  An escape I used to compensate for what wasn’t working in me and what wasn’t working in my marriage? There was some YES to this.  But my larger conclusion: At least I picked a creative, constructive vice that surrounded me with motivated, fitness driven people.  Of all the possible vices, this, I surmised was a good choice.

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