Sunday, February 26, 2017

ABQ Indoor Championships as Patient Zero

ABQ Masters Track - fun  Not this time.

I had less than a month to work on improving my deficiencies. The primary one being slow leg turn over and the secondary stamina or breath improvement. Or, maybe the latter should be the primary – if one can't breathe properly, leg turnover does not exist.

I figured I would do what I could. No miracles were expected.

I began a few morning outings to a nearby green way (after a morning boot camp) and jogged a little, sprinted a little. The breathing was still a limiting factor but at times the legs moved better. A week after the SEM JDL outing, I went to the Middle School track. I tried two 300s before abandoning that idea. There was no doing these. If I could not do the 300, there was no way I would be able to do the 400 unless something changed. (no scifi miracle in the offing.). I did 2x200 and 5x100s and called it quits. By the last 100, my breathing was smooth and the running far better.

I was coming to the conclusion that any track distance greater than 200m was in the past.

Monday evening, I went for the social 3-mile nOg Run Club outing along the sidewalks of Raleigh. Not too bad a trek this time. I had bouts of energy for some sprinting. Well, this was encouraging. Of course, I was not running at track speed and could not really determine how far each spurt went. Nonetheless, I was pleased.

I signed up for a 5k race on 2/11/17, figuring that maybe returning to road racing might help the whole breathing endurance issue. So, on a breezy and cool Saturday morning a week before USATF Masters Indoor Nationals, I ran the Cupid 5K in Knightdale.
This was its second year but the first time for me. The course was mostly, though not totally, flat but consisted of lots of turns through residential streets. My legs were achy from the prior day's Camp Gladiator workout. I started out at a medium pace but still had to drop to a walk before we hit the street from the parking lot of the Town Park. I alternately jogged and walked depending on when energy ran out. By the time I closed on the Finish, my legs were done. As was I somewhat. It took me 33:28 to do the 5k. Slower than I would have liked, but it was done.

The next day I went to the track again doing partial 200s then talking while walking with others. I ended by doing 6x100s. My conclusion now is that maybe 100m is the max distance I should be doing on track. However, in five days I had the 400m coming up in Albuquerque

Monday, 2/13, I woke up with a cough.

Huh? I had no idea where it came from. I quickly started taking Sambucol Black Elderberry syrup, hoping to nip this thing. Tuesday, it was no better. Still coughing. More black elderberry. By Wednesday I resorted to Mucus Relief DM after checking its active ingredients on the USADA (Global DRM) site. Both were okay. I retired to bed by around 8pm since I had an 05:50 flight.

Thursday morning I was still coughing, but not as bad. I took the Mucus DM pill before leaving and I was okay during my flights.

However, once I got to Albuquerque and met my pal Angela and her cousin, things had changed. I began long spells of coughing. The other two said I could have bronchitis. (or worse). The dreaded 400m was the next afternoon. Ugh. I took one more Mucus Relief DM. A Raleigh pal had texted that I should try sleeping with socks over Vicks VapoRub on my feet. Well, let's give that a try.

The hotel and Convention Center in Albuquerque is downtown, where not a drugstore exists and the few food related stores are hard to find. Angela and her cousin and I heard of one off of Copper Ave, and we began trudging to this area. We found a small snack – food store along Copper.
Copper Ave

Maybe not THE store but close
It was quickly evident they did not have Vicks VapoRub so I left and waited outside trying to take a photo of a distant building reflecting the sun, while the other two were browsing the small interior. Three late teens early twenty folks were standing around looking bored, one bumming cigarettes off of another.

Angela and her cousin exited the store, Angela on her iPhone trying to locate a drugstore. I had abandoned the effort and we started to make our way back, though Angela kept doing her searching, head down, while crossing the street. (can't teach these kids anything!) Along the way, she related how, while in the store, a kid at the counter grabbed the pack of cigarettes from the clerk's hands and ran out the door. Yep, Downtown any where. Stash the iPhone, Angela.

I decided to give it one last shot. I would try to find the semi-supermarket I'd found a year ago on my first night in ABQ. The ladies returned to the hotel and I doggedly trudged towards what I hoped would be a magical cure for my cough. I followed 3rd St for a while until I got to Central. I followed that but I was not recognizing the area. I asked a lady if she knew of a store that might carry Vicks and she directed me down 1st. Well, okay. That was not what I had done last year but she seemed pretty positive. I took the right and walked down 1st. By this time, my feet hurt as did my achy legs, and breathing was not as it had been last year. I was ready to give it up by the time I encountered the ABQ Amtrak – Greyhound Bus Alvarez station. Pretty fancy looking in a Southwest way.
However, beyond it, down the street seemed to be emptiness and a boarded up building. No store in sight. One young lady was sitting,smoking, on a wall near the station. She eked out a negative response. It was only 3/10th of a mile between the Copper Ave store and the RR station, but it seemed so much farther!

I was happy to get back to the hotel. The ladies had found a solution to the Vicks issue: they had arranged for the hotel shuttle to take us to a drugstore near Old Town (one, I had actually walked to the prior year). So I got the Vicks VapoRub. Perhaps salvation was in the offing.

The three of us later went to the track to pick up our bibs (two of us) and partake of the track. I walked around it a few times. I really like this banked track. I would like to fly on it. But that did not seem possible this year. My attempts at trotting brought more heavy breathing and a few coughs. I could go no farther than 100m or so without having to stop. Well, I had felt the same way last year. Maybe things would improve.

Angela wondered what the 90ml signs meant on the USADA table. I always think of the police IA division when I think USADA. One does not want to be too noticeable and yet I did ask them what it meant. 90Ml is the amount of urine collected during a test. Angela and I wondered if we would be able to produce such a prodigious amount if called upon to do so, since we both made bathroom stops during the day. 90Ml is three ounces, less than half of an 8 ounce bottle. I just checked my mini bottle (8 ounces) and it is still a maybe. We had a nice informative chat with the representative so i am glad we stopped. i learned something. (How about an : I gave 90ml shirt?)

For dinner, though I was not sure how much I would eat, we went to The Standard diner, on Central, where we were joined by Barbara Hensley and her son. I decided to have wine. I think I had the pork loin and vegetables. I finished most of it. I definitely finished the red wine!

Fortunately, Angela wears ear plugs. She did not seem to awaken during the night bouts of coughing and blowing nose. My feet were slathered in Vicks under my socks.

My first event was shot put. I knew it would be somewhat of a mess since I had never thrown a shot before. Heck of a time to try, but why not? My coughing was less of a problem during the event. Upright is better than lying down. There were not that many in these older age groups so we combined the 75s and 80s. Gloria Krug
Gloria Krug
was one of the competitors and I had already heard Peter Taylor announce that she had set another American record, in a jump event. What's new? During the practice period, I received some tips from Christel Donley and others, though I could not really put them adequately to practice. I was not going to do any spin or slide, but sort of shift hips and heave. Practice indicated I had to focus on keeping this 2kg (4.4 pounds) solid ball against my neck (elbow out) and not shoot my arm out to the side as if throwing a softball. There were only three competitors in my age group, Joann Marriott, Ann Carter, and me. It was clear after the first round who would come in first in our little group.

Gloria set off throwing another record for her AG. Most of the throwers did a spin or modification of one. I just shoved the thing out there, watching it drop not far from feet. It took me until the end of the rounds to understand I had to not be tardy in exiting the circle once the shot hit the ground, because the officials could not take the measurement until I had done so. I hopped and skipped out a few times when the brain engaged. Once I had some valid “puts” in, I took a chance and tried starting facing away from the target area, turning and throwing. FOUL! Okay, that's a done.

Shot was an interesting activity and I enjoyed being with the other women. They were all good hearted and tolerant. Yes, I was third. I would have been last regardless of how many there might have been. But that is okay. This was a learning expedition.

Angela did not have an event until our 400m at 1:30pm. I got back from shot in time to still get breakfast at the hotel (Christel had also had breakfast on her mind.) I was keeping my distance from others since I was still coughing. I had some scrambled eggs and slices of bacon and, what was now becoming my standard, hot tea with lemon. I was thinking of myself as Patient Zero by now.

Upstairs to rest. However, a coughing bout hit and my breakfast decided to leave. Well, great! This was more than annoying.

My 400m was prior to Angela's. I tried warming up outside by running the perimeter of the convention Center. The idea was to slowly build up the blood flow so that breathing would be easier. As I do before a road race. Others were out there as well. I managed to run through the short tunnel area and around the curve but then crudded out. Huffing and puffing. It did not feel good. I turned around and went back inside. A good plan but not for me today.

I was watching earlier events when someone called me. My group was on its way out to the track. I still had long pants and road shoes on. For a moment i thought this might be a sign for me to scratch. i did not know if i could make it twice around. However, I got behind the group with spikes partially on. We walk to the infield area where we receive instructions. There were five of us. I think I was in lane 5, Rose Green in 4, Mary Smith in 3, Jeanne Daprano (80) in 2 and Holly Visser (83) in 1. Don't really know other than I was on outside lane. At the tine, I thought Holly was in my AG. I knew Mary and Rose and probably Jeanne would be way ahead of me. So there we are, and Peter Taylor is announcing. He says what a great field this is (yes, with Mary (National Champion Indoor 2016), Rose (National Champion Outdoor 2016) and Jeanne (National and World Champion many times over)). Then he mentions me as former National Champ. Aaargh! I felt like crap (yes, I said it) and embarrassed to be on the track today. I looked back to where Peter was last year. Not there. But then I saw him as my head swiveled back forward. His station this year was towards the far end of the announcer's platform. I think I gave him a partial malocchio (evil eye.)

The race starts. Mary goes by, Rose goes by, Jeanne goes by. I follow along, lagging, but still moving on the back stretch. We round the bend and I manage to cut into lane one with the others way ahead. i am laboring at this point I got no farther than close to where I started on the curve leading into the back stretch again. I could not run any longer, I had to walk. I could hear the fifth person coming up on me but I did not have the energy or breathing power to get moving. I watched her go by and increase the distance between us. Dang! I tried a trot but had to give it up. This was a disaster. I walked the entire backstretch. The next AG was lining up at the start and Peter was announcing their names and creds as I rounded the final bend. I forced a jog to the Finish and it was an effort! What a shameful outing, but I almost did not care, struggling with the breathing. Ugh. An ugly outing and yes, I should have scratched. Mary Smith won it in her usual fine fashion in 1:26.46 with Rose Green coming in in 1:31.33. My time was my personal worst: 2:23.64.

Angela ran her 400m, scoring a time faster than mine though she felt it was one of her worst. She felt the effects of the altitude and indoor track dust, coughing at night. Had we been in the same heat, she could not have said she was chasing my behind. It turns out the fifth person in my heat, Holly Visser, is in another AG and though she beat me by 21 seconds (oh, yes!) I still got bronze. A well UNDESERVED bronze.

Except for one event, I received bronze in my outings just by being there since there was no fourth. I would not feel as badly had I performed better. Running better than myself is my main objective (though it would be nice to win) and I trailed substantially behind myself in the 400m! My worst, my last.

That night Angela and I ate in the hotel. I was not sure I could eat much so I had a salad and hot tea with lemon. This night, I sat up in bed to try to sleep. It reduced coughing somewhat but not by much. I had stopped taking Mucus Relief DM since I thought it was making me feel a bit nauseous. I had told Angela I was not sure I could do a 200m. She had planned on us doing the relay but I said hold off since I might have to drop out. (Turns out that was a mistake. Future plan: register and scratch if have to!)

Saturday, 2/18/17. On the menu today the 60m and 4x200 relay. Angela checked and said I had a fever. I did not feel feverish but sure had a raw throat.   Coffee would help. I had some cereal and bacon then went over to the track. Angela had shot put. My 60m was at 11:45. The walk over to the Convention Center was an effort. Each day, it seemed screwy that I trudged the few blocks (maybe equivalent to 1.5) breathing like an old lady (don't say it!) to run a track event.
I went through a warm up of mostly walking, doing the runner's stretch, and some jogging. Not much point in going outside after yesterday's experience. Eventually I did a few short sprints. Interesting the way the runways (made of rubber?) were arranged in the warm up room – the longest ones were diagonal – and then there were shorter ones arranged both lengthwise and horizontal in the room. One had to be aware of where other runners were to avoid hitting the same spot concurrently.

I was running the 60m with Kathy Bergen (World and National Champ), Rose Green (up and coming as Peter Taylor mentioned), Ann Carter and Joanne Marriott. When we arrived at the starting area, there was no Joanne. The officials were getting ready for a GO when Joanne arrived, still in pants and non track shoes. Sort of as I had been in the 400, only she was even later! The lanes were, from my left, Ann Carter, Joanne, me, Kathy, and Rose. I know Kathy and Rose used blocks. I am not sure if Joanne did and Ann maybe used one as she has in the past. As I did last year, I did a three point stance at the SET. My block usage leaves too much to be desired.

Boom! Off go Kathy and Rose. I am aware of Joanne immediately to my left. I just went as fast as I could, trying to separate from Joanne.

half way - look at Kathy go!
The other two were way ahead. After getting ahead of Joanne, I was not aware of anything other than the finish. Last year, Kathy set a new American record of 9:49. She was a tad behind that this time: 9.74. She will break it in the future. Rose finished in 10.54 and Ann came in ahead of Joanne. I was 8/10th second slower this year, finishing in 11.9. Still, better than I had hoped and better than at JDL Jan 22.

We were not able to do the relay because we needed to have turned in the form Friday night. Kathy Frable and Barbara Hensley were surely disappointed as was Angela. That famous gold baton stayed in the suitcase. I watched the 4x200m relays, taking particular pleasure in seeing the W55 non-club team  of Susan Loyd, Leanda Funk, Vicki Fox, and Lesley Hinz come in in 2:07.81. Unofficially, they broke their last year non-club American record by 1/10th second. The W30 Southwest Sprinter team of Moulds, Juarez, West, and Grant were spectacular (hey -- they are kids!) with their 4x200m time of 1:51.69. I do not know if this is a record (Grant being 33 put them in the 30-34 AG and Masters records show from 35 up.) Think about this: the Hinz 55 team was only 16 seconds slower -- twenty year difference.

You could call me a fan, I suppose. Leslie Hinz's 200m prelim of 30.94 was fun to watch.  Surely, she is now a sprinter! (Leslie's prior National titles were as Leslie Chaplin. She is obtaining new titles as Hinz.)

Angela and I had lunch at the hotel. A disaster. I made the mistake of adding pepper to my chicken soup. Oh, boy. I think the waitress was ready to call 911. (Calm Angela was not perturbed.) I went into a paroxysm of coughing with asthmatic throat closing. Pretty scary, actually.

Two of the races stand out – the 90 year old 60m race between Dixon Hemphill (92) and Orville Rogers (99). Dixon has long legs and a long stride. These gents started out together then Dixon pulled ahead. Maybe halfway down the 60m, Orville began churning. The crowd is usually supportive and appreciative of these guys but today they were cheering like mad. It truly was a race to the end as Orville closed the gap and they both seem to have hit the line at the same time. Orville took it in 18.00 with Dixon coming in in 18.05. 5/100th of a second difference. A really thrilling race. Yeah, the youngsters are fast and can dazzle the eyes, but sometimes it is more than the speed that makes an event.

The other jaw dropping event was the M80-84 200m on Sunday. Bob Lida, racing phenom, has turned 80. Well, heck, he does not run like an 80 year old. He took charge of that 200m and streaked to the Finish line well ahead of second place Robert Cozzens (no shame to be second to Lida!). Lida set a new American record coming in at 29.84! @@@@

Saturday night, Angela and I went to The Library Bar and Grill on Central for dinner. The shuttle parked in the middle of the street (an odd setup – there is a middle stop and drop lane here.) The interior is lined with books donated along the way, many large screens devoted to sports (Lobos basketball on a few), a long bar, semi dim lighting and wait folk dressed in what might be termed very short Scottish skirts and halters.

The food was outstanding! I was going to have a grilled cheese but chose something else which I cannot remember and does not appear on the online menu! Whatever it was, it was good and I finished all of it. Angela liked her meal as well. Plus, the prices were most reasonable. (When one thinks that I paid seven bucks for a bowl of soup at the hotel – and this was a modified price since I did not have salad) twelve for a tasty dinner is outstanding.

We called for a shuttle pickup when we left the restaurant. Nightlife was active by this time. It did not take long to notice the place across the street.

KNOCKOUTS Gentlemen's Club. Two ladies, scantily dressed were lingering outside. There were no windows and this was a single story building. I wondered about the exits (stampede, fire?) I hoped there was a back door because it was tightly stuffed between buildings. Angela noticed one of the women was well endowed. Okay. Parked at the curb, with the trunk open and an umbrella and a chair was a sedan. The owner stood by the trunk. I had to walk up the street to get a glimpse of what was in the trunk. It seems he was selling apparel for the women of the evening. He had a clothes rack with skimpy shorts and skirts hanging in the opening and other apparel (smaller items) inside the trunk.

Four 30-something folk exited the restaurant, the man saying that people who venture inside the Gentlemen's Club have been known not to exit. Up the street from us were four or five men, with a dog. They were feeling quite well. Young couples strolled by on occasion as well as scroungy looking folk. Meanwhile the shuttle has not arrived. There was a steady parade of vehicles trolling the area. We are a bit concerned hanging out on the street but entertained ourselves watching the action. A car stopped and one of the women leaned in and spoke to the driver. The car moved on. The two women had gone inside. One couple approached the building and stared at the limited writing on the wall for at least six minutes and eventually went inside. Folly? After a good 15 to 20 minutes our shuttle came along.

Sunday, I only had the 200m. I was still worried that I might not go the distance. Would there be another embarrassing walk? Angela had the 800m in the morning. I had two bowls of cereal (rice krispys) and some bacon. Did a warm up, lacking enthusiasm. Angela had run her 800m and was going to also do the 200m. Notable is that Kathryn Martin (65) set a new AG American record in the 800m (2:44.35) to go along with her new mile record (6:01.46). Jeanne Daprano (80) also set a new record in the 800m (3:53.53).

Both Jeanne Daprano and Ann Carter scratched out of the 200m, leaving just me, Kathy Bergen and Rose Green. Rose was in the outermost lane, then Kathy, then me. Kathy set her blocks up. They were recalcitrant. Then Rose attempted hers. She kept moving the pedals but could not get them right. After awhile she gave up and put them to the side. I did not use blocks but did the 3 point at the start. Kathy finished first, setting yet another new AG American record of 34.02, followed by Rose at 37.03 and I slogged in at 43.82.
Kathy Bergen
I was able to maintain breathing along the back stretch and finished without walking though I was coughing at the end as well as gasping. That was a little too fast for me at this time. It beat my JDL time, but not by much.

I watched Leslie Hinz run a terrific 30.68 200m final, similar to her relay finish the day before.

Some of us not competing at the time celebrated Barbara Hensley's birthday with a fabulous carrot cake her son brought to the Convention Center.  Two years ago at JDL (Nationals was in March) we celebrated Mary Robinson's birthday.

This was not my best meet, but why complain? (Whiner!) There were others suffering injuries.  At least two 30-something women were helped off the track with hamstring or other injuries. One's left foot was shaking, the two supporting her had to stop; another was in a wheelchair, face contorted with agony. These were just the ones I saw. No doubt there were others. I heard some talking of pulled this or that so they were not competing. I was a lucky one. No injuries, just poor performance.

I saw Irene Obera (USATF Athlete of the Year) in passing, looking great and smiling as is her way. She is on a break and enjoying being a fan with her coach Alan.

My return home was a nightmare because of the coughing. I am surprised others near me in the ABQ Southwest terminal did not get up and flee. One lady gave me a Cepacol which I was most happy to receive. It helped a little. I also took one of the Mucus Relief DM tablets. I was desperate to stop the fit of coughing. The kind lady gave me a second one she said to take in two hours. I would be in Houston by then. When I got to Houston, as soon as I sat down in the terminal, the coughing returned. Sort of a thing in the back of the throat. I had to take the Cepacol right then, though I still had about three plus hours to go before landing. On the flight with about a half hour still to go (we were late) the urge to cough returned. There was a Wake Forest sophomore baseball player (with a shiny black glove he took good care of) next to me. He did some homework before sinking into his music. I did not want to alter the future of Wake Forest baseball! (I think it was Jake Mueller, an infielder.) Root for Wake Forest, Demon Deacons!

When I went to the doctor on Monday, he diagnosed bronchitis – with asthmatic complications. He also said I could have picked up something exacerbating my condition in the airport on the way to ABQ. On to antibiotics and a cough suppressant. Took the antibiotics but stayed with OTC for cough (he said I could!) Angela, a week later is still okay. Amazing! I have not had such a bout of coughing for 37 years – some runners I know are not even that old. (and yes, I had the flu shot in December)

Redemption may occur in Baton Rouge, but then again, maybe not.

Ciao ABQ!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Louise, you are such a trouper. I am sorry that you had to suffer so much with your bronchitis and whatever else it was. You are also a trouper in giving your readers so much detail about your adventures in New Mexico's biggest city, and adventures they certainly were.

I will look this over again and give additional comments.

Your friend,

Peter Taylor