Back from Sick Bay

25 03 2012

As if life hadn’t already held enough distraction, I ended up with the flu two weeks ago.  On Friday, March 10, I started coughing around midday.  By the evening, body aches and fatigue had set in.  At nightfall chills and fever followed, and then it went downhill from there.  Man, did that shit suck!  Despite having gotten a flu shot in October, illness ate up the next ten days of my life and I ended up not being able to run the St. Paddy’s race I had planned.  Having spent more than another week recuperating, I now find myself set back more than a bit in my training plan (which has now been completely scrapped and retooled).  As a result, I am behind where I hoped the unseasonably warm winter would have allowed me to go and have started over once again as of this past week.

But what the hell.  C’est la vie.  At least I finally feel like I am back to health and freed from the clutches of Sick Bay.

St. Patrick’s Day races always kick off the spring running season, the culminating event of which will be (for me anyway) the Mayor’s Half Marathon on June 24 in Anchorage, Alaska.   My original plan was to try to finally finish a Half in less than 3 hours.  This would have mandated achieving a distance goal early in the season to ensure stamina while working on speed throughout.  Accordingly, my original training calendar had the distance of my weekly Long Run topping out at 7 miles to end this month and 10 miles by the end of April.

After the layoff due to my Dad’s death followed by my 10 days of flu, I have now modified the plan to play catch up on miles and pretty much forego the speed goal.   Having been knocked back to practically Square One, I will do 6 miles next weekend and jump up to 10 miles by April 28 when I run the Lakefront 10 Miler in downtown Chicago.  I can’t remember the last time I did any speedwork.  I think it might have been January.

In any event, today’s run was 5 fairly tough miles that reminded me how much further I still have to go, while providing plenty of fun and entertainment along the way.  It was a beautifully sunny 67 degree day, and my iPod was programmed with my favorite 80s dance tunes to add extra energy to my step.  Birds were singing everywhere and there was a cool breeze.  Even when I was tired (which happened about halfway through) and it was hard to keep pace, I was glad to be out there.  It was sweet.  Nothing clears the mind like a challenging run.  And I saw this gigantic rat that probably weighed as much as my husband’s cat!  I actually tried to chase it but it ran away.

Workouts this past week included:
Saturday — segments of Cathe Friedrich’s Push Pull DVD interspersed with Gilad’s Express (and I’m still sore because she kills me every time)
Friday — 2 miles   (would have done more but ran out of time before work)
Thursday — about 15 minutes of upper body weights while watching the morning news
Wednesday — 4 miles ridiculously slow, mostly walking (crappy sleep, really tired)
Tuesday — nothing; I watched a lot of TV
Monday — 2 and 1/2 miles (nice pace, abundant energy…I was so happy with this run)

For several of the weeks before that, I didn’t really do much of anything due to life’s events.  I managed a decent four mile run in L.A. when I was there for my Dad’s funeral, but I can’t even remember what else might have gone into my training journal if I had been keeping track.  However it’s forward we go now and on to the next goal, no matter where the hell it is I’m starting from today.

Bidding farewell to The Admiral

12 03 2012

Seen here in a 2007 photo from my wedding on the bridge of the Enterprise at the Star Trek Experience (formerly located at the Las Vegas Hilton) is my father, Red Holloway, wearing Starfleet Admiral’s garb as he gives my hand over to my husband.  It was a wonderful day for all of us and nobody had more of a blast than my Dad.  He was not even a Trekkie and had no idea what he was getting himself into, but cheerfully joined in the craziness without so much as a second thought.

My 84-year-old father passed away on February 25 after several years of renal failure requiring thrice-weekly dialysis, most recently complicated by a series of strokes that occurred over the previous three months.  Despite valiant initial efforts at rehab and recovery, he left us in his sleep after a mere two days on hospice care.  Over his final weeks, he had faded away slowly — gradually spending more hours asleep than awake and finally not eating enough to sustain himself (while steadfastly refusing offers of tube-feedings and other extreme interventions) — and I believe his passing was peaceful.

Like a Starfleet Admiral or any other thrilling fictional character, my Dad always seemed larger than life to me.  He was a professional musician whose career kept him on the road hobnobbing with famous people and visiting exciting places around the world for over 60 years.  I wrote in his funeral program that he “came and went through my life like a comet, leaving a trail of stardust on my ordinary existence” because that was how I saw him in my early years:  always dashing off to the next adventure, doing things a kid like me could only dream of.  Then came a period of resentment as I sought to understand why it was necessary to give so much of himself to strangers instead of to me.  But finally there was acceptance after I began to carve out my own place in the world and came to understand what it meant to create an identity and goals, then bust your ass and sacrifice anything-and-everything to achieve them.

Eventually we developed a friendship that both of us found special for probably the last 30 years, one which saw us exchange confidences, give advice, gossip, share laughter and even occasionally travel together.  After having seemed the absentee father who I thought too busy to give me my due, he later showed up for every important occasion of my adult life — my college graduation, my medical school graduation, my wedding — which more than made up for the misperceptions of the past.  And we found similarities in ourselves which could only have come from nature rather than nurture, and we realized how these qualities bound us together as family:  our passion for new experiences, dedication to achievement, fierce independence, levelheaded “no bullshit” approach to life, outspokenness (perhaps too much sometimes) and relentlessly optimistic joie de vivre.   I realized over time that these were my inheritance, my Dad’s greatest gifts to me.   As much as oxygen, they have sustained me over the years and will continue to be my life force forever.

So instead of writing about my training plan and how well I did (or did not) adhere to it in the past few weeks surrounding my Dad’s passing I wanted to put forth just a few words about him, since this has been the main focus of my existence in the last month or so.  Next narrative I’ll get back to mileage counts and cross-training efforts and angsty tirades about my old body refusing to keep pace with my childlike mind.  For now, I will just bid The Admiral farewell and let the world know how I will miss him for easily the next million years.  But I will continue to forge onward in the fashion which would make him proud:  attentively, dedicatedly, and with gusto.