So yesterday was the Dexter-Ann Arbor Half. **SIGH** While I'd love to fill this post with info on the course, stories from the port-a-potty lines (b/c that always seems to be where the funniest stuff happens, at least at my races) mile splits and finishing times, sadly, I can not. I didn't run it.
Generally speaking, I'm not one to punk out on races. I mean, even my last 1/2 I had been sick for three of the two weeks prior. I only started running again during my "taper" week, which meant I never got above 10 miles in my training. But I figure, hey, I paid for the race. I might as well run it, even if I have to drag my sorry behind across the finish.
But sometimes I think you've got to recognize when all signs are pointing to NO!!!! and heed that warning. And I don't think it was possible to receive any more negative indicators than what I did.
For starters, I've been keeping a little secret from you all this past week. I'm sick. All week I've been blowing off this sneezy, stuffy, runny nose; itchy eyes, and headaches. It's just allergies I kept telling myself, despite the fact that my allergies seem to have started two days earlier with my 1 year old and after attacking me spread to my niece, my dad and my 4 year old (weird how allergies spread like that huh?). But Saturday, I was really starting to feel that all over tiredness that comes with being sick. Even my 4 year old, whom I never said a word to, started telling me I felt really hot and asking if I had a fever. There was pretty much no denying it.
Then my sister called. She and her husband drove the course. Hills. Awesome. I actually knew the course was hilly when I signed up, but when you're already not feeling so hot the thought of running a humid 13.1 miles on a hilly course is far less exciting than it was originally. But fortunately, I wasn't going to have to run them in the hot humid weather we've had around here lately, because conditions were changing. Nope. Now I was going to get to run them in a torrential downpour. Just frickin' awesome.
So later that night, after struggling with the girls all day (because I don't know if your kids are anything like mine, but when they sense weakness, they attack and attack hard) just before I went to bed, I had a whole conversation with my husband about whether or not I should run. 5:30 AM was going to come mighty early. I didn't really have a goal in mind for the race except maybe to PR and that I figured was pretty much shot. So should I even bother? Maybe just run it like a training run? He was leaning towards me not running for fear that I would aggravate whatever little bug has gotten ahold of me which then out of stubborness would insist on sticking around for awhile. Me, I was still leaning towards running, just seeing how it felt and pacing myself accordingly. With no official decision made, to bed I went.
Then there were sirens. Before I had even shut my eyes, the tornado sirens were going off. In the 4 years I've lived here, I can honestly say I've never heard them except for testing and it freaked me out. I ran downstairs to see if my husband heard them too, as if my ears were somehow deceiving me. He was already watching the local news and had checked outside. Weird skies. Super calm. Totally eerie. We had a tornado warning. "Go get the girls," he said. I ran upstairs, and grabbed the baby my heart racing. He was only about a step behind and picked up our comatose 4 year old and we headed for the basement.
Once awake, the girls, especially my one year old, were thrilled and ready to play. But we had the news on downstairs and soon enough my 4 year old started asking questions. "What's a tornado?" "He said dangerous. Will it hurt us?" "Can it suck up people?" "Can it suck up houses?" I answered all her questions as softly as I could and did my best to reassure her as I quickly cleared the area under the stairs just in case we started hearing those freight train winds. She got back under her blankets and wrapped herself up tightly. I don't think she was convinced, but eventually she did fall back asleep. My one year old, not so much. She hadn't been in the basement since she was little enough to sit in one of those activity centers while I ran on the treadmill. It was a whole new world for her down there and she was ready to explore.
At around 1:30 AM, after the special edition of our local news had been covering the weather for a few hours (this stuff doesn't happen in MI all that often), we got the all clear. Most of the storm had moved on, what was left had died down. So we took the girls back up to their bedrooms. "Think this was a sign?" I asked my husband. "God saying 'if you won't listen to your body, I'll send you a tornado to keep you up all night.'" He laughed, but then said he really didn't think it was a good idea for me to run. I agreed, but secretly plotted to just run/walk it. I would need to get a long run in anyway. Why not do it there?
Back in bed I lay there for awhile listening to the monitor to my baby trying to figure out how to get back to sleep, chitter chatting away to herself. But after another 1/2 hour or so, it was quiet and it seemed she had finally given in to her heavy eyes. And with sounds of snoring coming from my older daughter's room (and beside me), I figured it was my turn to do the same. But I couldn't have been asleep for more than 15 minutes or so, when I heard a loud squeal come across the monitor. I could not believe that child was still awake. We were pushing 2:30 in the morning for crying out loud! I took a peek on the monitor screen to see what she was doing and yep, she was definitely up, but now myself fully awake and all my senses returned to normal, I realized why. The tornado sirens were going off again.
I shook my husband to wake him up and he took off downstairs to check the weather. I ran and scooped up my baby and woke my 4 year old up enough so she could manage her way downstairs holding my hand. I had no idea how long those sirens were going off before Madelyn notified us, and was afraid a tornado could already be on top of us. All I knew was we needed to get down two flights of stairs without falling as quickly as possible.
Not sure exactly where the weatherman was on this one though because when we flipped on the tv, it was just an infomercial playing. But I had brought my phone down to the basement with us so I could check the weather channel and get some info anyway. We had another tornado warning and the worst part of the storm, according to this warning, was going to be on us around 2:30 AM. I checked the time. 2:34 AM. I no sooner relayed this info to my husband then the heavy rains and wind began. My 4 year old never woke up. My 1 year old was fighting with me like a baby tiger to escape my grasp. I was praying, it wouldn't get worse and we'd be safe.
Fifteen minutes or so later, it was over. By 3:00AM we were once again in the clear. I would have just kept the kids downstairs and slept in the basement, but my 1 year old would NOT go to sleep. So we all headed back upstairs. And this time I shut my alarm clock off.
Had it been any one of those things: just sick, just up all night, just rainy the next day, just a hilly course; or even some combination of a few, I would have still opted for the race. But all of them? Not this time.
I'll admit I was disappointed in the morning, when I saw my little pile of running clothes I had planned to wear for the race sitting all by their lonesome. But when I checked the news later in the day and saw the devastation this storm reeked on some communities in Ohio and just a tad to the south of us in MI, who cares about a race? I'm just thankful that we're all ok because 7 people were not and a lot of others had their homes completely ripped apart. If you're a praying person, please be sure keep these people who have lost so much in your prayers tonight. I'm going to do a little surfing now to see if I can find somewhere to donate to help them out. If I do I'll be sure to post it.
P.S. But I must say congrats to my sister and brother-in-law who DID finish the Dexter Ann Arbor Half yesterday! My sister for sticking to her guns and her pace and keeping this race a training run for her marathon. WTG sis on not getting sucked into running too fast! And congrats to my brother-in-law for not only substantially PRing but also for breaking 2 hours at 1:56! Woohoo!! See I knew you were sandbagging this whole time! Maybe one of them would be willing to write a race report for us? We'll see...
P.P.S. I will of course be looking for another 1/2 to run pre-marathon. July or Augustish. So feel free to leave me suggestions. Found one already in Petoskey, MI up north* that looks interesting. Hmmm...vacation possibly?
*Upnorth- a general term used by residents of Michigan to signify any number of Michigan vacation destination cities located below the Upper Peninsula but north of the approximate middle of the mitten. Frequently, but not always, these cities are located on one of the many many beautiful Michigan lakes. Really Northern Michigan is a gorgeous place to visit and can hardly think of another place I'd like to be in the summertime.