Back in June, I declared this summer the "Summer of Sweat," not even knowing how prophetic my proclamation would turn out to be.
I did a lot of sweating for the better part of this tropical summer, as I started a "training program" to get ready for last weekend's 5K race in Tracy as part of Box Car Days.
I was actually looking forward to the big race. It was to be the pinnacle to my running career. And by pinnacle, I mean my first marathon. It's a matter of perspective.
Nothing couldn't stop me from running on a daily basis this summer as I worked to prepare my body for what lay ahead. The heat couldn't stop me. Fatigue couldn't stop me. The fact that I still don't own a pair of real running shoes couldn't stop me. My bad back couldn't stop me.
I was on my way, inspired by the thought of finishing a marathon and knowing what a "runner's high" feels like. And in the spirit of this year's Olympic Games, I even pretended that I was running for my country. It's a stretch, but you do what you have to to motivate yourself.
I could sense my body adjusting to my new schedule as I rounded myself into shape a little each day. I started really feeling good about myself - physically and mentally. I was proud of me for sticking with it as long as I did. And I am proud to say I did all the work naturally - no doping here. Go ahead, test me.
Then it hit me - literally - as a few weeks ago I found myself between a stone and a hard place - a kidney stone, that is. Pun intended.
There might be some validity to a runner's high, but even the most powerful release of endorphins can't ease the pain experienced from having a calcified crystal floating around in your gut.
Needless to say, I didn't run in Monday's marathon.
To be honest, I was bummed, even though I'm still not in the greatest of shape, and I'm pretty sure my marathon experience would've included plenty of starts and stops. I would've surely ended up turning the run into a run/walk/run/stop/bend over/walk/run/walk/stop.
Having a kidney stone doesn't make it impossible to run, more like unbearable. Heck, sitting can be unbearable. It's difficult enough standing upright at times. Popping Vicodin helps, but it's hardly a long-term solution.
I'm still waiting for this little piece of granola to pass. Despite the risk of a urinal-related accident, I keep my fingers crossed every time I go to the bathroom that this little sucker will go toward the light. If it doesn't go soon, however, alternative means to rid myself of it might be necessary.
As for my daughter, who roped me into this whole marathon thing this spring, she ran the one-mile race which made me look even worse.
I know what you're thinking - I used my renal calculus as an excuse to back out. Not true. The 5K had been on my agenda for months, and I set a goal of running it - and eventually finishing it. Training throughout the summer has gotten me into better shape, and hopefully I taught my daughter a little something about commitment. There were days this summer when I really didn't feel like running, but I wanted to show her that I wasn't going to quit just because the mood to run didn't strike me, or because it was too humid outside.
Kids shouldn't have to look at professional athletes as role models. It's OK if they do, but the No. 1 role model in our children's lives should be us - the parents. Until they hit a certain age, they watch everything we do, hear everything we say, and it's up to us to make sure they're seeing and hearing good things. I kept running this summer, not just for me, but for my daughter.
She doesn't know how painful a kidney stone is, and I hope she never finds out, but I'm confident after seeing the kind of pain I've been in for the last few weeks, she understands why this marathon man shut it down earlier this month and why I was relegated to a mere spectator at the race.
Maybe next year.