As my vacation winds to an end, I'm feeling a little bit jetlagged, a little bit sunburned, and -- unfortunately -- more than a little congested.
The jet lag comes from 21 hours of traveling Sunday, on a return trip from Barcelona that included: a dishonest Spanish cabbie, a needlessly nerve-fraying escape from Estacio de Franca railway station, an eight-hour flight to NYC, a six-hour layover at JFK, and a disgustingly-high-calorie "dinner" at Burger King.
The sunburn comes from 27 miles of marathon training on the boardwalks, bike paths and streets lining the Mediterranean Sea, over which I saw the sun rise two out of the four times I ran during my stay in the city.
The congestion? Can't pin it down. But let's put it this way: There were about 200,000 other tourists in Barcelona last week. About 100,000 of them smoked. Way too many of them touched the same escalator handrails or tapas bar counters that I did. And I'm guessing Saturday's 13-mile long run -- after doing about 130 miles of walking between Tuesday and Friday -- could have been the nail in the coffin.
Still, I think a moderate head cold is a small price to pay for the experience of running along that coast. I crossed paths with literally hundreds of other runners over the course of four hours pounding the ground. Though only a few greeted me with an "Hola" (runners aren't nearly as friendly there), I saw a little bit of everything -- from a guy knocking out sub-seven-minute miles like they were nothing while wearing a polo shirt to a group of young Spaniard men wrapping up a long night of cerveza-swilling by heckling runners with mock-inspirational cheers.
Anyway, I'm glad my fears that I wouldn't be able to stay on pace with my NYC Marathon training were unfounded. Now I just need to keep on pace despite this stupid cold. Did seven miles easy in a jet lagged haze this morning; Tuesday a.m. I'm planning to do maybe a 45-minute bike ride plus a brief run of less than two miles. If I survive that, I'll hit the hills hard for eight on Wednesday. Until then, the jury's out on whether the whole training-while-nursing-a-cold thing is a good idea. (Thoughts? Share 'em.)
Up this week on the blog: Another installment of the "Runnin' Fool" series of profiles, plus (hopefully) a preview of this Saturday's Trail Run Challenge out at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. Also, I'm taking another shot at a triathlon Sunday -- Lake Norman will be my first tri attempt since the Flat Tire Fiasco back in May at Latta. Oh, and then the Greek Fest 5K is Saturday, Aug. 29. Looking to PR at that one. Still need to sign up, though.
Missed you guys. See y'all back out on the roads, at the races, or -- at the very least -- around the blog.