Back On the Rock

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Miami Miles: Week 1

My priorities are off. Tuesday and Wednesday I can’t make it out of bed. Thursday morning I go for my last pre-race run with the bankers. We trade in our usual Thursday hill run for an easy five mile course around UWI, out the Hospital Gate, down Hope Road, back along Garden and up Mona Road. Easy stuff, right? On the first loop around UWI I feel haphazard and uncertain. I’m running with Jen-Laden, the trainer and though our pace is slower than usual things just don’t feel right. Up the slight incline at the hospital, my stride improves and I put a little distance between us. As we take the turn back unto the main campus, my legs wake up and the run finally starts to feel good. We pause for water at Assembly Hall, before heading back up to the hospital. Once we’re running out on the street, the adrenaline kicks in. The morning traffic is picking up. There’s something curiously exciting about running down Hope Road wile people are heading for work. It’s tempting to go all out and only the re-ermegence of Saturday’s blister reminds me to rest my legs.

As we make the left turn unto Garden, I start to kick. I’ve driven down Garden Boulevard what, 1,000 times? Who knew it was this long? How long can one road possibly be? I slow down and Jen Laden nearly catches me. I cruise unto Mona Road and make one final run for home. I have very little left for the final sprint to Assembly Hall, but pride forces me to find another gear. Hmm. I don’t bother to look at my watch. It’s race week and I still haven’t clawed my way back to my 8:00 pace. Who knows what Miami will bring?


Drinking and dancing all night at the Jazz Festival is probably not the best pre-race warm up, but that’s how I spend Thursday night. (Thank you, John Legend…It was well worth the trip). On Friday, I’m at Sangster International, tired and groggy, when I realize I’ve brought the wrong passport with me. So I hop a flight to Kingston and change my ticket to fly out from Norman Manley Saturday morning. So do I spend Friday night resting quietly at home? Of course not. RM and I down a cue each at Port Royal and then head off to a birthday party. It’s unusually cold and wind whips us mercilessly as we enter his friend’s house. Five minutes later, I start to itch. This isn’t exactly proper dinner party behaviour. As I struggle to scratch my neck, my arms, my legs discreetly, I realize I’m not the only one doing it.

“Cow itch,” our host proclaims, handing me a bottle of rubbing alcohol. What the hell is cow itch? “It’s not a big deal,” he says. “They’re little seeds with barbs on them that get carried my wind. It’ll wear off in a few days.” A few days? I glare balefully at RM, seized with visions of running 13.1 miles scratching myself silly.

Rubbing alcohol into my skin does nothing for the itching. Drinking alcohol is much more effective. Several vodka tonics (and one very long hot shower later) I’m calm enough to go to sleep. But not for long. A few hours later it’s time to get up and before I know it I’m at Norman Manley, heading for Miami.


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