And it was a hot, fevered dream too, full of recriminations, what ifs, and most of all, a nagging regret that I should have tried more, should have pushed more, should have done more so that I could have ran that day.
I remembered my excitement last February when I registered for the race, the fervent anticipation of an uphill trail climb, the river crossing, the bouldering as promised by the race director. I was so excited to run in the mountain closest to my home, so near but so far, unexplored and unknown to me.
All that was ended when I stopped training three weeks before the race to undergo treatment for my lower back pain. The doctor (a GP!) forbid me to run for one week, and only the thought of the thousands of pesos I already spent on muscle relaxants kept me from going behind his back.
A few days after I stopped training, though, the first of a series of infections hit me. I got colds, then cough, then I lost my voice. I had medication for a week (another week of no running!) but the cough never left me.
On April 15, two days before the Merrell Race, I decided I would run anyway. What was the worst thing that could happen? I would not finish within the cut-off period? No problem. I’d get sick afterwards? I was already sick anyway. So my decision was final: cough or no cough, I will run the Merrell.
Unfortunately, my body betrayed me. The night before the race, I was struck with fever. When race day came, there was nothing I could do but crawl weakly back to bed, wishing I could turn back time.