The first thing I did was to get sick. The way it happens sometime after a transoceanic flight, with some jet-lag thrown in. Only the fever dissipated after a day or two. The running nose, the congestion, and all that stuff lasted for a while.
The second thing I did - not that I was crazy, but I had committed in advance - was to volunteer at the balloon fiesta. I do that every year. It means waking up at 3 AM a few days in a row and standing around in the cold a few hours each day.
Then, of course, I went to work. In between, here and there, I ran.
It was brutal, of course, but that someone inside who had decided to do a 50-miler in Nashville, come what may, was a stubborn creature that pushed me and drove me and didn't relent. Blindly, somewhat haphazardly, I put in as much mileage as I could, when I could, and a few times when I couldn't. That weekend I did a back-to-back, a jittery half on Saturday and a wobbly half on Sunday, running early in the afternoon, when the weather warmed up a bit, a combined 26 miles of pretty gruesome effort.
Next week I started feeling better, so the short runs during the week were not that bad. That second weekend I did ten miles on Saturday and Duke City Marathon on Sunday.
The third week I tapered, more or less - I was confused here as to how to balance this out, the mileage requirements and the recovery needs, but I stumbled ahead, one way or the other.
The fourth week, after a couple of morning runs, we took a plane to Nashville.