My life has undergone a huge change these past three weeks. Running has taken a backseat for the time being, though I hope to be running again within the next two or three weeks. As a friend said, “This is more than just a broken toe!” Indeed.
In the meantime, I walk. Yesterday I managed my longest distance: one mile. All things considered, it’s quite a milestone for me.
I’ll be writing more here on Run Nature once I’m up and running again. Until then, if you’re interested, you can follow my story on my other blog, Mind Margins.
Thanks for reading each week and for all your support these past two years here on the blog. It means the world to me.
Plans change. Sometimes we expect it, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes the decision is made for us, and sometimes things happen that cause our original intent to merely fizzle out in a rush of an expired oh well . . .
There’s not much point in writing out a day-by-day recap of the week because I was sick and didn’t run a single day this week. No guilt, no regrets. I didn’t do any yoga either. My head felt like it was parked under a car tire this entire week and running and doing downward dog were the last things I felt like doing.
I did, however, enjoy the holiday week. I got to visit with my son and his girlfriend, pigged out on Christmas dinner, and actually enjoyed taking a short break from running.
I had my first White Christmas EVER here in Dallas. EVER.
Michael and my son, Nicolas, finished building the fence in the backyard, and Nicolas also built us our very own fire pit. They also spent two full days fixing a plumbing issue. Not so much fun, especially when your house was built in 1926 and the pipes are made of clay. Even worse when the outside temperature barely gets above the mid 40’s.
So while I may have been down for the count, hyped up on Mucinex and taking it easy on the couch, at least the boys were busy.
I got a lot of knitting done.
But I digress. The subject, after all, is running. Every day since Friday I thought I might feel well enough for a short run, but the congestion in my head and chest were just too bad. My training partner, Hari, also got sick the same day I did, with exactly the same symptoms, even though he was in another state visiting friends for Christmas. Liz is now sick with the same thing. Susan’s hand is in a cast after breaking a finger in her first 54K and needing surgery.
My friends and I are a little beat up at the moment.
And speaking of Hari, this brings me to the change of plans I mentioned earlier. Poor Hari. Feeling sick in Phoenix, he took a hot epsom salt bath, fainted afterwards from low blood pressure, and snapped a rib in half in his back when he hit the edge of the bathtub. Thankfully, he remembers nothing, but the doctor has told him to lay off running for six weeks.
Our 50 mile race is in five weeks. I have no intention of running it without him — I only signed up because he asked me to — so I’ve decided to withdraw and focus on the Jemez 50K at the end of May. I am perfectly okay with this decision. I hadn’t put in enough really long runs before I got sick, and I’m thinking this may give me a chance to shake off the asthma and coughing that have plagued me for the past three months. There will be plenty of other opportunities in the future to train for and run a 50 mile race, if I so choose. At this point, I’m happy to stick to 50K’s for awhile.
So, after a few more days of rest and a new 50K training plan to come up with, which will include lots of squats, lunges, and stair master, I’m looking forward to 2013 and a whole new year of running and training.
Happy New Year, everyone!
Stats for WEEK 10: Run – 0 miles, Yoga – 0:00
We think we are in control. We schedule, make a plan, eat healthy, and put in the time. We pound hours of our weeks on pavement and trail, preparing for a race that will prove to ourselves that we’re almost invincible. Almost.
After 17 weeks of training and a second 26 mile trail run, the taper begins. You look forward to running only a short trail distance of 10 or 12 miles the last few Sundays before the race, and you have your first 20K trail race to look forward to as a precursor to “the real thing.” It’s all coming together.
Only sometimes your body betrays you. Your legs and mind are strong, your heart is ready for the upcoming challenge, but something goes wrong. What you thought was invincible gives in only too easily.
It has no other choice.
What starts out as asthma turns into a incessant dry cough, the kind that keeps you up at night and you find yourself running at 5:30am on two hours of sleep. You cough so much and so hard that you crack a couple of ribs, and the pain stops you in your tracks at mile 3 of an easy run. You realize you have a fever, your body is fighting back, and you forget your body’s only doing what it was made to do: protect itself.
For someone who spends the greater part of each day working their body and getting stronger, you realize how quickly everything can change. Even when the mind may be willing, you can’t always talk yourself into doing something your body can’t. If the body isn’t on board, all your plans come to a complete standstill.
It doesn’t have to be anything life threatening. It just has to be something bad enough to knock you off your feet and land you on the couch for a few weeks.
It’s not the end of the world. But it might be the end of what you’ve trained for.
MON: Rest Day – Ouch. Feeling very sore from yesterday’s 26 mile trail run, but not half as sore as I’ve felt after running a marathon. I feel such a sense of accomplishment today. Yesterday’s run was really good, and though I’m still nervous about running a 50K, for the first time my brain knows that I can do this. More than anything, I’m amazed at how much I enjoyed the run. I was very tired, and it was hard to keep running towards the end, but I did it, and I did it well. (It doesn’t mean I’m not still looking forward to the taper!)
TUE: Run – 4 mi- This was a very tough run today. Yesterday was nothing but a huge cough fest, which continued through the night until 3:30am. Since I had to get up at 4:30 to meet Bill, I essentially got no sleep. When the alarm went off I prepared a text for Bill telling him I wasn’t going to make it for the run, but decided I’d rather be running than sitting home beating myself up for missing my first run of the week. Even more alarming, all the coughing yesterday caused either a muscle pull in my abdomen or some cracked ribs! I know this is possible, I’ve cracked ribs before, and the pain made the second half of the run very painful. I will try to put some ice on the area, take Advil, try a cough suppressant, and see if anything helps.
STATS for WEEK 17 and 18: Run – 4 miles, Broken Ribs – 2, Discouragement – a lot
This morning I was feeling lazy. VERY lazy. I generally like to ease into my morning. I am not a morning person, but now that I don’t have to be at work at 7:00AM, and the days are mild, there’s no excuse not to get up and get my run in and get the day going.
Easier said than done.
I have already declared this to be the year of NO EXCUSES, and my friend Hari said he’s going to hold me to it. I generally prefer to run in the late afternoon/early evening. When I was working, running was always a nice way to detox from the day’s stressful events. I love my early morning long runs on Saturdays with the running group, but there’s something in me that resists starting my day with a run any day of the week except Saturday.
It seems tougher to run first thing in the morning than in the evening. I’m sure, like most things, it’s all in my head.
I finally managed to get in that 7 mile run around 10:30am (I know, I know), and it was a good marathon pace run (9:12 pace) with lots of long, gradual inclines. I was disappointed that my pace was exactly the same as last Monday’s MP run, but it did seem easier and I enjoyed it more than last week’s run.
So why do I struggle with motivation? I love running, really, I do. Why is it so hard sometimes to motivate myself to run the morning?
Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! (Sound of needle being dragged across an old, broken record)
That post was started almost a month ago, the day before my visit to the ER. It’s been sitting there, staring me in the face every time I sit down to write a new post, and the topic is even more relevant today than it was a month ago. MOTIVATION.
All I can say is, getting started is the hard part. Keeping it going is the icing on the cake.
This past month has been one trial after another. First there was the ER visit, then two weeks of broth, soup, applesauce, and mashed potatoes, and two different antibiotics that made me extremely dizzy. After two weeks of recuperation, when all the medication was gone and I was feeling stronger, I pulled a calf muscle at mile 2 on my first attempt at running. And last week, when the leg felt better, I came down with a nasty stomach flu that kept me grounded for another few days.
Cue the violins, right?
I spent most of the first part of the month beating myself up for not being able to run. My mind tried to rationalize everything, and somehow made getting sick something I could have prevented (not true) or been tough enough to run through anyway (no way). I was disappointed because my training had been going so well, and I felt like I was starting to get my speed back up to where it used to be.
When I realized it might take longer than I expected to get well again, and I might not be ready to run a marathon, I freaked out first and then got a little depressed. Piriformis syndrome and recurring ankle tendonitis derailed my plans to run the last marathon I signed up for, and I couldn’t believe it was happening again.
Then, when I pulled the calf muscle, I got mad. I hadn’t been pushing the pace at all, and I’ve never, ever had issues with my calves. Upon investigation, I discovered one of the antibiotics I had been taking causes tendon damage during and after use, and I think the medication was a factor in the pull. Argh.
Finally, when the stomach flu hit last week, after enduring two runs on a hotel treadmill after the calf muscle healed, which should have been penance enough, I let it all go and gave in. I surrendered. Out of my control. So done with the pity party.
All of this has pretty much derailed my plans of running the Eugene Marathon at the end of April, but I’m okay with it now. There’s no way I can pick up the pieces and be ready to run 26.2 miles in ten weeks. It looks like, once again, it will be a half marathon instead of the full. It’s okay, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that it’s once again just not meant to be, and I’m looking forward to at least being able to run half the distance.
I’m just happy to be running again.
So this morning I got up and ran 4 miles, and it was good. Part of feeling sorry for myself has been knowing I’ve been missing out on the best weather to run in, which is winter in Texas. It makes up for all the months of summer misery. This morning was perfect, with overcast skies and a temperature of 50 degrees.
I’ve made up a new half marathon training plan for the next 10 weeks and am looking forward to running consistently again. I haven’t seen any of my running friends for a month and I miss running with them.
It feels like I’ve been quarantined from my tribe.
As for motivation, the hardest part about not being able to run for so long has been getting out of the routine. Once you miss so many runs, it’s really, really hard to get back on schedule. It’s easier to look back at everything you didn’t get done and feel defeated, but harder to leave it all behind and start over again. You can be stubborn and feel sorry for yourself for things not working out, and boo hoo about all the time you’ve missed, or you can move on and start where you left off.
That’s why making a new training plan is going to give me the motivation to keep up with my training. I’ve lost some stamina and speed, but I can still get out there and put in the miles. That’s more than a lot of people are able, or willing, to do.
And the best motivation right now: there’s nothing more satisfying than highlighting a completed run green on the training spreadsheet. I’m a real running dork that way.
Tomorrow is my group’s 21 miler, and I’m down for the count. What started as a slight sore throat on Wednesday afternoon at work turned into a fever of 102.1 and a throat that felt like I had swallowed broken glass. For the past day and a half I have done nothing but sleep and watch really bad daytime TV. I missed our 10 yassos workout on Wednesday night, too (though I secretly didn’t mind missing that grueling workout).
Missing our last long run before the taper is disappointing. This is when I get to see all the newbies at the end of the run, incredulous that they actually ran 21 miles. I will miss seeing the joy and satisfaction in their faces, and also the relief that we finally, finally get to start tapering.
Battling tonsillitis has felt like its own marathon. I am not the kind of person to lay around on the couch for days on end. I like to stay busy, and multi-tasking is my middle name. I hate feeling weak and helpless. This afternoon I even burst into tears because I felt like I was letting my boyfriend down when we had to cancel our Thanksgiving camping trip. Mostly, though, I cried because I just plain feel miserable.
We tell ourselves “pain is temporary” when we hit those last few miles of a marathon, so why is this any different? I think it has something to do with control. Running a marathon is voluntary; no one forces you to get out there and beat yourself up. All the aches and pains that come with fever are beyond your control, and this can be both frustrating and scary.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about things beyond our control, like my friend who has been in the hospital for the past three weeks, or another friend who was recently told that her twin brother doesn’t have much longer to live in his battle against cancer. This makes my own small fight against tonsillitis seem trivial, and I know both friends would trade places with me in an instant if they could. I suppose it’s mostly a matter of accepting things as they are, and letting go of the need to control.
I know I’ll be off the sofa and running again in a few more days. Until then, I’ll say a prayer for my friends and keep taking my penicillin.