The last few weeks of training haven’t been great.
Let’s back up to the Hot Dash 10 miler on Saturday, March 24th. I started out strong in a pace I thought would be sustainable for a 10 mile (6:15-6:20). I held on for about 3 miles and then continued to slooooowwww. My legs just couldn’t move! I was mystified, really. I finished in 70:01. You guys, I think that is my slowest 10 miler. Ever. I found and hugged Aiden, a TNCer who had just PR’d, and ran to get my warm-ups. I texted Nate: “I did so bad!”. He texted back: “If you have even half of what I have, I’m not surprised”.
I came home to him in front of a space heater, wearing layers and a stocking cap, and shivering. He went in to an urgent care later that weekend and tested positive for Strep.
I didn’t show any of Nate’s symptoms. I was just running slow & my quads were genuinely tired. I wrote Jerry an email about making changes to my plan as I just don’t want to be training so tired that I’m hardly able to run 70 minute 10 mile race. Or, I asked him to tell me to stop thinking, shut up, and put my nose to the ground because I am supposed to be running tired and should just deal with it! I just had (have) this feeling that I’m trying to be who I once was, which I’m obviously not. I require a little more recovery now (I’m 34 years old and have 2 kids… I’m not 28). High mileage was good for me previously… but maybe I need something lower now. I threw a bunch of other thoughts to Jerry too.
An outline of the next 2 weeks:
Tuesday 3/27 – I muscled through a 3:30, then 3:35, 3:48, 3:44, and 3:42. Key words here: muscled through.
Thursday afternoon 3/29 – noticed the start of a sore throat and decided to go into the clinic. I wanted to get my blood drawn anyway just to make sure the fatigue I was feeling wasn’t iron, vitamin D, or B12 related. I was a little low in vitamin D and ferritin, but I also tested positive for Strep. I was given a penicillin shot in my rear end.
Friday-Sunday 3/30-4/1: Ran just once, and just 4 miles. My legs felt really sick. It was also a miserable day: 29 mph sustained winds. Nate frostbit his nose.
Monday-Thursday 4/2-4/6: 4 days of easy running, one double. I started to have UTI symptoms and peed my pants twice during runs. I read online that UTI symptoms can be a withdrawal symptom of Zoloft, which I had forgotten to bring with when visiting my parents. I showed other definite symptoms of Zoloft withdrawal on Sunday and Monday so chalked it up to that.
Thursday evening 4/6: low grade fever, went to bed early.
Friday morning 4/7: Higher fever, 101.something. Called the clinic. Still having UTI symptoms and they should have cleared up by now (if I had done the Zoloft half-life and blood plasma volume calculations correctly). Also a little nauseous and some back pain. I actually wondered if I was pregnant since the only other time I’ve been nauseous and peed my pants was when I was unknowingly pregnant with Anna. Nope, not pregnant, but diagnosed with a UTI that had now become a kidney infection. Put on 500 mg. of an antibiotic (250 is the normal dose for my weight, I guess). Friday late afternoon to evening was miserable. High fevers, shaking, sweating, nausea. The doctor had given me a hospitalization plan: if fevers worsened and I couldn’t keep the antibiotic down I was to go to the ER right away. Kidney infections can be serious.
Saturday 4/8: Fever was down below 100 and I was able to function! YAHOO! I did the dishes, laundry, and general cleaning and it felt SO GOOD.
Saturday night 4/8: Fever back and worse than before. I took ibuprofen at 11pm. At midnight my fever was 103.6, the highest I can remember in my adult life (especially an hour into ibuprofen!). I felt like an orb of heat and prayed that the antibiotic would start to kick in. I honestly wanted to sneak into Greta’s and Anna’s room just to watch them sleep. I contemplated going in to the ER (but was still keeping down the antibiotic, so decided to stay at home for the time being). At 1am I took Tylenol. At 1:45 my fever was still 101.8. On both ibuprofen and Tylenol.
Sunday 4/9: Fever broke mid-day. Oh. My. Goodness. So thankful!!!
Since then I’ve been slowly increasing my mileage and trying to run fast, and I’m starting to come back to life! Total days off during all of this: 8, during a 3 week period ☹. My legs are still getting used to the idea of running every day. I’ve done just two tempo workouts, the first of which was a 15 miler with 5×1 mile at tempo with 1 min recovery. I fell off the pace quite a bit at the end but the effort was exactly where it needed to be.
My legs groaned near the end of a 12 mile workout I did this Tuesday! For the 4×1 mile at tempo + 3x1k FAST workout I hit 6:08, 6:18, 6:16, 6:38 w/ 3 min rest and then 3:45s for the 1ks. I was so excited to finish that cool down! My mind also hasn’t been as in love with training lately. Not sure what that’s about… maybe the crazy snowstorms and gloomy weather? Or just feeling the effects of a long training cycle?
I know I’ll get stronger as each day passes… I’m also hoping I get a little more motivated as each day passes. The sun we have seen the last couple of days should help!
You’ve been dealt way too much and I’m sorry you’ve had to go through it! But surely this means you’re getting all the crap out of the way now and things will go smoothly for the next 8 weeks through race day. I’ve had some challenges this season too, and to answer your end-of-the-post question, I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, knowing that nothing lasts forever. I think it also helps to remember that even if this marathon build doesn’t go as I hope, I know it will help me in future builds.
Ugh – coach – so sorry! I’m dealing with some crap right now – just 2 weeks before my PGH half marathon (Not a huge deal, but I wanted to race it…the best I could). Last night, I looked through my paces from 2015. Why can’t I get back there? I was running 7:50s for 8 miles as my “easy” days. Now, I am thankful if I hit 8;30 for 4 miles of an easy run… I think part of my “change” is the fact that I’m no longer reaping those benefits of having the extra blood in my system. I’ve never been this “sick” ever – I’ve had 2 colds and the flu twice this past year….is it because I have a toddler bringing these “gifts” home to me? Am I more tired and run down? What gives? I just want to feel “good” every time my alarm goes off so I jump out of bed to run!!! For now, I’m just going to take it easy and call it “good enough” – I’m not going to break the tape at a major marathon any time soon, so I just need to listen to my body. I know the spell I am in is only temporary…that’s what’s getting me through. And I’m setting my sites on a strong training block for November’s races.
My thoughts: How often are you switching up your pace: i.e. running a moderate easy day? Running VO2 intervals? Strides? Even just jump rope for some quickness/spring? I wonder if your legs just aren’t in a “rut” from a lot of slower, easy miles while ultra training. Faster, targeted training will feel harder at first but I think after 6-8 weeks you’ll feel like you have a little more pep in all of your runs!
Also: last year I think I ran with a cold or some crud 80% of the time! As long as it isn’t something crazy like a kidney infection, I generally run through most things. Maybe I’d get over a cold faster if I rested, but I always wonder “how” much faster… just a half day sooner? Day? Vs. losing 3 days of base training? IDK… it’s always hard to know what to do.
In your case, getting something 2 weeks out from a target 1/2 isn’t ideal but hopefully still gives you plenty of time to rest & recovery and still run fast… I wouldn’t count yourself out of the game quite yet!!