Saturday, August 18, 2007

Flying the Plane into the Ground

ORN: Sunday-Friday: Zero. Zip. Nada.
Saturday: 12.8 miles, 2:18:42, 10:49/mile, R3W1, followed by agonizing 2.2 mile walk

This week has thrown things for a loop.

After I posted last Saturday about my bout with a cold, the illness took a turn for the worse. Saturday night, the thing really grabbed me. I was flat on my back all day Sunday. I went to the doctor on Monday and had it diagnosed as an upper respiratory infection, got some antibiotics, but was still useless on Monday and Tuesday. I can’t remember the last time I missed two days of work being sick. I slept very poorly, as the persistent cough kept me awake until 3am or so each night. Running was a distant dream, I felt so lousy. I thought a lot of
Sarah and how an odd turn of events, namely a bad cold, took her out of a long-awaited and targeted race. Something like this can happen just as easily the week of a race rather than in the midst of training.

I finally got some sleep on Friday night and genuinely felt better this morning. Since the schedule called for 16 miles, I decided that 16 it would be. Hey, I have a base of fitness, right?? Besides, it was a rare, beautiful morning in August with a mild NE breeze, temps in the low 60s and little humidity. As a nod to my inactivity, I ramped back to a 3/1 run/walk ratio, which felt pretty low-level. It was a nice run, with miles clicking off in the 10:20-10:30 range, consistently.

To get in 16, I added a big loop through the Purdue campus to the opposite end of my usual long run route. With classes starting up on Monday, there was quite the buzz of move-in. Nervous parents walking with students anxious to get rid of their nervous parents were everywhere. Never mind I’ll be said nervous parent on Wednesday; it was fun.

Until the 12 mile mark.

I felt tightness in the outside of both legs, a stiffness not a pain. I worked through it for about a half mile or so, when it clamped down altogether. Simply bending the legs to run in a normal fashion became impossible. The whole thing came on in less than a mile. I debated what to do; but running was simply out of the question. I changed my route and walked home. Yet, because of the route, I was still 2 miles from my front door, even taking short cuts. So, walk home I did. I plopped into a cold tub of water for 20 minutes, took a shower and have gimped around the rest of the day.

What’s going on? I think I clearly underestimated the impact of both the illness and the week’s layoff from any running. The virtually complete inactivity of the legs all week subjected them to too much of a shock, despite the fact that the first 12 miles went OK.

Looking ahead, the schedule has two 5 milers and a 4 miler each week for the next month or two. Next Saturday is 9 miles with another 5km time trial. The week after calls for Saturday run of 17 miles, with 19 the week after that. I need to prepare well and succeed with those two long runs to establish the confidence to keep building the mileage. It’s sobering. And any marathon preparation should have its sobering moments. I have to keep the plane in the air.

Persevere. Cold or no cold.


Backofpack said...

I'm sure you were more dehydrated from your cold than you realize - illness really takes it out of you. Drinks lots the next few days, and eat well too. You'll bounce back in no time!

Sarah said...

Yeah, I think those summer colds can knock you back more than you think! I agree with Michelle, you'll bounce back, but just pay attention to all the details, and proceed with caution and care. Best wishes!

Wes said...

Maybe your body was low on sodium... I dunno, I guess it depends on how your diet was while you were sick. Taking on 16 might been a tad much for your first run back :-) You do have a strong base. Work within it and persevere :-)

David said...

smart people have already opined on a remedy. I agree with them. Better to take it easy now and ramp back up progressively and perseveringly.

Running Chick said...

I agree with the dehydration thing...especially if you were taking any cold meds. I remember getting bronchitis two summers ago during marathon training...and it was brutal! So my heart really goes out to you Joe! Rest and recover!

robtherunner said...

You went out and fought to keep things in the air despite the cold earlier in the week. Well done, Joe! I love running through college campus.

Darrell said...

I, like you, wouldn't have expected this turn of events. Better to get this out of the way now, I say. Take it nice and easy this week and maybe consider postponing that time trial till you're back closer to 100%. There's no sense in overstressing yourself at this point.

Anonymous said...

Take care of yourself! I already know of a couple of others who let summer colds go too far.

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