In over five years of distance running I don’t think I’ve ever struggled physically as much as I’m struggling now. You’ll recall that two weeks ago I was down and out with a nasty virus that sapped me of my energy. Then I rebounded the following week, logging 81 miles as I began to feel upbeat again. Then there was another very unexpected punch to the gut this past Tuesday afternoon when I suddenly fell ill from a truly heinous stomach virus. I was 18 miles into the week when the bottom fell out.
What was supposed to be a quality 85-mile week turned out being a worthless 51-mile week with zero quality workouts. I couldn’t run a step on Wednesday or Thursday as I recovered from the virus. On Wednesday I used a sick day--the first time in a few years I've actually used a sick day for myself. Not until Friday morning was I out again running, and even then it was a struggle as I still felt out of it.
Right now I feel tired and sapped—depleted of that something that makes me who I am. Usually I can go, go, go! Nothing stops me. I ran 15 miles on Saturday in South Chagrin Reservation with Ted F., Tim C., and John K. and could barely keep my eyes open the rest of the day and was unable to make the surprise birthday party for my friend and fellow SERC club member, Steve G. The next day, Sunday, I ran 10 semi-hard miles on my treadmill and could barely keep my eyes open driving back from the airport after dropping off my visiting parents, who also came down with this nasty virus during their stay with us.
When I look at my spring and summer racing schedule, I can't help but feel a little discouraged. I’ve more or less put a competitive time at the Lt. JC Stone 50K in Pittsburgh on March 21 out of my mind and may just forgo that race altogether as I regroup mentally and physically. I’m definitely not on track for a good spring marathon, either. As for the Mohican Trail 100-Mile Run on June 20-21, it is just shy of four months away and by now I should be well into my training…but yet I can’t seem to stay healthy. Unless I can pull it all together really soon and stay functionally healthy the rest of the way, I may have to adjust my goal for Mohican from a very competitive time of 18 hours to just finishing within 24 hours.
Running, like life, is a roller coaster ride. There are ups and there are downs. This is a down right now. It’s a movie I’ve seen many times, and I know that the ending will be a happy one if I stay positive and recognize that “this, too, shall pass.” I'm down and out now but I'll be back. From the song “Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynard: “Troubles will come…and they will pass.”
Assuming I can stay healthy, my goal for this week is 85 miles with quality track and tempo workouts. After a long, drawn-out process that gave many of us (including the service technician) a headache, my treadmill appears to be back up and running so I should be able to get in my intervals and tempo run should the conditions outside not be favorable. We’ll have to see.
My treadmill needed the following major parts: new front roller, new deck and new tread. All of these problems originated from a bad front roller that ruptured the tread. And when you have to replace your tread, you also need to replace the deck. Thank goodness all of these parts were covered under the warranty.
While I'm disappointed I was without my treadmill for close to two months, I know it's been a good, reliable machine on the whole. It's given me three years of good work. Like any machine, it needed some maintenance. Hopefully this will be it for a while because I need my treadmill to get in 100-mile weeks. It's great for second runs of the day of 4 or 5 miles.
Right now, with February coming to an end, I'm aiming to just survive through March and enjoy the spring. The thought of running shirtless through the parks, enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of the spring and taking in the sun is almost enchanting. I know I speak for almost all runners and outdoor enthusiasts when I say that spring can't get here too soon.
Aside from running this spring, I can't wait to get the yard looking good again and taking Noah on walks, and we're planning a bonfire/campfire in April (really it'll be just a fun way to burn lots of sticks and branches that have fallen over the winter from the wind, and should the "authorities" show up this will be a campfire, not a yardwaste fire) that I know will be fun with Noah and Anne. Maybe I'll invite over some friends and we can break out the marshmellows and enjoy a few tall, cold ones (and maybe some hot dogs, as well). The point is, spring needs to get here, and it needs to get here fast, damnit!
Hopefully my next report will be a positive one in which I recount a successful 85-mile week with mile repeats at sub-5:50 pace and a kick-ass tempo run.
Onward and upward!