Saturday, March 15, 2008

Down, but not out

One of the mixed blessings of being a committed distance runner (hold the puns, please) is the sense of invincibility that comes from consistently pushing oneself into new realms of accomplishment. Each time you move the line on what was a previous limitation, you feel a sense of accomplishment and possibility. That's got to be the main reason that the sport is so addictive: the faster and longer you run, the faster and longer you want to run.

Well, I took that sense of invincibility with me into Week #7 of my training plan, scheduled to be my first-ever 50+-mile week. As I jumped on the treadmill at lunchtime on Tuesday, March 4th to do a 10-miler with 5 at lactate threshold (LT) pace, something felt not quite right. Three bathroom breaks later, I cut the run to an 8-miler, with 4 at LT, while strategizing about how to make up the 2 miles I'd cut. By Tuesday night, I had joined my two youngest children with a 103+-degree fever, chills, aches, cough, etc., the full-fledged panoply of influenza symptoms which has consumed our community like wildfire.

As much restraint as it required, I said I would not run again until I was fever-free for at least 24 hours. That led me to pick the schedule back up on Tuesday, March 11th, missing 4 total running days, including Sunday's scheduled 18-miler. I decided to ease back into it, though, at about 2/3 of the prescribed mileage, and less intensity. The week has thus looked like this:

  • Tuesday - 4 easy miles (6 scheduled, with 6x100 strides)
  • Wednesday - 8 miles (12 scheduled)
  • Thursday - rest (as scheduled, but wanted to XT & lift; ran out of time thanks to work)
  • Friday - 9 miles, with 5 at LT (11, with 6 LT scheduled)
  • Saturday - 5+ easy recovery miles (as scheduled)

Tomorrow calls for the program's first 20-miler, but we're supposed to get more rain & snow (got about 4 inches of snow this morning, which is nice for a recovery run, but not so nice for long runs), so I may run for time - say, 2:30 - instead of distance. I'll have to see.

I have noticed since the flu that my heart rate is higher at a slower pace, so I can only conclude that I did lose some fitness as a result of being sick. Even so, I am glad to have had this happen with plenty of time left before my marathon and am pleased that I was smart enough not to come back too soon or too hard, which would have set me back even longer. Patience is not an easy virtue to master.


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