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.