When bad days become good

I just can’t shake off this cold! It’s officially been one week and still going. My ache-y feelings are gone, and the worst fatigue has passed. Now it’s just all head congestion and some fatigue. Last Saturday was supposed to have been my 11 mile run – the longest run before my half marathon (13.1 mi) so it was a crucial run and important to miss it. I was just too sick to do it as prescribed. I wanted to have as much time as possible between the 11 mile run and my race so I decided I would make time during the week.

I hadn’t exercised for many days. I wanted to go to kickboxing badly, but even if I could handle it, it’s just not polite to get up that close to people when you’re sick. I decided to do the 11 miles on Thursday. On Monday night, I went to bed a little earlier than usual. On Tuesday I made it out to my group run and did an easy 3 miles, while pulling kleenex out of my bra to blow my nose.  Wednesday, I worked the earliest shift possible – 6 am to 2:30 to acclimate my body a little. On Thursday, I again worked the 6 am shift so that I would have time to run after work.

The day of the run (today) we found out that one of my coworkers passed away from leukemia, so the whole day’s vibe was down and sad. We had a little potluck in his honor because he loved potlucks and always brought in good food for us. I ate meatballs simmered in spaghetti sauce and a slice of pizza. I would avoid eating those things the day before a long run, nevermind the same day! Luckily it didn’t affect me at all. All day long, I was still mentally prepping for this run.

I came home, changed quickly, and headed out to the path. Doing a long run any time other than morning is hard for me, nevermind 11 miles in these conditions: I had been up since 4:30am, put in a day of work, and still couldn’t breathe out of my nose. I cut my run/walk intervals from 2:30 to 1 to an even 1:1. I turned off the voice feedback on my app, stuffed a bunch of tissues into my belt, and I was off. Guess what happened? I CRUSHED IT.

11miles

I can’t believe that even though I ran one minute instead of 2.5 minutes, my overall pace was faster. I felt great, and the walk breaks even seemed kind of long to me. Then at just before the halfway point, I had to pee. I had passed a park with a restroom not too long ago, so I turned around and headed back, only to find that the restrooms were closed for the season. Shoot! I was only half done! I usually carry toilet paper with me because it I can use it to blow my nose and because port-a-johns or public bathrooms might not have toilet paper. Let me tell you, every single bush I passed looked so inviting. The path was very exposed though, and the places that were not exposed were peoples’ backyards so I had to hold it. Around mile 7 I managed to forget about it but I wasn’t drinking my water. I actually ran the final 3 miles with an average pace that was 30 seconds per mile faster than the first 8 miles! That is rare for me.

I wore my 4-bottle belt (28 oz) and when I finished, I only drank about 10 ounces worth of water because I was so scared of peeing. As soon as I stopped running and was cooling down, I could feel my legs starting to cramp from the dehydration. It wasn’t even hot out but my face and body were so salty. My legs are more tired than usual tonight, both from the hard pace and the dehydration. After dinner, I propped my legs up against the wall for a few minutes and I’m already feeling better. Have you ever tried this? It’s great after a hard leg workout. Cool socks are mandatory.

runninglegs

I’m really glad I buckled down and did this run, mostly for the mental benefit. If I could make this pace for the half marathon, I would so happy. I’m not sure if I could have sustained that same pace for another 2.1 miles tonight, but under race conditions with the adrenaline, I don’t think I’d be too far off.

It hasn’t even been two years since the day I started the Couch to 5k program so even though I beat myself up about being so slow, I have to remind myself about what I have accomplished. One year ago at this time I was heading out to Hampton Beach for my very first half marathon. And now I have TEN DAYS until my third half marathon!

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