For the first three weeks of training, I was challenged by the workload - particularly the 3:30am wake up calls - but mentally and physically stronger for it. Each week, I felt on the precipice of a minor injury or mental exhaustion that could take me away from running for a few days or so. By the time Thursday rolled around, I was wiped out, but comforted by the knowledge that the next two nights of rest would heal me and that Saturday would be an enjoyable long run with a great group (Boulder Trail Running Breakfast Club) filled with outstanding people.
And on that one Thursday night, I turned from the comforts of safety and rest and decided to perform in a local improv late into the evening as somewhat of a reward for my physical expenditures, a sort of mental workout. Shouting, gesticulating, and dancing, all while I should have been home sleeping with dreams of VFuel gels and compression socks shuffling through my head, further impacted negatively my immune system.
All seemed well until Saturday morning. Sixteen miles were on the docket of what was a bright and sunny day. About one mile in, I succumbed to a slight cough and a tickle inside my chest appeared. Coughing isn’t entirely uncommon for me after long runs, but not during. I completed the 16 miles and felt sluggish for the first time in a while after a long run.
On Sunday, the upper respiratory infection hit along with a 102.8 fever. I took a week off from training - and three days from work - and tackled an easy 10 miles indoors on the treadmill, safe from the dry cold outdoors that ravage a sore throat. I wasn’t 100%, far from it, but I had to do something to shake the virus. I thought I could outsmart the germs by wearing a neck gaiter (Buff, baby) to keep my throat extra warm. A few days later, the illness had transformed into something much worse and a second visit to the doctor for a more powerful prescription was in order. Again, I shut down training, both the physical and mental portions that come with it.
I’m still not fully recovered and with about 20 miles on tap this Saturday in Moab, UT for the Grassroots Events spectacular, I’m disappointed to not have my best. Weeks 4 and 5 should have featured 76 miles; however, the wrench caused me to tackle just 18.
The lesson I take from this: listen to your body and the get the rest that’s needed. Depending on where and with whom you work, you may need more. As a teacher, germs abound. In other words, lots more sleep on tap for me... and perhaps an investment into a Hazmat suit.