Illness While Training

Illness has been brutally kicking my butt for the past two and a half weeks. First I got mastitis, which was down right terrible! I went on antibiotics and limped through life for a couple of days. The flu-like symptoms (joint pain, ridiculous headache, and extreme exhaustion) were enough, but even when I felt better, I was still unable to do much running due to the pain in my breast. Then, joy of all joys, I developed thrush from the antibiotics. And, as soon as that was all cleared up I dealt with another round of mastitis on the other side — just to even things out I guess! I’ve spent 5 out of the last 14 days IN BED and the rest of the time I’ve been wondering around like a zombie.

My marathon is in 12 days. THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO BE SICK!

I was finally feeling well enough to run yesterday, but I’m so lost in my training plan that I wasn’t sure what to do. Do I try to get in some of the key workouts I missed? Do I just do what’s scheduled for the day? Do I double up? Gaaaaa! In the last few weeks when I was able to run I did nothing more than a few easy miles here and there, less for fitness and more for sanity.  My training calendar called for intervals, but I missed out on my long run over the weekend, so I had to decide which workout would be more beneficial. I figured working on endurance and hills, especially after taking it easy for so many days in a row would probably be the wisest choice. I went with 4 miles moderate, 7 miles at threshold pace, 3 miles easy. I did this on the road so I’d have both sun exposure and hills. I think I did okay!

The problem with illness while training for a marathon is that the training schedules aren’t set up for it.  There is little wiggle room, and when you are forced to slow down it allows the opportunity for doubt to creep in. And doubt can be just as debilitating as an injury or illness.

I hit a hill at mile 7, almost an hour into my run and my Garmin was telling me that my pace was slowing considerably. I had more than 4 more miles to go at this pace. I’d have 23 more miles to go in a race. My legs hurt. I wasn’t coordinated enough to get my nutrition packets out and deal with water and run at pace at the same time. I wasn’t prepared for hills. It was warmer than I had anticipated. I took too much time off. I wasn’t ready.

Yup, self-doubt was taking over. Half way through mile 8 I had to give myself a bit of a pep-talk. There’s no room for doubt in marathon training. Fear locks up your muscles and keeps you from doing your best. I have to come to terms with my own fitness and health; I’ve put in the training and I’ve dealt with a few health issues along the way, but I will be okay. I need to be honest with myself and be real with myself about what I’m truly capable of accomplishing; I’ve set a realistic goal. While it’s not a goal I want, it’s a goal I need and one that can realistically be attained.

My slump was short lived and I made it through the rest of my workout just fine. I won’t lie; I’m still a little nervous about race day. I’m nervous that my infection won’t totally clear or return between now and then. I’m nervous about all those long miles. But, I know I’ve done them before and I’m very prepared to do them again.

Now, only positive thoughts for the next two weeks!



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