All of November I had two primary projects. The first was to participate in the madness called NaNoWriMo, and the second was to train and run the NOTC Turkey Trot 5 miler.
Training for this race had been going swimmingly since I first signed up for it way back in September. I wasn’t aiming for a specific time, just to finish it strong and uninjured. Five miles is the longest I’ve run in years. More important than the distance, these past three months were the first time in ages that I managed to run consistently without ending up in pain, at the doctor’s office, with an exacerbated man telling me what I already knew – that I had ramped up training too quickly, again.
This time, I gently increased my weekly mileage, ran only 3 days a week (usually), and cross-trained with yoga at least twice per week. I was basically an inspirational poster for running, and one week before the Turkey Trot I was feeling confident and excited.
Actually, that isn’t entirely true. I was also becoming bored.
Running the same route over and over was just a nuisance. I’d listened to all of my favorite songs until I hated them. And, as it was now dark when I arrive home (why do we still have daylight savings time?), putting off a run during that last week was easily justified. I thought, “It is midweek, and I could do the run tomorrow.” Then I could do it on Thursday. And Friday was just as good. Actually, I rationalized, the real week starts on Monday, so Saturday I’d do the short run and then the long run on Sunday and it will be fine.
Meanwhile, I was still congratulating myself on how well I’d stuck to my training. Karma was clearly listening to my boasting, because I wasn’t counting on what came next . . . the illness.
The Saturday before Thanksgiving, six days before the race, I woke up feeling like I’d swallowed a Brillo pad. My throat had never been so sore, and all I wanted to do was sleep. Normally, I have a top-notch immune system (thanks Mom!) so I was confident that this would pass in a few hours and I’d get out for a short run later.
By five p.m., I’d decided that a short run wasn’t that important, and I’d do the long run tomorrow when I woke up feeling like daisies. Besides, I’m only ever really sick for one day. So, I became best friends with my couch and waited for the healing to happen, added by ice cream (thanks Jesse!).
After a night of coughing so hard I thought I’d dislodge a kidney, on Sunday I was confident that the end was in sight. All I needed was a little more couch time. When the afternoon came around, I realized that walking from the couch to the kitchen winded me, and the long run was canceled.
I decided to show everyone how tough I was and went into work on Monday. My coworkers gave me lots of sympathy and a medical face mask. They then gently requested that I please stop talking, as my voice was frightening people.
Tuesday was a little better. I still sounded like my vocal cords were playing limbo, and I was still winded by stairs, and just wanted to sleep, but it was better. Tuesday night I got my wish, and slept nearly ten hours. Surly now I was cured.
And I was – almost. On Wednesday I basically didn’t talk, and instead tested out my legs with a short run.
The legs felt great – too great, actually. When I arrived home, I realized that I had gone about 30 seconds faster per mile than I usually do, and my body reminded me of that when I woke up on race day with sore muscles. Oh well, nothing to do about it. It was time to run!