Chicago Marathon Training Week 13

Sunday, August 27: Rest
I guess I technically had time to work out after spectating the Chicago Triathlon, but I didn’t want to, so I didn’t. Considering that I’m trying to focus on quality workouts over quantity workouts right now in an effort to stay as far away from overtraining as possible, I’m not torn up about it.

Monday, August 28: 10.25 miles in 1:49:18 for a 10:39 pace + S
Blah. This run sucked. The forecast had called for a chance of thunderstorms all day, so I spent my last hour at work feverishly monitoring the radar. It did not look promising, and I didn’t know what to do. I knew I wouldn’t have time to run on Tuesday, and I knew I wouldn’t feel comfortable running a 10 miler and 7 miler back to back on Wednesday and Thursday. I also knew that I could NOT tolerate 10 (or seven, for that matter) miles on a treadmill. I finally decided to chance it and headed outside to see how many miles I could do. I’m still running with my old watch during the week (until I’ve gotten in a few unobstructed GPS runs with my new watch, at which point I’ll switch over to that one in indoor mode for my run commutes). I got 2.34 miles in before I heard thunder, so I turned around. I thought about doing seven miles and then doing 10 on Wednesday instead, and considered running the 2.34 miles back to the office to get to roughly 4.6 and then going to the gym to finish the remaining 2.4 on the treadmill to get to 7. When I did get back to the office, though, it wasn’t raining or storming, so I decided to run the rest of the way home and still aim to get 10 like I originally planned to do. I did get to 10 (.25 by my watch to be safe), but it was NOT easy. I was absolutely dragging and in a horrible mood by the time I got home.

Tuesday, August 29: Rest
Day one of food poisoning. I planned to rest this day anyway, so no major skin off my nose.

Wednesday, August 30: Rest
Day two of food poisoning. I planned to run seven miles this day, but since doing a tiny load of laundry to clean up the clothes that bore witness to said food poisoning was enough to exhaust me, obviously I was not about to run .07 miles that day, never mind seven.

Thursday, August 31: Rest
Day three of food poisoning. I planned to do yoga on Thursday, and honestly probably could’ve when I got home from work. I thought I was going to be totally fine on Thursday until Thursday night, when all my illness came back with a roaring, raging vengeance, the likes of which I’ve never before experienced. To say Thursday was one of the worst nights of my life thus far would be putting it mildly. I’ve had worse nights from an emotional/mental standpoint, but I feel confident saying that I have never been physically worse than I was Thursday night.

Friday, September 1: Rest
Day four of food poisoning. After Thursday night’s debacle, I went to urgent care as soon as they opened Friday morning (my doctor, naturally, was on vacation all week). The nurse practitioner I saw there did not seem to think I was dying, even though was pretty convinced of that fact. I honestly went expecting to get admitted to the hospital. I have access to a tele-doc service through my health benefits at work and had called them Thursday night to see if I needed to go to the ER, and was told by them as well that I was probably fine. I suppose I should be thankful that no one seemed to be overly alarmed, and I am thankful for that if I’m being completely honest, but the whole experience also left me feeling super invalidated. I’ve had stomach bugs before, but never, ever this bad. The severity of my symptoms, along with the fact that no one I had contact with had contracted anything, had me convinced that was something much bigger than your average virus, and I was seriously concerned about what was happening. To not see that concern echoed back from medical professionals, even if it really didn’t need to be, made me feel belittled and unheard.

Saturday, September 2: Rest
I suppose it goes without saying, but obviously, after consuming approximately three calories over the course of four days (and eliminating most of them with such speed that I can’t imagine more than one and a half of them ever hit my system in the first place), I did not think it would be wise, appropriate, or even possible to attempt to run 18 miles on Saturday. Back on Tuesday, when I was young and naive and under the impression that stomach bugs knocked you out for 24 hours, left you queasy for the following 24, and were nothing but a distant memory by the third 24, I had doubts about my ability to do 18, but thought I could maybe attempt seven to make up for the ones I missed on Wednesday, or 10 if the seven went well. It became exceedingly clear to me Thursday night that I would not be doing any sort of running at all on Saturday, so I moped and felt sorry for myself instead, as I am apt to do when circumstances beyond my control keep me from a long run.

WHELP. This was, quite clearly, not the last build week before peak week that I envisioned, to say the least. I have a lot of feelings about this past week. Part of me is unconcerned. I know missing a week of training, even a build week, even a big build week, is not the end of the world. I know there are physical benefits to this week, of course, but I also know that a huge part of this week is mental: proving to yourself that you can run a lot of miles in a week and that you can cap it off with 18 at the end. I’ve proved that to myself four times before, so I don’t doubt my ability to do it (though we’ll see what kind of tune I’m singing in two weeks when the 20 miler rolls around). Part of me is TERRIFIED. I’ve only gotten sick during training once before, and it was with a cold, so I was able to stay moderately active–and, more importantly, was able to keep eating and drinking normally. I’ve never had a stomach bug while trying to train for a marathon, and while I’m not all that concerned about the physical gains I didn’t get this week, I am VERY concerned about the physical losses I endured this week. I don’t have a scale, so I don’t know numbers, but I’m confident that I lost a fair amount of water weight this week, as has always been the case in the past for me when it comes to stomach bugs. Even more, I’m VERY concerned about how little I ate last week. From Tuesday on, I subsisted on nibbles of easily digestible foods, only a very small number of which made a successful, normal journey from end to end. I’m concerned about what kind of impact this will have on my energy levels and ability to train this week for sure. Part of me is at a loss and doesn’t know where to go from here. I emailed Leah, the training manager for CARA, the day I got sick to solicit her advice on what to do with the 18 miler. She said if I was all the way better, I could try to do it, but needed to go in understanding that there was a very good chance I wouldn’t make it through all 18 miles and to be okay with that. She also said if I didn’t get the 18 in, that I could treat this as a cutback week (uh, yeah, I’d say so) and next week as a build week, doing maybe 16 or 17 on Saturday instead of the scheduled 14. But am I even going to be able to do that? As I write this on Friday evening, I still can’t fathom doing anything more than like a 10 minute run/walk. I don’t know how quickly my strength and energy (and, you know, health in general) will return, so I don’t have a CLUE what I’m going to do or be able to do in the upcoming week, and that concerns me. And finally, part of me is just pissed off. I have no idea where this bug came from. I’m pissed off that I don’t know what it is, I’m pissed off that I don’t know how I got it, and I’m pissed off that it’s taking me so. freaking. long. to get better. I didn’t think I’d be seeing a light at the end of the tunnel by now–I thought I’d be long out of the tunnel, throwing up two middle fingers at the tunnel, taunting to the tunnel for thinking it could conquer me. But instead, I’m still most definitely in it, without even the slightest pinprick of light in the distance, and that makes me RAGEY.

Though at least I definitely don’t think I’m flirting with overtraining after this week.

4 thoughts on “Chicago Marathon Training Week 13

  1. Ugh, so sorry to hear this took you out of commission for so long 😦 In my experience, the peak of a stomach bug lasts like 12 hours, then you recover for 24 or so and then start to feel human again after that. But the fact that no one else you know had symptoms is suspect. I’m sorry no one validated your concerns. At least hearing “yeah, this is longer than normal to recover” would be helpful :-\

    • That had always been my experience as well! That’s definitely part of what contributed to my anxiety about the whole thing, was how different this was compared to past stomach bugs – hence the doctor calls, visits, etc. But, the symptoms I had this time where, ahem, *different* than the symptoms I usually experience with stomach bugs, so I suppose it’s possible that my experience wasn’t abnormal for those particular symptoms…just for me in my past experience, specifically. But regardless, some validation would’ve been nice.

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