To run or not to run . . .

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. . . that is the question. I am absolutely and intentionally remembering my Hamlet completely incorrectly, but there is a method to my madness.   Hang tight.  Whether ’tis nobler in the mind/to suffer the slings and arrows of  outrageous fortune,/Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,/And by opposing end them?  As a runner, I would venture to say that most of us feel the need to suffer those slings and arrows of outrageous fortune in our running career by  running sick, running tired, running in cold rain and running while just plain run down. 

Or perhaps I am the only crazy one . . .

 Based upon conversations with my running buddies and my careful monthly purusal of Runner’s World, I know that I am one of many crazy runners.  Case in point, is the past 7 weeks or so in my life post New York City Marathon.  I was elated by my run as expounded upon in a previous post so I signed up for Boston the day after New York, took about 3 days off and proceeded into a downward spiral of fatigue and illness that ended last week.  Not to say I did not have some great runs . . . 6 days post NYC, I ran a 10 mile training running at an 8 minute mile pace.  Other folks on that run could not believe I was coming off a PR marathon that is how well I was running.  I had a fever for the 4 days following that fantastic run, which I recovered from just in time for an awesome 8 mile training run  in the pouring down rain at a 7:45 minute mile pace.  I still had it!!

I bounced back through the rain and 13 days after NYC, I ran my first 15K trail run somehow managing to place first in my age group and finishing 6th overall among the women ONLY to wind up 5 days later with acute bronchitis bordering on walking pneumonia. I sounded truly awful, but I had a medal, a technical training shirt and a new running experience . . . oh, and a 10 day course of antibiotics.  I am a marathoner, I am tough, and I am resilient.

Until resilience borders on studipity and before finishing the antibiotics, I hit the road again in the cold and occassionally in the rain (I mean, let’s face it there has not been a 7 day stretch without rain in Atlanta since sometime in July – running in the rain is the new normal).  My insistance to run left me with a throat swollen almost shut, a 103 degree fever, an impromptu trip from my mother to take care of me (yes, the one currently on chemo), and a doctor’s admonisions that I was one sick young lady.  To be honest, I was run down for a lot of reasons, but keeping up high, fast mileage did not help my cause one bit. Once more, I found myself on a 10 day regiment of antibiotics and realized that I had to take care of myself because I have a big 2010 racing season looming just around the corner. 

I had reached the point where I had to take arms against my sea of troubles to oppose and thereby end them. My world became resting, resting, and resting some more which I did in spite of the fact that I could practically hear my running shoes begging to be laced up and used!!  Do you know what happened over the course of a week?  After 7 weeks of feeling nothing but tired, I finally felt better.  Could it be that I opposed my sea of troubles and ended them once and for all this marathon season?  If I had known that ending this plague of chronic disease meant so much sleep, I might have agreed to that training regiment MUCH earlier! 🙂

And here I am on Christmas Day, healthy, and pondering a 19 mile run in the morning down in South Florida to test my fitness for the full Mercedes Marathon in February.  I am rested and energized.  I have loggeed some minor miles in the past week.  I am mentally ready to run again. Most importantly, I realized (again) how vital running is to my daily life and I only have one body which I am solely responsible for keeping healthy.  Staying healthy and uninjured is one of my 2010 resolutions especially since the entire trip to the Boston Marathon has been given to me by my parents for Christmas. If my dear mother can make Boston her goal for health and beating her cancer, I can use Boston as my muse to stay healthy for her and for me.

I encourage everyone to have a healthy running year in 2010 and remember that sometimes the most overlooked aspect of training is rest.  It is possible to PR with rest built into your schedule.  Be gentle with yourself as you are unique and there is only one you. 

Merry Christmas and happy running!

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