Saturday, November 14, 2015

Running the Red Light

            On the morning of the Three Eagle Half Marathon, I woke up with a bad cough.  I ran it, and after the first 4 miles, I was already beginning to fall apart.  Afterwards, my body felt terrible.  It was my worst half marathon time – 10 minutes slower than my best, and about 5 minutes slower than my worst.  Yikes.  I wondered, “What is wrong with me?” and began contemplating retirement from racing.  Yup, it’s been that kind of a season.
            A couple of days later, I had such terrible back pain that I had difficulty walking.  Thankfully, I had Timber Land Chiropractic to give me several much-needed adjustments.  I also was having shoulder pain from hitting at my volleyball girls so much in practices that I was on the verge of an overuse injury and had to rein it back.  The ever-informal Polish Square Run was the weekend after the Three Eagle, and Andy and I ran it together.  It was cold, I still wasn’t feeling well, but we ran it together and had fun running for a change.
Meanwhile, the cough continued to get worse, and 10 days after it started, I had such tremendous head pressure that I thought I had a sinus infection.  I finally saw a doctor the next day and found out I had pneumonia.  I was put on an antibiotic and told to rest.  I had already been napping the last few days (I don’t ever nap either), and so I continued to.  At the same time, we were dealing with more night frustrations with Myles, who was screaming for an hour at night before we could finally get him back to sleep, only to have an early morning with him.  REST?!
            I took one week completely off from workouts.  No swimming, no biking, and no running.  One of my biggest breaks ever.  I started lifting, and pinched a nerve in my lower back, so I restricted my lifting for a couple days.  Pain is your body’s way of saying “stop” or “slow down.”  We often ignore it for as long as possible until we are forced to deal with it.  This season I have had so many caution and red flags woven at me that it felt like they outnumbered any green ones.  Sometimes you need to push through, and other times it’s better to pull back.  Distinguishing between the two can be tough, especially when you are so emotionally invested.
Andy and I took a much-needed break and went to Florida for almost a week!  Upon return, I planned to start my swim-focused block, only to be at the same time met with another nasty head cold.  I’m forging ahead despite being miserable for the time being.  I got on the bike the first day after being back, and Baya wanted to keep me company out in the garage.  She played with her bike while I rode mine.  About two-thirds through my ride, Baya ran into the wheel of my trainer and I instantly smelled the rubber from her wheel.  I yelled at her to stay away from there and her response was to cry hysterically.  Thus ended my ride.  While all of these things are very little by themselves, I feel like it has been a reflection of my entire season.  I felt like I was constantly battling something and couldn’t catch a break.  Sleep deprived, struggling to come back from this 2nd pregnancy, tight hips, back pain, 2 rounds of mastitis (the 2nd made me miss one of my 2 long runs in prep for the half marathon), and being sick more times this year than the past 5 years combined.
            I only had one decent race this year, and fortunately it was at Nationals and I did well enough to qualify for Team USA for 2016.  The rest of the season was full of one frustration after another.  Somehow I still managed to earn All-American status for the 2015 season as well.  Not sure how that happened!  And after some much needed time off, I’m ready to get back into the swing of it.  2016 HAS to be better, right?!  If you have experienced struggles like this, in any area of life really, give yourself a break.  Then you’ll be ready to come back fresh and a whole lot stronger!

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