Guess what? Training for a marathon takes a lot of time. So much time that it’s hard to keep a blog updated. I realize what a missed opportunity it was for y’all and for me to not keep up-to-date on what was going on week by week or even day by day during this training cycle–the first marathon I’ve undertaken. This has, by far, been a very busy and exciting time. I’m going to give a brief update on where I am.
I really could not have asked for much more out of a training experience. Things were going really well, but during that 18 miler I tweaked my left adductor muscle–a problem spot for me since fall of 2010 because of–get this–my car. There’s something about the driver’s seat that pulls my left adductor. It’s fine if I wear heels or boots, but of course, heels do nasty things to a runner’s calf muscles, so I’d stopped wearing them for the most part. So, I played things safe and took a week off training to let it heel. It was the right decision–healed well and I made it a point to wear heels while driving (insert eye roll here–it is so ridiculous to have to do that, but oh well).
Then the last week of January things went… wrong. Just wrong. I started to feel puny (as my grandmother would say) on a Thursday. I parked the kids in front of the TV for a full five hours and just spent the time sleeping. Got to get better for Saturday’s 18 miler, right?
Only it didn’t work. I did the 18 miler on 1/28 and it was actually ok, but I knew it was time to lay off and hit the bed again. So I did. For eight days. During which time, I became a walking snot mess and developed a nasty cough. During those 8 days I went to the doctor twice. I was prescribed an antibiotic, a wimpy cough medicine, and then, another antibiotic and a narcotic cough medicine.
That eighth day I thought “Forget this. If I can’t get better NOT running, then I’m going to run through it.” (I never said I made sense, but it’s hard when you have no diagnosis, no fever, and a lot of questions about what’s going on.) So that week, I ran. And slept. And medicated. And coughed. And went back to the doctor for a third time, where he decided I was having an asthmatic reaction to the sinus infection and needed a five-day round of steroids.
That Saturday (2/11–16 days since I first got sick), I did 15 miles out of a plan-prescribed 20 miles. It was pretty ugly. Weather was awful and I was underdressed. This was probably the single stupidest thing I’ve done since I started training. Then came the no-taper end of the steroids which I can’t possibly recommend.
That week, I got a chest x-ray for pneumonia. Later that day I pulled my intercostal (rib) muscles on my right side from coughing. The x-ray came back negative, thankfully, and, also thankfully, that’s about when the coughing started–slowly–to subside. I quit the hydrocodone and dealt with some nasty side effects from that. And ow, my ribs. Ow, ow, ow.
A week ago today (2/21) I got back out on the road. The coughing had subsided enough for me to feel okay trying it out and honestly, I think it worked a bit of gunk out of my lungs. But it was slow and painful. My ribs hurt, of course, and I think the narcotic was still making me slow. But it was getting to be time to decide if this marathon was going to happen or not–plane tickets to buy and hotel reservations to be made, you know? The next day I did a couple of easy miles on the treadmill and felt better. I also made it back to BodyPump, but I’m still not able (as of yesterday) to do the clean and press moves or abs as my ribs continue to heal. But they are getting better, quickly, and they don’t affect the running. How do I know? Because I did finally did 20 miles on Saturday! My plan had me doing three over the course of the last few weeks, but of course that got blown out by all the health issues. I’m going to have to be content with one 20 miler. Full disclosure, it was 19.4 miles. A pretty ugly run as the course was far hillier than I had anticipated (Why did I think the base of Stone Mountain was flat? Why? Those hills are massive! Did being sick make me stupid?). But the slowness of it also meant more Time on My Feet, which I think will prove to be an asset given that I had to scratch the other two 20-milers.
As for the Great Unnamed Illness, I’d say I’m functioning at a somewhat tenuous 95% right now. Tenuous in that, if I don’t get enough rest I can feel my throat getting sore again and I know I need to hit the bed. But I think this marathon will happen, and the sickness has forced me to do what everyone says you should for your first: make the goal Just to Finish. I did have time goals prior to this, and I am trying very hard to throw them out the window at this point. But the flights are booked, and Lord willing I’ll be in DC on March 16 and plan to have a pretty blue and white medal hanging around my neck the next day.