Training Sick Day

I’ve heard that long runs, above 90 minutes can affect the immune system. It’s supposed to lower the immune system for 72 hours.  Last Friday I ran for the longest time in my life and last night I was sick. It’s hard to tell if it’s a coincidence or not. But I know one thing: I’m not running anywhere today.

I started getting sinus pressure yesterday, which turned into a sinus headache, chills and burning eyes by the evening. Not so fun while you are at work, the manager on duty and have to finish your shift. I knew I had a fever before I even stuck that thermometer in my mouth. It felt as my skin, muscles, joints and bones were aching. With a 101.7 temperature I guess it was normal.

Thankfully I don’t have any major runs this week. It was the easier week with a 8 miles at tempo and a 12 mile run remaining. I might go for an easy run tomorrow before I go in for an overnight shift, same for Friday. I think for once I won’t worry much about the training plan. My body needs a chance to recover and while I feel better I still have low grade fever (around 99F).

One thing I’ve learned and keep on learning from running is to listen to your body. I don’t necessarily listen to the above/below the throat rule. I’ve run within 24h of being fever free from the flu and felt great. Heck if you ask me I’ll tell you it made me recover faster. But while this sinus infection is above the throat I could tell my body needed a rest. And that’s ok with me.

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Resuming Training After a Break

I found this great information on <u>Runner’s World Complete Book of Women’s Running</u> and thought I would share. When I was side lined in October, it was one of those things I wish I had known. We all get hurt, get sick or have to take a break at some point. It’s hard when you are a dedicated runner, but harder is this fear of not being able to run again or even how to ease back into it.

So here is a simple set of rules to follow based on how much time was taken off running.

  • 1 week off: Resume at previous distance
  • 2 weeks off: Resume at half of previous distance
  • 3 weeks off: Resume at one quarter of the previous distance
  • 4 weeks off or more: Start from scratch with the alternate walk/run.

It may seem hard to cut back, but ultimately your body will thank you. And remember that even if you start over, you will likely catch up much faster than a true beginner.

Two Furry Bodyguards

I went on a nice long run yesterday. Week 10 of my training plan called for 14 miles. I wanted to do something different, more trails than the 13 miles of dirt road from last week. Something a little more challenging. If I am to run the Blue Ridge Marathon, I want to prepare my body and stamina for the several up and downs of the course.
So I tried a loop called Crazy Eight, and because the original loop is 12.82 mi I added extra to it meet my mileage goal. Since I didn’t read things right, I ended up running 14.76mi. In turn it made it my longest run time wise (2 hours and 26mns).

Crazy Eight goes up for 800 feet on a forest road, then down 400 on single track and back up 700 feet on a trail that is listed as “extreme” in my trail book. But here’s the thing, while I had to walk at one point, it actually didn’t feel so bad. I think part of it as to do with my furry bodyguards.

You see I don’t own any pets, nor have any plans to. I find dogs often annoying, I can’t stand their barking and the fact that a giant Pyrenees tried to bite me once doesn’t help. I can’t have cats because I’m allergic. So you’re not going to find me on a trail with any animal. Heck when I ran two weeks ago, someone’s dogs were running near me, playing with each other and almost made me trip.

But when I reached the bottom of Green’s Lick I met two little fellows. Two dogs without a collar. They didn’t bark, but one made some “give me your attention” yaps. I thought their owner was nearby and didn’t pay much attention, I knew I was getting into this 2 miles of hard uphills. The dogs started following me. Again I thought they were on their way to meet their owner. Well, not so much. I only met one biker on the way up and he didn’t seem to know the dogs any more than I did.

The dogs were well behaved, they only hit my legs twice during the entire 2 miles. At times they stayed behind me, at times one lead the trail. They stopped a few times to drink at the creeks, but they stayed close. I have to say, it made me feel safe. I was on a new trail and it was nice to have them with me. Not only that but I think it encouraged me to keep on going, their happy energy was communicative. Sometimes I felt as I was cheering them up and sometimes they were. As I hit the downhill they kept on following me.
I met a biker on a break at a crossroad, he commented on how happy the dogs seemed to be. I said yes and laughed adding I didn’t even knew them. At that point the dogs decided the biker was more interesting and we parted ways.

I don’t know if those two little fellows were lost or just enjoying the freedom of the trails. But I sure enjoyed their company. For a while I could understand why people enjoy having a dog with them on their run.

Do you run with a pet?

The Difference Between 6 months and 50 Degrees

Friday I ran 13.35 miles. My training called for a 13 mile long run. I’m now hitting the Half Marathon distance with longer runs to go 14, 16, 18 and 20 are looming in the distance. Scary. But I’m not there yet Right now I can bask in the thought that I ran an other Half Marathon distance.

I picked the same loop that I did for my 13 mile training run last summer. A non technical all Forest Road run called Hardtime/S. Ridge Loop. It may be non technical but it’s not flat. Well the first two miles are fairly flat then it’s all uphill for a mile and a half, a little downhill followed by a roller coaster of up and down that takes you all the way up to 2860 feet at mile 9. After that it’s a good downhill and then a flat/downhill back to the car.

My watch says the difference between 6 month ago and this week was 4 minutes. Well good. But to me the difference was more physical. I don’t think it’s all fitness. There is definitely something to account for on temperature, last summer’s temperature hit above 80 pretty much every day, which meant I was sweating a lot more. When I look at my log I started getting pains in my leg on the last three miles. This time? Nothing. Maybe just a twinge right around 1h50mns, and that was that. Temperatures were in the 30’s the whole time.

I also fueled differently: A GU last summer and an entire bottle of water. Gu Brew the entire run this time but I only drank half of my bottle.

I come a long way from my first 6 miler when I spent the rest of the day as a couch potato. Friday, I ran 13 miles in the morning, made lunch, helped my husband and his friend build our deck, saw some wood, made dinner and was ready for bed only around 10:30pm. No matter what the reason is, it’s nice to see progress.

My Body Isn’t Meant for Running They Say

When I talk running with non runners they are usually in awe as I give my current weekly mileage or latest long run. I would lie if I said it didn’t flatter my ego. Sure it feels good to hear that, but as I always say I’m by no mean the fastest runner, nor the longest distant runner. I train for it. I practice adding the miles, training my body, fueling. I make goals and strategies to get there.

But those talks often lead to an other common sentence: “My body isn’t meant to run”. Really? That’s your excuse?
I’m sorry but I’ve had to take lessons not to drawn in water, I had to take lessons and buy gear to ski down the slopes. But running? Running is primal. You learn to crawl, then walk, then run. Not by being taught lessons but just because it’s right. Instinct.

I’m not basing this on any research mind you. But running seems like a primal thing to me. You need to run to escape danger, to catch a prey, to protect a loved one. We run as kids, after a ball, to a tree, just for fun, because it feels good. It’s not because you grow a few feet or inches that your body changes that much.

So no, I don’t believe you when you tell me that your body isn’t meant to run. Sure it is. One foot in front of the other and pick up the pace. Now you may never be able to run farther than half a mile, you might never break a 5 minute mile (I doubt I will), but you can run. Anyone can run.

People think they have to achieve amazing speeds or distances to be runners. Nope. Just tie your laces, put on your Fivefingers or just go barefoot. What matters in running is to put one foot in front of the other and keep going until you’re done. When I read through the Complete Book of Women’s Running it’s one of the things I came across. Being a runner is not defined by speed, mileage, nor even by how many times a week you run. No, being a runner is defined by your head. If you feel like one, if you find joy in it, sorry to say but that makes you a runner.

Jumping in Puddles

Yesterday I was supposed to run with my husband. That did not happen. In fact I was looking outside and at the weather channel radar, seriously debating my run. It wasn’t pouring rain but I knew it wasn’t going to stop either.

Ultimately what decided me was an article about running in the rain that reminded me that I’ll have no control over the next race’s weather. It’s true. I’ve run races in the rain before. Sometimes it’s pleasant, bringing a much welcome coolness. Sometimes it’s just enough to bring you to the edge of hypothermia.

But really it was just sprinkling. So within minutes I motivated myself, grabbed my trail running shoes and headed to Bent Creek. And guess what? I had a great time. The gentle rain was just enough to cool me off during a tempo run. The low 50’s made it just fine.

I did re-plan my run going mainly on Forest Roads to avoid the slippery trails. But I did finish with a trail. So much fun! I felt like a kid jumping in puddles of water. That was exactly the sound my shoes did every time they hit the ground. I could feel the mud slowly covering my legs but I didn’t care. I just went for it.

It resulted in a great workout with 8:35 pace on the roller-coaster of South Ridge and even a 7:27 downhill on Sleepy Gap, Explorer and Pine trail.

Thankfully I did have a towel in my car to cover my seat because I was very much ready for a shower at the end of my run.

Do you brave the mud or run away from it?