A good way to start this story would be to say “It all started with a desperate SOS text to Lauren...” but that would technically be a lie, and there’s no truth-telling I hold more earnestly than that of the struggle of marathon training.
The SOS actually came days after the wheels had already fallen way off when I finally got the balls to tell Lauren that I’d single-handedly tried to derail all of our hard work (mostly on accident!) with a sinus infection, food poisoning, and a booze-filled weekend in the desert, all at once.
But let's back up to how I wound up in the semi-permanent horizontal position on the couch where I was until a day ago, spooning a puke bucket and the remote in the first place. If you watched our week six check-in video, you know that I was wrestling with a pretty gnarly sinus infection that threw some unexpected rest days into the plan and pushed my workout back a day. Not a huge deal, especially since after *ahem, crushing* the workout and finally starting to feel like the mucus machine inside me was giving way towards a path of normalcy.
...And then I boarded a flight to Arizona.
I had full intentions of using my running shoes when I packed them. Full! I even still did when I laid them neatly along the hotel wall by the fake leather couch that certainly only gets used as a depository for considered but discarded outfits. (Is that just a girl thing?) But I’m only human, and rum drinks by the pool, baseball games, and riding four-wheelers through dried up spillways all weekend lured me away from anything fitness related pretty easily. Well, unless breaking a sweat in a lounge chair counts as working out...
It was fine though, I'd make up for the missed miles when I got back. I went to bed promptly after arriving back home, still nursing a bit of that sinus infection, clothes laid out for a mid-length run before work, excited to put the wheels back on the rails.
But then I woke up even earlier than my abnormally early alarm, puking my brains out and groaning in food poisoned pain for hours until daylight broke. When it rains, it pours, as they say.
By the time I was able to move around normally again without fearing bodily fluids would uninvitedly escape me, I was six days, a workout, and an 18 mile long run behind on the plan. With just over a month left till race day, that felt like a wrong even United's PR team couldn't right.
This was Lauren’s reply to the “it’s all doomed!” freak out text I eventually sent on Thursday:
"If you treat your body right when shit like this happens, it can be a blessing in disguise. There are countless stories of Olympians and other major competitions where athletes got sick or had some other reason to back off significantly when they didn't plan to. The parts of you that forced the break (food poisoning, etc) got you to pause. The rest of you is benefitting from a little regeneration. I promise. Don't let it fuck with your head. That's the key. You have to change the narrative."Ugh, so wise and shit. So, changing the narrative… Maybe I can’t stop the rain from pouring down, but I can check the forecast, dress accordingly, and enjoy splashing in the puddles during the storm!
*hilarious irony: I got caught in a sudden hail storm during my run right after writing this.*
We skipped the usual weekday workout this week, and in its place Lauren built a workout into the long run to try and double up on some marathon specific work and just get back into the swing of things. Here’s what's on deck for tomorrow…
The face you make when you realize Lauren might actually be trying to kill you...
Fleshman calls it: “You may hate me for this”
Sarah calls it: A Recipe for Struggle Shuffle
Coach’s tip: “The idea is to have kind of a ways to go after the marathon pace part. You get more out of keeping going during that part, even if it's super slow, than the actual marathon pace part. You’ll get depleted, so bring some calories, and have access to water.”
Threat of puking: 1 - of - 5
If you're looking to practice hanging out in the late inning pain place for a while (doesn't have to be marathon!), try this 2nd quarter at race pace zester. Just divide it up and run the first 25% easy, next at race pace, and finish up the rest easy. And if you're looking for company while you do it I'll be out there with you Saturday morning, groaning but happy to be back at it.
Here's to putting a couple more wheels back on the tracks, and hopefully staying away from food-borne illnesses the rest of the way!
Rob Krar's first 50k was supposed to be a "one and done" affair. If you're looking to push your distance limits too, he shares some tips for surviving + thriving in ultramarathons.
Gender in sport and the Caster Semenya case, preparing mentally for racing, returning to form after injuries, and their roles in childcare. Global Running Day + a Jaybird discount!