Don't worry, this isn't a whinefest. I'm just working hard and focusing on getting it back.
After dealing with a sinus infection last week, I thought we were all done with injury and illness issues. Boy, was I wrong. My shin was whispering to me a little bit near the end of last week, so I opted to rest Friday and Sunday, when I'd been doing some easy runs over the past few weeks on either side of my long run. I'm trying to not be totally type-A and inflexible with bailing from workouts if I think it will keep me healthy these days, so this seemed like a wise thing to do a week out from my goal half marathon for the season, right?
Well, Monday night brought some unpleasant surprises. I skipped out on my early run that day because I still felt a very faint twinge in my shin. Nothing alarming, and something that I expected would be perfect with one final unscheduled rest day. I went to my toning class that night and was pleased with how my leg felt, and went home. Sat down on the couch....watched a little TV....and then this slow feeling of nausea crept in. A few hours later I was feeling so fiercely nauseous that I was just waiting to be able to throw up-it was that kind of sickness where you just know it's going to feel better if you can throw up. Not that I was looking forward to it-that's the worst kind of sickness in my book. At least the nausea would, in theory, subside a bit or go away altogether.
By the time I was finally able to make that happen-well, it was somewhere in the 3 a.m. hour. I'd been tensed up, tossing and turning half the night. I did indeed feel less nauseous after that, wow. My skin hurt, my hair hurt, my fingernails hurt (no, really-from head to toe). My first thought was "I'm going to log my first ever DNS." Walking across the bedroom was a physically demanding task-I felt chilled and exhausted.
Luckily, my DH was a go-to guy the next day, taking care of a lot of stuff that would usually be things that are my responsibility. I kind of faded in and out of nap land on the couch and was in bed quite early that night, never getting sick again after the nightmare evening twenty-four hours before. Getting up the next day, I no longer felt sick but was just plain weak for the whole thing.
So, that was the beginning of a less-than-ideal last week before the Canyonlands Half. I might have been really upset or stressed about this in the past, but when I ran for the first time yesterday, the goal was to just run enough to wake up the body and remind it what running feels like, don't stress out, and trust that my body remembers enough over the past year that Saturday's race is not a total wash. I headed out for a brisk five last night, and felt sort of weak, but not like I was going to tank and die. The pace was a little uncomfortable, but I did enjoy the run-no counting the miles until being done. This morning was a very easy six miles, which felt considerably better. Sure-the pace was very comfortable, but sometimes those recovery runs are deceptively hard when it's been a hard running week, you're sick, stressed, or whatever. I'm leaving things at that. Yeah, it's a big whopping 11 miles for the week before Saturday. There didn't seem to be anything to gain, though, by trying to go out and force something.
One thing that was great about last night's run was the return of.....dum dum DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUM.....running shorts! No tights! No long sleeves! I ran sleeveless, in shorts, with lightweight socks. Just a baseball cap to keep sun off my face, no thermal hats or mittens. It was a liberating end to The Winter of Suck. (Sssssh, I know it's March. I'm going to live in my spring fever fantasy land for a bit.) I also have tweaked my regular iPod running fare somewhat lately, away from the jam-bandy music that goes on and on, and more toward making playlists of whatever is floating my boat and keeps me moving. It's all over the place musically speaking, but that's how I like it. It helps to avoid autopilot mode. So, for fun-here's a little of what I've had in heavy rotation lately.
Magalenha by Sergio Mendes. Don't hold it against him that he made a crappy love ballad in the 80's sung by some random dude. The Brazilian musician has made a ton of other great music over the years, and this is no exception. I can't help but pick up my pace when that unassuming triangle at the beginning of the song gives way to the pounding drums.
Mirror in the Bathroom by the English Beat. I thought this song was cool back in the day and I still love it today.
The Curra Road by Karan Casey (sorry, couldn't find a YouTube link). One of several versions of this song by different artists that Steve Runner has featured on Phedippidations over the years for his Boston podcast. I've always liked the lyrics about not worrying about the traffic, the radio, the phone, and heading on down the road.
The Fame by Lady Gaga. I didn't intend to ever start liking what was initially an annoying earworm used by the teen company at the kids' dance studio in a year-end performance, but I confess-I sort of like it for running. Particularly when I need to get a move-on.
Shipping Up to Boston by the Dropkick Murphys. Self explanatory. Good kick in the pants when I want to whine my way to the end of a sluggish workout.
My Weakness by Moby. Same song from "Why Do You Run" You Tube video that made its way around the online running community some time ago. Some time in my life, I want to have a race as perfect as high school Dathan Ritzenhein had in that video.
Human Behaviour by Bjork. Yeah, she's kind of a weird lady. I kind of like it. She does things with her voice that are strange and pretty at the same time, and here I am coming out of hiding to say that I dig this song, and the way it keeps building.
Trouble by Ray LaMontagne. I just love this song. No reason. It's just cool.
Then there's the entire Spirit of the Marathon soundtrack I recently downloaded. For those who haven't seen the movie, it might just be boring classical/instrumental music. If you're like me, though, happen to own a copy, and like to pop it in before big races, the music is great for a nice long run. My favorite track is the 13th on the soundtrack, called "Victory and Loss." It's the music that plays through the stirring finishes of both the mens and womens elite races, featuring my kids' (and my) two favorite athletes in the film, Daniel Njenga and Deena Kastor. I can literally hear Joan Benoit Samuelson from the movie yelling "_______ looked back for the first time!" and "______'s going to the arms!" in the nailbiter finish. (I know must marathon runners who wanted to see the movie have seen it, and/or know what went down at that marathon, but didn't want to spoil it for anyone stumbling here by accident.)
So, that's what has been driving me through many of my runs lately. I know it's not for everyone, but hey, what in life is? It's music that's been really enjoyable when some days I've just wanted to beat my head against a wall between injuries and illness. I won't need any music in my head this weekend, though. There's nothing like looking around the canyons of Moab and realizing that spring has finally arrived.