Fact is, if you get sick while in the midst of high-mileage training, odds are you haven’t been getting enough rest and/or been pushing too hard (a.k.a. haven’t been listening to your body). Then one day, BAM, you’ve got a wicked high fever and a throat full of phlegm and can barely even muster up enough energy to refill your water glass, let alone run. Days go by and the zeroes on your calendar start adding up – and each day you wonder if that base you’ve created is crumbling by the hour. In fact, you are sure it is. You resent your illness, eventually pretend you are better and one morning try to throw on your shoes, shorts and what not as if you are off to knock out “just an hour or so.” But alas, you are already sweating profusely before even tying your shoes and sure, it’s 100 degrees outside but the AC in the house is kicking so there’s no reason to be sweating, except for the fact that you are fucking sick as a dog and will be for a few more days.
This is what I’ve been dealing with for the past week after coming off of a 65-mile “down week.” I tried to ignore the fact that my down week was barely less than my previous “up” weeks but obviously my body didn’t forget. And here’s the kicker – this ALWAYS happens to me when I am into these miles. My old training journals show that it happens like clockwork. But my memory, per usual, is selective and I instead beat myself up for a week when I ought to be sitting on a couch in a Snuggly with a cup of soup while drinking water like it’s going out of style. I swear to God, I never learn. And likely never will.
It’s now four weeks before the first big race of the year and I ran today for the first time in eight days. Felt great. It always does after my “sick” week. Always. Shit, I am the first person who will tell you to “listen to what’s going on in your body.” I probably say it a thousand times in every yoga class I teach. But like most folks, I give great advice to everyone except myself. Over the past ten years I’ve gotten pretty good at this training thing – but I certainly haven’t nailed it yet.