Last week, I suspected I might be sick. This week confirmed it. Unfortunately, I went to a barbeque, yoga, and a movie (Mad Max in 3D) before figuring out Monday night that I had actually been sick, and thus contagious, the past day or two. Oops. I'm really sorry to anyone I exposed - I honestly thought it was allergies at first.
So...much of the week was a slog. There's always the question of whether to run hard, run easy, or just rest when sick. Since my symptoms didn't include any chest congestion or fever, I decided that I could run at very easy pace to keep my mileage up, while skipping the hard running and also the swimming, which kills my sinuses.
So that's what I did. It was a real slog at times, and I worried that I was setting myself back when I felt like death after running. But then, I noticed marked improvement each day in how I felt - sore throat receding, headache subsiding, and resting heart rate dropping back to normal.
By Friday, I was feeling sufficiently improved to try a tempo workout. I still felt pretty lethargic, but we've had dewpoints in the low 70s recently. Everyone feels lethargic in those conditions. So, why not take a shot.
As it turned out - I wasn't as recovered as I thought I was - 3 miles at tempo effort yielded a pace slower than my goal marathon pace. It was comic, actually - I felt like I was running with a backpack full of bricks in some variant of an Alberto Salazar workout.
It was so slow that it actually didn't rock my confidence at all. It's funny how that works. The workouts where you are straining but can't quite hit your splits - those are the ones that shred your confidence. The workouts that are a full 30 seconds per mile slower than you expect to run...those ones are pretty easy to dismiss as outliers.
Plus I had just had a great marathon pace workout on Sunday - you don't lose that much fitness in 5 days.
But still, it was obvious that I was still really off. After that workout, my coach and I decided to push back my last 20 miler, planned for Sunday, to Monday or Tuesday. This would make sure I had enough time to kick the bug out of my system, with the added benefit of cooler weather than was predicted for this weekend.
[I have the flexibility at work to do this since I don't have any major meetings scheduled for Monday or Tuesday morning. I'm pretty fortunate.]
Thus, my weekend was a holding pattern, with an easy 12 each day. I'm ready to taper - in fact I feel like I already am tapering - but I need to get the last 20+ miler done first.
Of course, knowing that I was moving my 20 miler to some other day took me to a whole new level of weather watching. It's one thing to obsess over what the weather is going to be for the specific day you'll be running 26.2. It's another to obsess over which of 2-3 days you should choose for a 20+ mile run.
After spending way too much time on internet weather sites, I decided to take a shot at the 20 miler on Monday morning. It's a tough call, because Monday morning is still supposed to be pretty hot and muggy, while Tuesday may be cooler. But some sites are also pointing towards thunderstorms on Tuesday morning as a front passes through. Though I'm usually game for running in all sorts of weather, I draw the line at lightning. And I simply need to get this 20 miler done, and done on either Monday or Tuesday early morning (have an immovable conflict on Wednesday, and Thursday is getting too close to the marathon).
At least I'm feeling a lot better, so that bodes well.
And, as for the obvious question from above - Would I have kicked this headcold bug thing sooner if I had just taken days off? There's no way to know for sure. My belief is that this is one of those bugs that takes about a week to clear anyways, and just lying in bed wouldn't moved it any faster.