I took my first sick day on Thursday, one that I felt was well-deserved. I am getting better at spending a little less time in my head when taking these days, and I felt justified on several levels. The work stress level went up a few notches when the grading started pouring in, and I was making good headway but am still overwhelmed with how much more there is. I started to experience my usual stress symptoms, which play out in my body with stomach-aches and accompanying nastiness (yes, I mean diarrhea, and this time, it has been with me for four straight days). When you have to tell your students to get started without you so you can run to the bathroom, you know you’re in trouble.
In addition to that, I hurt my back somehow on one of my shorter runs this week, and then I had a late night of work on Wednesday, followed by a beer out with colleagues–you know, to hydrate–and didn’t get home until midnight. I was feeling totally done, and with only two morning classes scheduled for the next day, I figured it was a good day to stay home and nurse myself a little.
I had a lovely, quiet day at home. I (only) graded twelve papers, but that’s twelve more than I would have done at school, and I did it slowly, throughout the day, and got to sit in the sun for a while and baby my back with a hot water bottle. I didn’t even run. Today, I got back on the road for a short two-miler just to see how I felt. It felt good. I’m glad I didn’t push it; memories of my neck spasms from late spring are enough to make me take it easy if I even feel a little twang of pain anywhere in my body. It’s simply not worth it.
The only problem with all of this is that at the beginning of my half-marathon training, I signed myself up for a 15K race to mark the halfway point. That race is…tomorrow!!!
I had been doing well on my training, running a little more than the required mileage for a beginner, using the logic that the earlier I got myself used to the longer mileage, which is 20-29 miles a week, the less of a shock to my body later on. That has worked well so far (I’ve been running between 18 and 24 miles a week), but now the question is, do I aim to keep the mileage here or add more? Frankly, I don’t want to add more. My body is unhappy as it is, and it’s becoming more difficult to keep up this mileage as work and Free’s school/sports/homework schedule becomes more demanding. I really would prefer to stay where I am, but will that work against me? I have no idea, but I don’t want to obsess about it.
I scheduled the 15K tomorrow as a way to test my pacing in a race atmosphere. I have been running a pretty steady pace for my longer runs at just under 10 minutes a mile, on target for my goal of finishing at a decent pace without stopping. My dream goal is to stay as close to my blog-partners as possible for as long as possible. I don’t love this training or this distance stuff, and I think this half-marathon might be a case of “one and done” for me. Because of this, I really want to do well this time around, but the voice in my head telling me to keep pushing is in conflict with the one that’s telling me to play it safe and set my sights a little lower.
I’m somewhere in the middle, pushing myself when I can and resting when I need to. Tomorrow will be a good test of how the training so far has paid off, especially given that I’ve had a tough week physically. I will try my best, but I’ve cut my mileage significantly this week and don’t want to push it if my back starts to act up. So there you have it. I’ll update more after the race!