During the course of a normal week I work out 5-6 times. Three runs: speed workout, tempo run, long run. Two to three cross-training workouts, most often bike rides but sometimes a swim thrown in (more often if I’m training for a triathlon). I change up the different days that I run but lately it’s been speed on Tuesdays, tempo on Thursdays, long run on Sundays. If need be, I can push the tempo run to Friday and still have a rest day or cross-training day on Saturday before the long run on Sunday. EXCEPT. The universe has conspired to teach me a lesson. That lesson is: carpe workout. Seize the workout!
Three weeks ago a few family members, including me, had a sore throat. I decided not to push it on Thursday and I took a rest day in the hopes that the rest would help me fight off whatever bug was going around. Sounds wise, right? EXCEPT. The next day my middle child spiked a fever and started vomiting. I felt so bad for her. She’s always the hardest hit when anything is going around. At the same time, I felt bad for me because there was no way I was getting out for my long tempo run. I compromised by cutting down the mileage and running on the treadmill while I listened to an audiobook.
Fast forward two weeks. Yet another sore throat was making the rounds of the family, but I didn’t think much of it because there wasn’t a fever associated with it. I didn’t run on Thursday as usual for my tempo run because we had company coming that afternoon and I wanted to concentrate my effort on cleaning — it takes a lot of energy to sweep and mop this joint, even if I’ve just done it two days before for my husband’s band friends to come over. EXCEPT. I should have learned from the fever/vomit episode. That Thursday night my oldest daughter’s sore throat became so bad that she started having trouble swallowing and speaking. (Mail my mother-of-the-year award to: 000 I’m-really-sorry-I’ll-know-better-next-time, I-owe-her-some-ice-cream, USA). My husband took her in to see the doctor and of course the rapid strep test came back positive. The doctor casually mentioned that my daughter might get worse before she got better (code for: you let this go so long she’s got a serious infection and she’ll have some fallout as the antibiotics start to kick in). Sure enough, my daughter spiked a fever (when I swear she didn’t have one before) and looked awful. Even though she’s old enough to stay home on her own for an hour or two, there was no way I was leaving her home alone so I could go out for a 10-mile tempo run. And no way I was doing a 10-mile tempo run on the treadmill in the afternoon. I tried. Really I did. I had my running clothes on, I had my running pack on with my sports drink in the bottle, I had my iTouch loaded. I just could not bear to run for an hour and 40 minutes on the treadmill after an already stressful day.
So, I learned the bitter lesson: carpe workout. Seize the workout! If you CAN workout on a Thursday, don’t put it off until Friday, no matter the reason. If you don’t you just might end up doing 10.6 miles on a Saturday, with 8 of those miles at marathon pace (8:35 if you must know), followed by 20.4 miles on Sunday (whether or not you need help with the math, that’s 31 miles for the weekend). That Saturday 10 miles turned out to be a lovely run, actually. The weather finally cooled down here in SoCal and it was just glorious to go for that run. EXCEPT. The next day I still had the 20-mile run on the schedule. I wasn’t so jazzed about that. Turns out, it was another glorious day, and I just got out there and did it. And while it was the slowest 20 miles of the five 20-mile runs I’ve done for this training cycle, it was strong and good training for running on tired legs.
And now, I enter the amazing three weeks of taper. I used to loathe taper. Now I embrace it. It’s a time for me to focus on my nutrition choices (given that I’m not working out quite as hard) and to embrace the extra time and nervous energy, which I generally put into making up for any cleaning tasks I let slide during the intense weeks of training. Three weeks until the Long Beach International City Bank Marathon! I’m excited, intimidated, resigned, and just plain happy I don’t have strep throat.