It has certainly been a tough month for me! I have written about the virus I caught that kept me in bed with a high (103+) fever for most of a week. And I also told of the hilly half I put myself through immediately after I lost the fever. I was fine for a few days. Then I enjoyed a great run that included a lot of pace work on Tuesday March 1, which I followed immediately with a 13.1-mile (30 min) ride that stunned me after missing six months of cycling due to nerve damage in my right shoulder. All seemed good. Everything looked rosy for some fine spring training.
Within hours of the ride, however, I became feverish again. By the next morning it was back over 103. I ended up going to the doctor on Thursday and I was declared virus free. A bacterial infection was getting the better of me this time, so I received a z-pack antibiotic. The fever broke in the early morning hours of Friday March 4, so I went back to school (scene of crimes where germs run amok!).
By Friday night the fever was returning and it was accompanied by some awful intestinal sidekicks. On Saturday morning the glands in my neck were the size of large marbles, my tongue was swollen, and the fever was nearly back to 103. So I called the doctor and he switched me to another antibiotic. That was the first time in my life that I had a bad reaction to a drug. Unfortunately, it was a slow release antibiotic, so I had to deal with all of those side effects until Wednesday. By that time I was dealing with a cough that threatened to split my chest and abdomen.
Needless to say, I have not done a lot of training in the last three weeks. Sixteen miles in 19 days. So, when I saw that the weather was going to be so nice on Saturday, I decided to take in Nashville by following through on my entry into the Tom King Half Marathon. Honestly, I was curious how far my body had fallen during my time of infirmary. I promised myself that I would go out easy and back down if I felt unduly fatigued. I was going to enjoy a course, a race, and a brewery (Big River) that I have grown fond of.
I ran the first five miles in 30:02 and felt fine - as I had hoped, since this was 15 seconds per mile slower than I had originally intended to average under race conditions. I then ran a couple of 6:15s into the wind to pass through 7 miles in 42:30 (6:04 average). It was then that I started to fatigue. So I shut it down to my normal 6:4x training pace and finished up in about 1:23:30. Interestingly enough, no one passed me and those in front of me barely pulled away after I decided to slow down. I guess the headwind was having an effect.
In retrospect, the Tom King turned out to be very similar to the hilly 13.1 I ran a few weeks ago in training (1:24). Some people will criticize me for running after the illness. That is their prerogative. The doctor told me that I could start running 24 hours after the fever disappeared. It had been gone since Sunday. My only reservation to running on Saturday was the diarrhea that plagued me all week as the z-pack's damage continued to ravage my intestines. Five urgent trips to the john before the race and another near mile 10 kept me busy and probably resulted in some of that fatigue, but I am glad I made the trip. It was nice to run in the sunshine at 62 degrees and the pizza and beer were welcome stomach inhabitants after a week avoiding food. (I did consume a lot of yogurt and probiotic capsules!)
In closing I will write that I have read my stat report and see that this blog is getting 2-3 dozen hits every day. That is great! I also noticed that the traffic picked up after I started posting my training. I'm not sure why that is, because other than a few friends who text or call me about the posts, I've gotten little interaction from readers. Shy readers? Lurkers? I don't know and I don't really care. This blog is meant to entertain and inspire readers while allowing me to practice writing. I will continue to write about my traveling (mountains next week!!) and racing, but I plan to change the way I write about my training.
Take care and may you stay healthier and faster than me! ST