My first race of the year the last weekend in February broke me. This was my third year doing the 10-mile Spring Thaw and, as in previous years, I ran it as a long run. The highlight of the race was seeing so many friends (Joanna, Ciara, Gretchen, Chelsea, Jessie); otherwise, it didn’t go well. In the last miles I was breathing and sweating like I was racing a 5K and had to walk a few times. Granted, it was only the second time I’ve run double digits in training and was faster than I ran 10 the first time. Plus it was on the rolling hills of North Park, and I usually run on the flat river trail. But I’ve been training since December! After three months, 10 miles at a fairly easy pace should not be that hard. But it wasn’t just the race that did me in. I couldn’t recover afterward. I was very tired after, but later that afternoon we took the dog on our usual long walk, and it killed me. I came home completely exhausted.
I should not have run the next day, but I joined Joanna for an easy 5. That killed me too, and I was exhausted all day. I couldn’t even join my husband to walk the dog in the afternoon.
I took Monday as a rest day but I was still exhausted even after that rest day. So I took Tuesday as another rest day. And I was still tired. That’s when I knew that something was not right. I decided to take the entire week off.
Today, after not running for a week, I feel great. The fatigue is gone, and I feel normal. I have a doctor appointment tomorrow to get checked out, but I have a hypothesis: overtraining.
I think my body wasn’t fully recovered from marathon training when I jumped into advanced half marathon training. My training has been off from the very beginning. As the weeks went on, I eased up more and more and still didn’t see improvement. Backing off of my race goals, quitting the Hansons program, and then ultimately quitting training helped me mentally, but I never felt good physically. In the past few weeks, I’ve been exhausted. The new demands of my fast-paced job and the added daily 5K that I commute to work either walking or biking likely has made it even worse.
This entire training cycle, I’ve felt something hasn’t been right. Paces that shouldn’t be that hard have been impossible, and I haven’t been able to do the workouts and follow the training. Not only has training not gotten better after easing up so much, but the race made me realize it’s gotten worse.
I’ve been pretty upset. I have no idea what the future will hold. I can only hope and believe that I’ll be better and able to start marathon training this summer.
As for now, I’ve been keeping active without running. This past week I kept up with my strength training and also did yoga, and I plan to continue both. And of course, daily dog walks and walk/bike commutes to work ensure that I’m always doing something. This week I plan to do a few very easy 30-minute runs and see how that goes. I’m hoping that by focusing on short, easy runs I’ll be able to show up to the Cherry Blossom start line feeling good and able to just have fun in that race.