Wow, it has been a moment since the last blog. I just looked at the last date of the post and it was November 17th!
Things have been so busy around here and I feel as I am just now starting to "settle" into life in Georgia. That doesn't always mean relaxed but at least I know my schedule and have somewhat of a routine down.
Since that last post a lot of things have happened: I was essentially playing where in the U.S. is Cody. I traveled from Georgia, to Colorado, to Oregon, to Colorado, to New York, to Georgia (did you get that?) We celebrated our first Christmas in Georgia, and I started to really get involved in my new job.
While doing all this traveling, I picked up some sort of terror illness. I seriously have never been so sick in my life. A hacking cough, hard to breath, something that would not ease up, at some point, while coughing it seemed I cracked a rib (no really).
I got sick around Thanksgiving, and the illness prevailed until...well mid-January! This, along with all the traveling essentially created forced down time for me..which was good and bad. I needed the rest, but wow. I hadn't planned on it going on for weeks and weeks and weeks, sapping my base down to nothing. It was pretty disheartening. The cold had settled in my lungs, which was also limiting my exercise options to some degree.
In mid-January I finally started running 3 times a week, first for about 35 minutes and I'm now up to about 4 days a week, with my long run at 9 miles--this week probably pushing to 10. It hasn't been easy! That's why this post is titled "The long road..."
Usually when I have come back from down time there is a certain amount of anxiety and excitement that goes along with it--and those feelings have resulted in me losing a bit of composure and pushing too hard--my schedule will tell me 20 minutes and I will blow that off, run 50 minutes, at a super fast pace and pay for it the entire next week.
This time, because I have been sick..and at times my lung capacity actually limits my potential, I am taking it as an opportunity to practice patience, and some self-talk. When I feel anxious or even negative about a run I work to reframe the situation. On one run I moaned aloud..."I'll NEVER be in shape again! This is a losing battle!" In this case I worked to re-frame the situation, telling myself "Okay you feel weak, but you still got to 50 minutes today..feeling weak is not the same as your actions..you aren't performing as weak as you think." I ran faster at the beginning than at the end, so I took that as a positive from the run as well.
Right now, in each and every run--I'm working to take two to three positives from each run to build confidence in myself and the training base I'm working to rebuild. "I ran further," "the pace was a bit faster," "I maintained that pace for longer today." I know if I can maintain, say 7:35 pace for 5-6 miles I can set a mini-goal to try to average that for 7 to 7.5 miles on the next run. This has been extremely helpful for building up my confidence and showing that I can indeed still run. I've actually told myself, "it's still there, you still have it."
The next step in this long road back is finding a goal to shoot for. I'm contemplating a couple different races coming up in the area. One thing I am thinking about is what would I really like to do? There are a variety of types of races around my area: road races, trail races, mud runs. I've done a lot of road races, and right now I'm sort of contemplating doing a trail race just to spice things up and have some fun trying out something different. I have a goal time in mind for the half marathon for 2012, but right now coming back from down time, I'm thinking this time is more appropriate for either the summer or fall of 2012, and the spring could really be used for building strength, endurance and exploring some other types of races, so that is what I'm thinking about right now in terms of goals and race selection. I'm going to be deciding this fairly soon because it will also drive a bit of my training, and also of course give me something to look forward to!
So, there is where I'm at on the long road that is running, illness and recovery.
Have you ever experienced a set-back in your training?
How did you deal with it?