Sunday, April 25, 2010

23 Miles and Me

I have been sick all week. Coughing, fever, fatigue, coughing, headaches, lost appetite, coughing, no sleep, no slowing down, and coughing. It's been miserable. I skipped last Saturday's long run because I was sick, thinking I'd do it on Monday instead. I didn't run Monday. I didn't run Tuesday. I ran 4 miles on Wednesday and felt awful. I was determined not to lose any running ability so I ran 8 miles on Thursday. I didn't run Friday. Still, with a marathon in 3 weeks, the OCD part of me simply couldn't rest. Luckily I was feeling good enough (I should say, "less bad enough") to force myself to run Saturday.

My brother Jim showed up at 5 am as usual for our Saturday long runs. I had been up most of the night, coughing, so it was a relief to have him there and get going. And get the run over with. Honestly, I was feeling better than I had all week, but I was worried I wouldn't have it in me to complete the full 20 miles, as per our training schedule. So we ran a 5 mile loop (hills!), stopped in for a potty break, felt okay, did another 5 mile loop (with a second potty break), felt okay, so at the turning point we decided to keep going and do the 12 mile loop.

It felt great to be running again. It was a HUGE relief that I could still do it. I know we probably could've walked faster, but hey, I'd been sick all week. At the end, I had extra energy and did another mile (still hills!), totaling 23 miles. It took 3:58. The time is slightly discouraging, but I'm trying to not dwell on it. The last marathon I raced in I did the full 26.2 miles in about 3:50 (and it was also very hilly). I have a million excuses why I've slowed down. Sick. Tired. Protein deficient. Nutritionally anemic. I did cough a bunch on the run, but not enough to really slow me down.

And at the end of the 23 miles, when I walked in the house, I had plenty of energy to get right back into being a mom. (Warning: the following is all self-imposed, probably to assuage my guilt at taking time to myself.) No naps or downtime for me. That's the compromise. I can take a long run, as long as I start early so I'm home for morning chores and caring for the kids, but I can't take a nap later on or go to bed early that night. I have to function as if nothing had happened. Or if I get a long run in during mid-day, I have to make sure Jeff and the kids have something to do where they won't miss me (like going to a movie). Why do I feel so guilty about taking time to myself? Even sitting here to blog feels like I'm sneaking away from my duties and I'm worried I'll get caught and have to apologize.

How do you learn to relax without feeling like you have to justify it? Where are these expectations to do-do-do coming from? Myself? My idea of what a mom and wife should do?The feeling that there is no "me" now, that my life is my family? Is there room for me to just be?
I think I need a nap.
Still, it was a good run. Three more weeks until my summer's first marathon.

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