Have you ever felt like you were finally hitting your stride and then suddenly something happens to throw you completely off your game? For the past week my training has been at a complete standstill. Last weekend I embarked on a beach trip with some girl friends and it turned in to one of the biggest nightmares I've ever experienced. In the aftermath I ended up dealing with exhaustion, stress, and ultimately illness. I have not run or done any physical activity in exactly one week. I have been completely drained of energy and physically unable to do much else other than sit around.
This morning I was scheduled for a 10-mile long run with the training group. I woke up to my alarm at 5am and couldn't even get out of bed let alone get dressed and run for two hours. With a sigh, I closed my eyes and fell asleep until nearly 10am. It was obvious that my body needed the rest and I'm glad I listened, but I can't remember the last time I missed a long run. It left me feeling sad and extremely disappointed.
I have been very fortunate during my half-marathon training that I have not had to deal with many of the setbacks and injuries that I have read about from other runners. Having run only a handful of races, pretty much every organized run is a new PR for me. Training and running in general have been a very positive experience and I've enjoyed celebrating my successes - both physical and mental. Now I've hit one of those bumps in the road that we certainly never expect. My head is shouting "yes! run! do it!" but my body is physically unable to comply.
It has taken some time for me to admit to myself that I am physically unable to do this right now. After all, running has helped me to believe that I am capable of so much more than I ever realized. What keeps me going is the knowledge that with each day that passes, I am getting stronger. Soon I will make up for the time I've lost and get right back in my training groove.
My advice to anyone experiencing a similar setback: Don't give up... adapt. When things don't go as you planned, change your plan. While time off from running has not made my runs any stronger, it has helped strengthen my mind and my resolve. Perhaps that's exactly what I needed.