The long runs are of course tough when training for a marathon. But in my mind the toughest part of marathon training is trying to manage your time. Sometimes you get lucky; life goes smoothly, you stay healthy, your family stays healthy, the weather stays glorious and you manage to get that all-important training run done and in the books each day. And sometimes pigs fly.
Realistically life does not notice that you are marathon training, nor does it care. Sometimes I think life just laughs at you, snickering, “Now let’s see you fit in that long run!”
Two weeks ago I knew life was going to prevent me from getting the mileage done. Too many commitments, too little time. Throw in a brutal cold and I knew I had to accept that it would be a cut back week in terms of mileage. I’ve read enough to know that the long run is the one not to miss, so feeling crappy and at the end of a long week I did complete 30 km after work on the Friday. There is a reason long runs are not scheduled for Friday afternoon/evenings… that run seemed to last forever.
I kept telling myself that the following week (last week) would get back to normal and I would complete every run. The good news is I did what I needed to do and I did a comfortable 32k run at a 6:16 min/km pace including walk breaks every 4k. I felt good at the end and wasn’t particularly sore the next day. To top it off, I reached a weekly mileage PB, completing 73 km plus deep water running. On paper that looks like a perfect week, but it was in fact more than a little crazy.
The week started with me still feeling sick, despite having skipped my Sunday orienteering event and quite literally sleeping away the day. My youngest was also fighting an ear infection but having been on antibiotics for a couple of days things seemed to be improving. On Monday at 6:30 in the morning my husband called to say he had been in a car crash. Amazingly, he walked away unhurt but the car was deemed a write-off. It made for a chaotic start to the week but we were certainly thankful as it could have been so much worse. Still not feeling well, I took my third day off of running in a row and stressed extensively about the missed mileage, but developed a plan to get caught up.
As the week progressed my running picked up and I felt back on track. And then life threw another curve ball in the form of a worsening ear infection for Luke. Saturday morning found he and I sitting in the walk-n clinic for the second Saturday morning in a row, assuming he would need another round of antibiotics. I was correct, just was in no way expecting that the antibiotics would have to be given through IV. Off we went to Ottawa’s amazing children’s hospital, CHEO, and soon found out Luke would need to be admitted. Long story short, after 5 days of amazing care Luke was discharged and is doing well.
Needless to say having a child in the hospital for five days means any kind normal schedule is thrown out the window. My husband and I did shifts to make sure one of us was there all of the time and we tried to keep up with work. My older son stayed with my parents, easing our scheduling issues considerably. I slept in a fold out chair for 4 nights, driving home early in the morning for a shower and heading to work on Monday and Tuesday. My husband worked from his laptop during those days and then on Wednesday he made it to the office and I spent the day at CHEO. I can’t even begin to describe how tired we both were.
Through all of this I still had marathon training to complete. This week is in fact my peak week and I desperately wanted to avoid getting too far behind. What helped was that through all of this Luke was actually feeling great. They had him on a steady supply of Tylenol and Advil and quite frankly the good people at CHEO somehow make a hospital seem like the perfect children’s hotel! He played pool, watched movies (he doesn’t get to see a lot of T.V. at home so this was quite a treat), read books, played games and just generally had a good time. So the guilt factor was removed when I left my husband and Luke at the hospital to go for a run. On a very selfish note, however, I am not going to deny that once in a while it would cross my mind that I was spending all of my time in a children’s hospital and an elementary school 4 weeks out from my marathon. Seriously, could I be exposed to more germs??? In the end, I only bailed on one run when I realized on Tuesday that I was so tired I was essentially the equivalent of drunk. I chose to take a nap after work rather than run before the hour drive back to the hospital.
Hopefully things are back to normal now. I have just over three weeks to the marathon. I have a long run to do this weekend, my last solo one as next weekend I will use the 9 Run Run Half Marathon with some extra thrown in as my distance run. Taper time is near and I think for various reasons I am ready. Life has done a good job of wearing me down, a bit of a rest will be good. That said, we have a lot to be thankful for this weekend.
Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend!
Follow me on Twitter @ AverageRunnerK