Its that time of the year now when everyone is getting sick. Around here, we've seen warm weather, freezing weather, cool weather, etc. People in my office are sick, people at the gym are sick, and germs are just running rampant around town. So it was only a matter of time before it caught up with me. Last week, I felt I was coming down with something. By Wednesday, it was clear that a cold was on its way. By Friday, I felt really bad for my officemates. Lots of sneezing and tissues.
The difficult part of being sick is knowing when to rest and when to work out. On Wednesday, I did a solid 8 mile run, per my training schedule and felt great. However, I could still feel the onset of a cold. Even when I'm sick, I always feel better after working out. The worsening conditions of my cold kept me from hitting the pool and getting in another run toward the end of the week. Then Saturday rolled around. Saturday is my long run day. I was faced with the always challenging question of to work out or not to work out. One thing I do know about marathon training, is that skipping a long run is bad. And since I was out of town skiing last weekend with Rebecca, there was no long run. If I didn't go, that would mean 2 weeks of nothing longer than 8 miles. Sure it may seem like not a big deal, but I'm getting pretty anal about my long runs, so I knew I had to do it.
I had decided on a simulated National Marathon course route that would take me through some early big hills in the first 10 miles and leave me with flat and rolling hills for the other 7, totaling 17 miles. This course was designed to be a bit hillier than the marathon will be, so if I could make it through this, I'd be feeling pretty good.
I woke up nice and early Saturday morning, took some nasal spray to make way for some breathing room and headed out on my run. After the first mile, the next 4 miles are all pretty much up hill. This definitely left my legs a bit battered, but once I hit the downhills and flats, they managed to recover nicely. About 7 miles in, I missed a turn a couple blocks back, but continued, figuring I'd find my way back to my original course. I went a bit out of my way for a while, but eventually found my way back on course. Unfortunately, things were brewing in my stomach, similar to those events that have happened before. I knew I couldn't make it the rest of the way back and I was in the middle of multi-million dollar homes and no businesses for a convenient pit stop. And that is when I stumbled upon the construction site of a new mansion, with what seemed like at the time, a heavenly port-a-potty. I looked around to make sure the construction crew wasn't around, took care of business and was back on track. Phew! The rest of the run was pretty solid. Around mile 10, I started picking up the pace and when I got to the 4 miles to go point, I picked it up even more.
When I got home, I immediately went to figure out exactly how long I had run, seeing as I had made a detour. I came to find out that I added an extra 1/2 mile onto my course, so I totaled 17.5 miles with a finishing time of 2:21:39. A little calculation from one of my favorite tools, and I come to find out that it equals 8:09/mile pace. I never intended to run that fast, nor did I feel like I was running that fast. I was a bit more worn out from this run, as opposed to my last long run, but this was also about 5 times more hilly. Each long run I go on, I am more impressed with my ability to keep progressing and feeling strong.
So you are probably wondering, how am I feeling after running with the cold. Saturday afternoon and continuing into Sunday proved to me that you can beat a cold out of your system with exercise. Obviously, if you have chest congestion, it is a different story. But with a head cold, don't let it stop you from getting outside. I highly doubt my cold would be as improved as it is, had I not gone on my run Saturday.