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January 31, 2006

Basket Case

“Do you have the time- to listen to me whine- about nothing and everything all at once?” -
Green Day, ‘Basket Case’

Tuesdays are probably my most important workout of the week – our 13-mile loop at tempo pace is ideal marathon preparation, and the most accurate assessment of my fitness level from week to week.

This morning, I completely blew it off.

I thought I was coming around from the weekend’s illness, but yesterday I could barely drag myself through an easy 4-miler, and I felt completely drained for the rest of the day.

Up until this week, my training for Napa had been coming along pretty well: 2 weeks of 60 miles, 3 consecutive 70-mile weeks, with a long run of at least 18 each week. Although I started several weeks behind schedule in my mileage buildup, I was starting to think I could have a pretty good race at Napa.

But now I feel like I’ve veered off the road and into a ditch.

Even assuming that I bounce back to health soon, the rest of this week will be difficult from a training standpoint. We’re traveling up to the mountains for our annual “One weekend of fun in the snow and then come back home where it’s warm” vacation.

My wife’s grandmother lives in a town called Big Trees, which is on the same road that goes to the Bear Valley ski resort in the Sierra Nevadas. The house sits at about 5000’, and it’s only a 20-minute drive to get to the base of the resort at 7000’.

It’s the ideal setting for logging some quality mileage at elevation. Unfortunately, I’ve never really taken advantage of the setting. It’s sometimes a point of contention between my wife and I when I try to do too much running in the mountains – and she has some valid points.

It’s not really a vacation for her if she still has to get up early to get the kids fed, dressed and packed up for their day in the snow, while I’m outside running. And our kids seem to need more supervision than usual when we’re up there, because the setting is relatively unfamiliar to them, and not as “child-secure” as what we’re accustomed to at home.

So it’s very likely that out of 4 days, I’ll only run once or twice, for a short duration. Which would be OK if I were coming off a hard week of training. Instead, I’ll be coming off a week of doing almost nothing. By the time we’re home I’ll have spent almost two weeks off, with a marathon only 4 weeks away.

All of which makes me very nervous.

Logically, I know I’m probably overreacting. There’s a good chance that I can maintain my current fitness level for another week or so with minimal training. My self-confidence has taken a shot, but it will only take a couple of strong workouts in early February to get that back. Perhaps the days off will be a blessing in disguise, allowing my body to rest and repair before another strong training period next month.

Or maybe I will have spent too much time in the ditch to be able to fully recover in a short period of time.

Between now and then, I’ll have no way of knowing. And that kind of uncertainty just kills me.

For today, there's not much else to say. Thanks for indulging my whining. The next post will be more positive, I hope.


FreeThinker 1/31/06, 12:49 PM  

Green Day is superb running music!

Cliff 1/31/06, 1:49 PM  

I love the dookie album

robtherunner 1/31/06, 3:54 PM  

However, this is just your preparation marathon for Big Sur, right? I have that same conflict with my wife when we go somewhere that is supposed to be a vacation and I am off running in the morning. Have a good time in the mountains.

Anne 1/31/06, 4:01 PM  

I'm not a Green Day fan, but I am a Donald fan and I just want to say that though you'll miss some interesting running, you'll also have an opportunity to rest your weary body and earn extra points with the wife while making memories with the kids. That sounds worth a couple of days off from the training. Your legs, your lungs and your family will thank you later.

angie's pink fuzzy 2/1/06, 11:26 AM  

"I am one of those/melodramatic fools/neurotic to the bone/no doubt about it!"

Your mind's playing tricks on you...it'll all keep adding up...but you won't break up...

Okay, okay, enough quoting Green Day. ;P

If your body is still tired, then resting is even better than running - at least, that's what everyone's been telling me. Sometimes, it seems as though your body gets sick, just to force you to rest! It sure feels strange and uncertain to not stick to the training plan, but I'm sure that you'll do fine - and possibly even great, because of the rest!

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