Plague, Plows and Plans

I run all winter. I don’t do it because I think everybody should, and I don’t do it to prove a point. I do it because I feel like it keeps me from putting a box around my running and shrinking that box over time. If I plan to run in all conditions, then there’s no chance of the excuses progressing from the entirely valid “It’s snowing, pitch dark, and below 0, I’ll just hit the gym.” to “It looks like it might rain.”

Plenty of people have enough self discipline to come up with a real set of rules and stick to them. I just run unless I can’t. That’s my simple rule.

This week I had two instances where I couldn’t. Last Friday I got a head cold, which I ran 8 miles with on Sunday. I took my customary rest day on Monday, despite the day off and the warm weather. By Tuesday night I regretted missing that chance to run. The headcold progressed to seemingly a sinus/bronchial infection, which knocked me out for 17 hours of sleep, and had me miss work, and any thoughts of a run, on Wednesday.

With hacking and coughing dominating over speech, I worked from home Thursday and Friday. With that flexibility, I entertained thoughts of daytime runs, so Thursday I ventured outdoors at the end of the workday, only to find that winter had actually arrived. 21 degrees on the weather report did not tell the full story of the bitter cold I encountered as I stepped out the door. Combine that with my weak state, and I turned around after merely a 2 mile total run, with my fingertips and face going numb.

Luckily after a doctor’s appointment on Friday, the magic of antibiotics, combined with beer & pizza with friends in Toledo, had brought me back from the brink, so after a week of merely 2 miles, I ran 5 miles Saturday and 8 miles sunday for a respectable 15 mile week.

I don’t always know when that commitment to always run is going to really work, but this time it did. Running all those miles this weekend picked my mood up following a really crummy week, and put me in the mindset to lay down my plans for training for the Pittsburgh Half in the spring. Instead of feeling like Pittsburgh is just a distant concept, I’m looking forward to starting my 15 week plan in the week of the 30th.

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7 responses to “Plague, Plows and Plans

  1. Some of my best runs have been after a week of being ill. My legs feel fresh, I feel better, and I’m mentally happy to be running again. It’s always a good reminder that a few days of rest are usually a good thing.

    • That’s a good attitude! Plus, with my training plan for the Pittsburgh Marathon about to start, I figure now is the right time to get sick, when I don’t have to record “missed workout” in my log!

  2. So true. I unexpectedly spent yesterday in the ER for some freak thing that flared up again after six years of good health. Everything’s fine, but it will keep me from running for at least a few days. The thing that bothered me the worst was not being able to stick to my training plan! I wanted to yell out “I’m missing my 7 mile run tonight! I’m training for a marathon and my training has been going really well up until today!!!” Thanks for reminding me to heed my own advice.

  3. I’m with you on the run no matter what thing. I started letting excuses slip in once and I ended up not running regularly for the next three years. Not acceptable for me.

    Hope you are feeling much better this week!

    • I am feeling a lot better, thanks for asking! 20 miles last week, with a great weekend of outdoors running this weekend. My Pittsburgh Half training started today… with a rest day!

  4. I also feel you on the excuses thing, my healthy fear of excuses piling up make me run and I almost always feel better for it, even when I run bleeding! 🙂

    I also agree with LeaveTracks that after being sick or something stopping you from running, the next few times, although are a bit slower, are refreshing on fresh legs. My legs are almost always moldy from constant running and little rest. I am prescribing myself to Monday = Rest Day for the rest of Jan. and all of Feb.

    Pittsburgh Half…hmmm? I have taiko practice until 6pm on Saturdays, should I hop a bus out there and join you?

    • Not if you’re going to bring your bad weather half-cancelling curse!

      At least 2 of my friends will also be running the race; I’m going to be trying to get my sub 2 hour time here, so I’ll be trying to keep my pace in the high 8’s low 9’s.

      I’m planning a great time celebrating with burgers at Burgatory afterward, and you can meet some of my Pittsburgh friends, if you want to make the trip.

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