Flu Recovery Before 26.2

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Well, as I’m writing this, I’m proud to say that…..

I’M A MARATHONER!!

But, you’ll have to wait for my race recap to get all the details on how the day went down!

I want to take this post to talk about my final week leading up to the marathon because it was by far, the hardest week of training.

I had the flu starting 12 days before my marathon and blogged about it going to my final week.  My fever didn’t break until Saturday evening–one week before the marathon.  I was running a fever over 100 for five, yes five, days.  I spent Sunday resting and trying to recover.  Even though my fever was gone, I still had a lot of stomach issues thanks to the antibiotics I was on, as well as a nasty cough and congestion.

Monday, I went back to work and cut the day a little short, went home, and continued to rest and recover.  I tried to eat as best as possible but I was still having gut trouble.  Monday night was my last antibiotic pill.  I had a decent amount of energy, though and could feel my strength coming back, so I thought I’d give a easy three mile run a shot Tuesday morning.

BIG. MISTAKE.

My body definitely wasn’t recovered.  And I learned later (like that evening) that apparently antibiotics make your blood thicker or something (I don’t know, my boyfriend was explaining it to me with all this science jargon, but all I heard was “it will affect your performance”).  Anyways, the run sucked.  Way, way, wayyy worse than I thought it would.  My average moving pace was well over 11:00, and that doesn’t include the 5 walk breaks I had in the three miles.  My heart rate was scary high, and I just felt terrible.

This run completely shattered my confidence.  I just didn’t understand how I could possibly get my body ready to tackle 26.2 miles when I didn’t even have the strength to run 3.  Additionally, I was still having stomach issues so I wasn’t really able to fuel properly.  On Tuesday, I truly thought that there was a very good chance I wouldn’t be able to run the marathon, and I was devastated. 

I kept on thinking about the unfairness of it all, and how I had trained for so hard and for so long, and how we had all our friends and family travelling to DC.  I hated that I wasn’t even excited for the weekend. Christina and I had a very honest and frank discussion about what we were going to do.  Our backup plan was that she would run the marathon, and I would cheer her on, and I would run Rock ‘n’ Roll Nashville in April if it came down to it, so that my training didn’t go to waste.  The plan was to not run the rest of the week, and do a 2 mile shakeout, test run with Christina Friday morning in DC, and make the decision after that run. While this made me feel slightly better, I was still a mess.  I have never felt so emotionally and physically stripped down than I did Tuesday.

Wednesday morning, I was still very upset, but the last bit of antibiotics got out of my body and my stomach was finally able to really handle food.  At lunch, I got hungry for the first time in over a week.  I had a big, good meal and my energy Wednesday afternoon started to increase.  I felt better and my spirits started to lift.  I have to admit that messages from friends via social media and email, texts, and phone calls really helped.  Thank you to everyone who encouraged me and checked on me, it made a difference! By Wednesday night I was starting to get excited, but still nervous and anxious, as I packed my bags for DC.

Thursday I loaded myself up with as many carbs and as much water as I could find.  Chrissy and I landed in DC just as the sun was setting….it was such a beautiful welcome to the city! I got this picture in the cab on the way to the hotel and was really feeling optimistic!

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We had a late dinner at Old Ebbit Grill where the carb loading continued.  We took a moment to celebrate a successful marathon training and reflected on the journey.  Don’t worry, I only drank half my beer 🙂

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Friday morning we slept in (or rather, we slept until 6am and then laid in bed for an hour and a half….) and then got up for the run.  I love that Christina and I just didn’t talk about it.  We didn’t talk about the fact that this was a very important run and so much was riding on it.  We just pretended like it was an easy peasy shakeout run.  And when we started, she didn’t ask me how I felt….we just ran like nothing was going on.

I was terrified, anxious, hopeful…so many emotions.  But the weather was nice and brisk, and the sun was shining.  I put on my playlist that I made for the last 6.2 miles of the marathon to really motivate me.  We decided to run down toward where the start line would be so we would have a good idea of how to get there the next morning, and then to keep going and run around the Washington Monument.  When we got to the Monument (about a mile out), I knew that I was going to be running the marathon! I suggested to Chrissy that we take pictures in front of the monument.  Here I am, celebrating being in DC and being 24 hours away from my first marathon!

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In case you have this reaction to the photo: “HOLY SHIT SHE CAN JUMP HIGH”, you should know that I was jumping from the ledge, not the sidewalk, in the photo…haha!

We of course had to take more pictures on the way back.  Even though we didn’t talk about it, I knew that Christina knew at this point that the marathon was a go.  It was hard not to get really, really excited!

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Pace was good, heart rate felt fine, overall, I felt like I could run the race not just safely, but finish strong as well!

After we showered, we had breakfast at the hotel where we ate ALL OF THE CARBS and then headed to the expo.  We got our bibs and then proceeded to buy anything and everything with the word “marathon” on it.

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After the expo, we met up with a few ladies we have been talking to on Instagram and Twitter for lunch at Carmine’s where we had even more carbs!

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Left to right: Julie, Meredith, Zoey, Christina, Cyanne, Malinda, Me

We had just one last stop in our marathon prep….Kate Spade.  Why did we go to Kate Spade you ask? To buy ourselves “we are going to run a marathon” presents, of course!  Cyanne from RunStretchGo decided she liked the way we rolled, so she wanted to join as well.  Can’t say I blame her, we do have pretty good ideas!

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The excitement we felt heading back to the hotel is hard to put into words. The rest of the day was filled with meeting family and making final preparations for the following day….which you’ll have to wait to read until my race recap!

It’s truly amazing how many emotions I went through in the course of just a few days, and how quickly my body bounced back with the right rest and fueling.  The final week of marathon training was such a learning experience for me.  Mental attitude makes a difference, and when you are faced with things you can’t control, you just have to focus on the things that you can, and try to stay as positive as possible.  While it sucked at the time, it really did make crossing the finish line on Saturday that much sweeter.

 

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Jess

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