Running on Fumes

sleeping runnerAfter my 10-mile run on Saturday, I took a nap, ate lunch, then dozed off again.  Two naps in one day.  Uh-oh.

I’d like to tell you that I woke up from the second nap refreshed and ready to take on the world, but that was not the case.  I still felt tired and depleted.  I felt the same way for the next few days, punctuated with more late morning naps.  When I woke up Monday morning, I was relieved to feel soreness in my throat.  Obviously, it wasn’t the run that did me in, but rather a bug that I picked up somewhere along the way.  Right?

Later in the week, when I described the symptoms of my obviously viral, practically life-threatening “bug” to my amazing, if not brutally honest, personal trainer, his comment stopped me in my tracks.  “It doesn’t sound like a bug, it sounds like exhaustion.”  Impossible, dear trainer.

I have friends who have small children and haven’t slept through the night in years, or who are dealing with a family medical emergency that is testing and stretching the limits of what a person should have to shoulder. Those friends have earned the right to consider themselves exhausted.  I have not. In fact, I’m generally a well-rested person.  Most of the time, I get a full night’s rest and wake up before the alarm, ready to start my day.  And I nap on an as-needed basis.  Super annoying, right?

Then I Googled “exhaustion,” just for fun.  Achy muscles?  Check.  Fever?  Check.  Sore throat?  Crap.

When I really thought about it, this is not the first time I’ve had this exact bug. It often comes after a busy work trip. In fact, this bug is so reliable and predictable that I usually build a rest day into my schedule after each trip.

I concede.  I was exhausted.  I’m not sure why it’s so hard to admit.  It’s not a sign of weakness, just a sign that I overdid it.  My mind is focused on the short and long-term running goals and telling me that I’m feeling good and should keep going, but my nearly 40-year old body has other plans.  As my mind was celebrating the most mileage I’ve ever run in a week (almost 24 miles), and a great 10-miler, my body shut down the celebration quickly and efficiently.

Do not feel sorry for me.  This is a self-inflicted, temporary, first world problem.  I played with fire and got burned.  Training for a marathon isn’t just about running a lot, it has to be balanced with listening to your body.  I just need to start paying closer attention to what it’s saying.

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