Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Lesson in Flexibility

Flexibility: every now and then you get a reminder of why it's so necessary, in running as in everything else. That's what Thanksgiving Week was for me this year.

Leaving off where my 16-miler finished...we left for Virginia, where Dan's sister and her family live, the next day, which was the Saturday before the holiday. Ruthie, my little girl, had largely gotten over her stomach virus. We were excited for the week ahead, as over the course of the seven days we were going to see Dan's entire extended family. And I was looking forward to running in a new place, and at sea level, too. The travel day wasn't bad, and I had big plans for an exploratory 3-to-4 mile run the next morning.

It wasn't to be. I had felt sort of queasy all day on our journey, but figured it was motion sickness from a bumpy landing. I'm prone to motion sickness anyway. But it didn't go away, and sure enough I spent most of that first night throwing up and most of the next day sleeping. The preschool virus had gotten me!

On Monday, thanks to my running-reinforced immune system and all the sleep (bless my sister-in-law for her white noise machine), I felt nearly 100% and managed a slow but nice 8-mile run. Charlottesville is one hilly town! I got to see a lot of the University of Virginia campus that day and even found a windy trail up a mountain. Things shifted again the next day when my little 10-month old nephew came down with the Dreaded Virus. It lasted two days for him, poor guy.

I was supposed to do a track workout on Wednesday, but didn't want to bug anyone to drive me to a high school (they were all too far away to run to), so I found a nearby gym, paid the daily drop-in fee and for the first time since early June ran on a treadmill. I figure intervals are an OK thing to do on a treadmill, as tracks are flat anyway. I knocked out a good solid 6 800s.

Thanksgiving itself was a nice day. I took my friend Kathy's advice and threw out the scale, just enjoying my dinner and especially lots of pumpkin pie. My plan was to run 18 miles on Friday, the day before we were due to leave.

But that, too, wasn't to be. That night, Dan came down with the Dreaded Virus. As did his mom. As did his sister. And her husband. That left two adults standing: me and my mother-in-law's husband. That wonderful man let me out for a three-mile head-clearer, but other than that I was busy trying to keep the kids quiet or, if not quiet, out of the house so the invalids could sleep. No 18 miles in Charlottesville. (Just as a side note, I have no idea how my son Will avoided this virus. I'm even scared to type that, for fear I will jinx it.)

Dan felt much better by the time we flew out on Saturday. Happily, I had taken Sunday off work. So that afternoon, after we all returned from church, I shouldered my CamelBak stuffed with Shot Bloks and set out for what I was sure would be one sucky 18 miles of slog. After all, I had just been down at sea level for a week, was tired and dehydrated from flying and driving the day before and generally hate running in the afternoon.

The final twist to this story? I felt *great* on this run. I actually completed it more quickly than the 16 miles I'd done the week before.

Flexibility is a beautiful thing! Sometimes (not always, but sometimes) it even rewards you.

Weight check-in: Home scale today: 128.4; 21.7% body fat (maybe the stomach virus wasn't all bad); didn't go to weight training today due to a kindergarten tour, so no gym scale to compare it to

Weeks until the Houston Marathon: 6.5 (ahhhh!)

Have you entered my giveaway?


  1. 18 fast miles after a week like that is a very good workout. Now the 20 miler and you are ready for the Houston Marathon.
    In this moment I keep my fingers crossed because in Italy we have the australian flu and the stomach virus too: if I get one of them I must say "goodbye marathon, see you next year".

  2. Wow! What a whirlwind visit. Charlottesville is a beautiful town and yup it is pretty hilly. i hope everyone is feeling 100%.

  3. Wow, you did a great job during trying times. Congrats on your runs! I hope everyone is feeling better now.

  4. It pays to be flexible! So glad you had such a nice run and that everyone is feeling better now. I cannot believe your race is less than 7 weeks away. My, how time flies!!

  5. Oh gosh, Kindergarten tour! I am going to have to start doing those too!!! I am so sorry you had to go through that awful stomach virus and that everyone got it too! The worst!! But yay for the 18 miler. I always hate the first run back from sea level but it sounds like you kicked butt!

  6. oooh, the dreaded virus! how awful but how awesome to rock your 18-miler (doing it faster than your 16-miler --> nice!). you are brave training for a marathon over the holidays, it must be tough!

  7. Yikes, what a weekend!! Fantastic that your 18 miler (eventually) went well, but wow...what a journey to get there.

  8. We both have a Will....I did not know that. :)
    wow..so sorry so many got sick...with the kids and being away from home that is not easy

  9. Yay, great job! I'm so glad your run felt great and you enjoyed your pumpkin pie!

  10. My whole plan for the past 3 weeks has been called "flexible"...or maybe it was "lazy" - not sure, but I now I haven't looked at my little piece of paper I painstakingly spent hours on in August. Oh well, it will still get done - right? Right!

    Glad to hear you guys are all doing well and congrats on the weight loss from last week (I think I found your few lbs, btw - bleh!).

    Can't wait to (briefly) see you on Saturday :).

  11. Bummer about everyone getting sick :( but glad to hear that it worked out still for your fun and you had a great one!

  12. Yuck! So many viruses and sicknesses going around...hope everyone is feeling better!

  13. Oh, sorry about the virus! Great job on the 18 miler! So much for sea level advantages :)

  14. What a shame almost everyone was so sick! Nice job staying on track though. 6.5 weeks??? WOW!