Happy Fall!

Happy fall y’all! Fall is one of the best times of year (in my opinion) and it is definitely a great time for running! While it doesn’t exactly *feel* like fall here on the gulf coast quite yet, we have definitely had a few glimpses that let us know that wonderful weather is right around the corner. The cotton fields are starting to bloom and it is candy corn season, what more could a girl want?

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This is so very random, but I have really been wanting to watch the movie “You’ve Got Mail.” It was one of my absolute favorites growing up and something about traveling to NYC and fall has me really itching to watch it again. I am going to make that happen before we go back to New York! Okay, tangent over. Carry on.

At the beginning of this week, I was feeling kind of run down and like I was starting to get sick. I am right in the midst of the “peak” weeks of marathon training and I definitely didn’t want this to turn into a full-blown sickness. I was torn because while I didn’t want to miss any important training runs, I also didn’t want to ignore my symptoms and end up sidelined for longer than necessary. I decided to run this by my coach and see what he had to say.

In typical fashion, he was full of very helpful information. He told me to lower my mileage for a couple of days until I was feeling better (basically I did half of what I normally would have done). He said that some running is good because it can stimulate the immune system and help to clear congestion. He sent me the link to a blog post that he had written on this exact topic (you can read his blog post here).

I thought this information was very helpful, so I wanted to share it with you guys. Here are his basic guidelines of when to push through and when to back off:

1)  If there is a fever present then no running is allowed.
2)  If there is stomach distress (nausea, vomiting or diarrhea) then no running is allowed.
3)  If congestion is present and lingers more than a couple of days, then runs are cut back to 50% of the normally scheduled amount and stress days are replaced with 50% of a normal easy day.  This is done for 1-3 days or until feeling back to normal again.
4)  If you are in the first few days of congestion, or what might be the onset of a cold, and you start a stress workout and feel drained (sub-par), cut the workout short and take a couple of days of half runs (see #3).

5)  If light congestion is present but you are feeling and breathing normal, continue training and closely monitor the symptoms.

I didn’t have any sort of fever or stomach issues, so based on his recommendation, I did short, easy runs on Monday and Tuesday (six miles and five miles). Also (based on Daniel’s recommendation), I took Sudafed for a few days to help clear up my congestion. Thankfully, after a few days of decreased mileage, Sudafed and lots of Emergen-C, I was feeling much better.

Daniel and I were able to do a 5 mile tempo workout together later in the week, so that was great! It’s really nice when our schedules line up so that we can do a workout together. The goal range for the tempo miles was 6:25 to 6:30 and we did 6:46, 6:27, 6:31, 6:21, 6:22. The first mile was somewhat of a rude awakening, as we were dealing with darkness, a few hills and a slight headwind, but after that we pretty much settled into the pace and were able to complete the rest of the tempo miles at a respectable pace. I have gotten into a habit of doing my workouts on the treadmill and this was a good reminder for me that I need to try do more of my workouts outside when possible to simulate the actual conditions that I will face during the race.

This morning I had a nice little 18 mile steady state run (I have been doing 12 miles for these) on the schedule with a goal range of 7:05 to 7:15 pace. I was supposed to ease into the pace for the first two miles and then do the remainder of the run at the goal range. I ended up with 18 at 7:13 average (which included my two warm up miles of 8:48 and 8:04). I am very happy to have this run in the books! I ran the same route as Daniel and his buddy, Ali, but they were doing a different workout. They did 3 miles “easy” (relative terminology, of course) and 1 mile “hard” for the entire route. It worked out really well, because they kept me in their sights pretty much the entire way, but I basically ran the entire workout by myself (which is rare). Mentally it was really tough, but I got it done and felt great. Definitely a good confidence booster.

I mentioned that I was in the middle of some of the most important weeks of my training for NYC. I about fell out of my chair when I saw my training plan for the next few weeks …

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So we’re looking at 3 X 3 mile repeats, a 24 miler, 6 X 1 mile repeats and a half marathon. Yowza! It seems quite intense, but I am excited and ready to put in a few more weeks of hard work! I have already put in lots of work over the last couple of months and I know that when I toe that start line in NYC I will be very well prepared to race this marathon.

I don’t know about you, but to me fall just seems to be such a busy time of year. We have lots of fun stuff coming up, but while exciting, it can also be kind of overwhelming. I sat down this week and made a list of dates and events and things that coming up over the course of the next month and it is a lot. I got overwhelmed and started feeling like there isn’t enough of me to go around (moms, I don’t know how you do it!). I thought that my intentions were good when I sat down to “plan,” but now I can’t help but to be reminded of Matthew 6:34 which says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

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I have a pattern of saying “yes” to things far too often (part of that whole people-pleasing, perfectionistic thing) and then once I get too many items on my plate, I have a tendency to shut down. I am having to learn to say “no” to certain things. I saw this quote recently and I really like it … “A river without boundaries is a flood. A life without boundaries is chaos. Sometimes the healthiest thing you can do is say no.” Healthy boundaries mean saying “no” without guilt, saying “yes” because you want to, not out of obligation or to please others, taking responsibility for your own happiness and not feeling responsible for someone else’s happiness.

I am constantly working to maintain a healthy balance in my life. I think different people probably define “balance” in various ways, but for me it means having a handle on the various elements of life (both external and internal) and not feeling like I am being pulled too hard in any direction. Right now, I can feel myself starting to focus too much on the external things in my life (work, social things, hobbies, etc.) and not focusing enough on the internal things (spiritual and emotional well-being). Thankfully, blogging helps me to check in with myself and examine the areas where I can make some changes. The goal this week is to take it one day at at time, focus on my spiritual and emotional well-being, while balancing work, coaching, training, relationships & activities. Easy enough, right?!

Anyone else out there really love fall? What is your favorite thing about this time of year?

2 thoughts on “Happy Fall!

  1. Sam, once again your blog has had so much in it I needed to hear (read). I am a work in progress trying to break through some past difficult issues and deal with some current difficult issues. I am not, never have been and never will be a runner but your blogs are such an inspiration to keep on striving and surviving. Keep up the good work that I feel the Lord led you to for a lot of people – runners, as well as non-runners. Thank you for giving your time and heart to this blog. Blaze on, pretty lady!

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