Coming back from illness

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Tis’ the season!  That glorious time of year when we spend many of our hours inside, trapped with other human beings who aren’t even aware they are coughing and sneezing all over the place.  You know what I mean… couple that with traveling (airplane for me next week) and public places and you can nearly guarantee at least one major illness a season.

For an athlete, this is particularly torturous.  Let’s face it, we don’t take “laying down” well… at all.

Bearing in mind I DO NOT work as a medical professional, I have simply figured out some things that work for me.  Once you have gotten over the grief of becoming sick, here are my suggestions for cutting yourself some slack and getting back on the self-inflicted pain train as quickly as possible:

  1. Plan to be down and out for a week: if you make a recovery quicker than that, be appreciative.  Generally these bugs take time to work their way through our systems.  As a planner and goal oriented person, simply knowing I’ll be “out” for a week helps me cope.
  2. REST.  Take some time off from work if it’s really bad.  No one wants to listen to you and every hour of sleep gets you back on track quicker.  Besides… no one can ever sleep at 2:00AM, but as soon as the alarm goes off at 5:00AM, the snots subside and all you can think about it sleeping.
  3. Hydrate: Water, protein shakes, BCAAs, electrolytes.  Use the stuff you normally use when you train.  You are recovering after all!  They may just be easier to take in than solid food anyway.
  4. Make a plan for returning to work slowly: Don’t expect to pick up where you left off.  Ease back into training and again, CUT YOURSELF SOME SLACK.  As confirmed by my PCP, if you feel well enough and symptoms are above the neck then go back to training easy.  If you have a sore throat or your lungs are involved, listen to your body and/or see doc for confirmation if alright to start again.  If you try to run with bronchitis, pneumonia or the flu that week I warned you about it going to get a hell of a lot longer.  Ask me how I know…
  5. If you start to feel like crap again, stop and rest.  Don’t worry… the trails, roads and mountains will be there tomorrow.

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Altra Team Red!

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Blue Job Mountain in subzero temps!  Warm and happy with the right gear and shoes!

Sitting here on my recliner… Chromebook on my lap, tissues and water beside me and I am sniffling away.  The plague got me.  Just like it does every January around the same time.  I can’t really complain though, because I squeezed in 11,783 feet of gain and 87 miles since returning from my one month self imposed running break.  My goal was to set my base back in place and I am well on my way of doing that.  Right now, I am resting and staying out of the brutal cold we have been encased in for several weeks!  I am really hoping to be ready to go back to work sometime this coming week once the weather breaks and we see 30s and 40s!  I also want to note that 2017 was my biggest mileage year at 1128 miles with 125,948 ft. of gain!  Not bad for working a full time (often 40+ hours a week), a part time job and juggling a home and husband too.  I’ll take it!  Training Peaks also allowed me to see I spent 17.4% of my total training time doing strength work.  I truly believe the HIIT, barbell/dumbell and other general strength work has made a tremendous difference in my training.

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It’s also been a big week for me, as Altra Running invited me back for a second year!  Last year I was a brand ambassador, but this year I am a member of a Team Red.  I am so excited to continue working with a brand I truly loved, especially since it changed running for me so dramatically!  I also made new friends last year and had the opportunity to product test which was super fun!  I can’t even pick a favorite shoe, but I can tell you the latest version of the Lone Peak Neoshells are AMAZING.  Combined with gaiters and gore-tex socks, I can literally hang outside and my feet stay toasty warm and dry.  

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So looking ahead, bearing in mind I am still sorting through the work I want to get done in 2018, I know I want to do the following:

Run a sub 2 hour road half: for the not so fast chick this is a big goal for me!

Backpacking trips: Would like to do a handful of fastpacking overnights, self-supported in nature

A little more racing than I have in the past few years: Pineland 25K, Inifinitus Marathon… who knows what else.  I want to keep reminding my body what it’s like to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.  This is a perishable skill!

One day Pemi Loop: Yep, I need to do this one again!  Still looking to get a good weather day up there.  Both my bailout day and counterclockwise completion day were HOT!

Why all the big mountain miles?  Because I am pacing at Tahoe for the 200 miler!  I need to be in tiptop shape for that insane event in September.

So there you have it… big mountain dreams in 2018.  For now, I rest up and dream of more base building and work.  Also, stay tuned for the next two interviews in my series!  I can’t wait to share those in coming weeks!

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