This spring I had two main races in mind: the Bolder Boulder, and the High Performance 10,000m at the Portland Track Festival. I set these goals because 1) I love Bolder Boulder, and it’s a quick day’s drive from my home in Albuquerque, and 2) I really love racing track, but haven’t in quite a few years (ok, it’s been a decade!). I was eager to test myself and see what I could run when so many racers are gunning for the Olympic Trials Track standards.
My running was progressing, but slowly. I had plenty of distractions: my sleep-angel baby reversed herself, and we have been averaging 4-6 wakings each night for the last few months. Since our babe shares a room with us, it’s not an easy thing to ignore! So, sleep has been in short supply. I also had the effort of submitting a chapter of my dissertation for review to be published in one of our major geology academic research journals. Along with submitting the chapter, I turned in my entire dissertation in and graduated from the University of New Mexico this May, completing my Ph.D.!
Somewhere in April or May, between drafting figures, submitting a dissertation, nursing at 9:30 PM, 11 PM, 1AM, 3 AM, 5 AM, and being so exhausted on a run that I walked 3 miles home on an easy run, I realized that spring racing was not going to happen as I had envisioned. This realization probably should have come sooner, however, I am stubborn. I really, really wanted to race on the track. I really, really wanted to be in shape again. I missed being in shape. I felt great on some of my runs, but I felt the underlying, creeping exhaustion that I knew meant I wasn’t recovering, and I wasn’t looking forwards to runs as I knew I normally ought to. I slept through several alarm clocks (I run early in the morning), a rarity, as I’m a light sleeper and energetic morning person. I took a few naps (a rare occurrence), collapsing into an incoherent heap when my daughter took her afternoon naps. My milk supply suffered (I’m still nursing), and my ravenous 7 month old protested hungrily.
Then I got a cold. Normally able to bounce back from colds with just a day or two of extra hydration and rest, I got sicker. Then, I got a fever. Soon, I was shaking, weak, and before I knew it, I had mastitis. A nasty sickness if ever devised, these infections of the mammary glands can be extremely dangerous. After suffering these symptoms for a week or so, pain began radiating from my ear. I thought I had my first-ever sinus infection, and waited to get better. However, pain intensified, and after a few days, I went to the doctor, who diagnosed me with an ear infection! My first ear infection in about 30 years! A round of antibiotics for ear and breast, and I feel a million times more human.
Through this process, however, I bailed on both of my spring goal races. Taking a deep breath, and repeating the words a friend told me (“it’s only June”), I’m dialing back my hyper-enthusiasm, taking a longer, progressing return to racing approach, and am excited to be structuring my fall/winter 2016 and early spring 2017 race calendar. I’m also not beating myself up for not being back in Olympic Trials shape. I know that I’ve prioritized my family and completing my degrees over returning to racing shape over the last year, and I’m glad I’ve done so. I might be yearning and missing being able to race fast and hard this spring (especially since it’s an Olympic year!), but I know that I will get back into racing shape, and I know my slower, steady approach will get me there healthy, happy, and without driving the rest of my family insane! So, here’s to summer training and fall racing!
Just to keep things exciting…we got a puppy. We are enthusiastically welcoming Lemonade (named by my almost- 4 year old daughter) the Golden Retriever to our family!