Training Weeks 1-2, but Not 3

Official training for the 2017 Boston Marathon kicked off on December 12, but let me back up a bit. My physical therapist had given permission to start running again the week of Thanksgiving. It was slow and steady at first, but I was feeling pretty good with the run/walk intervals. We moved to once a week appointments instead of twice a week. By the week of December 4, I wanted to “start” the training program to make sure I’d be able to keep up with everyone for our first Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge group run the following Saturday. I did 4 miles Monday, 3 miles Tuesday, 3 miles Thursday, and then 6 miles (out of the possible 10 miles some people on the group run did, but then again, some only ran 3-4 so I wasn’t at the bottom of the pack). My PT specifically told me not to run 6 after only having run 3-4 max up until then, but I felt good and I took a few walk breaks during the second half of the run because it was a lot of uphill.

That run was pretty cool because I ran Miles 15-18 of the Boston Marathon, then turned around and ran 18-15. Miles 15-18 are the Wellesley Hills, which lead into the Newton Hills, which end with Heartbreak Hill. It was cool to run part of the course I’ve never run before. In fact, I’ve never run further west than Heartbreak.

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Look at that elevation!

Our amazing volunteers had a water/Gatorade/candy/pretzel station for us at Mile 3, so that’s where I fueled up, took a short rest, and turned around to head back. As soon as I got back to Marathon Sports, I had to jump in the car and drive to Holliston for Julia’s son’s 1st birthday party. She was kind enough to let me take a hot shower – Wellesley is about halfway between my apartment and her house so it would’ve been silly to drive all the way back to Boston just to shower – but that car ride was cold and miserable, even with the heat blasting. It was 20° outside and 10° with the wind chill, but of course I had sweat during the run so I was soaked.

The next week was really Week 1 of our training program, so I repeated it. Except this time, I moved my Thursday run to Friday. It was -25° with the wind chill, so I ran on the dreadmill at the Y instead. Good thing I broke down and bought a membership for the winter, because it snowed heavily the next morning so I had to do Saturday’s miles at the gym as well. I did 4 on the dreadmill and 2 on the elliptical because my hamstring was killing, and I didn’t want to blow it out. Our team coach, Jack, has won the Marathon and coached many a Boston Marathoner, and said the Cybex Arc Trainer (what the Y has), is the best machine workout a runner can do, aside from the treadmill. He recommends it any time you’re sore, so I didn’t feel as bad about cutting corners.

20161218_125754The next day, I went on my cookie baking spree. I set out to bake about 12 dozen cookies – sugar, gingerbread, peanut butter kiss, peppermint patties, and chocolate chip (my dad doesn’t really care for any other cookies, so gotta make the man happy!). I ended up freezing the peanut butter cookie dough so I could bake them and add the Hershey kisses the following week, closer to Christmas. I saved the sugar cookies for the end and was starving by this point, so when there wasn’t quite enough dough left for another cookie, I ate it. Big mistake.

Within two hours I was hurling the baked potato I had eaten for dinner as well as the two beers I’d had earlier in the day while baking. I continued to puke for 36 hours, missing work on Monday and not sleeping well at all. I went into work on Tuesday and Wednesday but still felt like crap and barely ate. Stupid, I know, but on Thursday I went to PT. Afterward, I felt truly terrible and was about to go to bed at 6pm when my brother decided he wanted to head back to our dad’s a night early. I made him drive, and we stopped for grinders on the way out of town. I was finally hungry but for some reason, that food sat in my stomach all night and I woke up feeling like I had just eaten it. I barely ate on Friday until we went out to dinner to my favorite restaurant. I had a beer, some spinach dip, and half my burger and was full & happy. But I woke up this morning nauseated and again feeling like my food wasn’t digesting. I had 100% planned for a 6-mile run to the other end of town and back (after deciding against meeting up with a DFMC teammate who lives in Northampton, because I wanted to stay closer to home in case I felt sick). But I woke up feeling so awful that I let Rags out, gave him his pills, and went back to bed until 11am. I tossed and turned and didn’t sleep well, and I still haven’t eaten as of writing this at 3pm. I had coffee and water and am just now starting to feel hungry, but still dizzy and “off.”

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Finished cookies, some waiting to be boxed for mailman & neighbors

“Off” is the best way to describe how I’ve felt all week. I’m sure not eating is leading to feeling weak/dizzy, but I feel seriously ill whenever I eat. If I got salmonella from raw egg, I read that it can last several days or even weeks. Or, it could’ve been E.coli from the flour. I really hoped I would feel better by now and that having Thursday and Friday off from work would help, but nothing seems to be working.

At present, my dad is prepping tonight’s Christmas Eve feast, of which lobster is the main attraction. I’m just hoping I don’t hurl afterward. I managed to decorate all the cookies I baked last weekend (except the peanut butter ones because I forgot the dough in my freezer in Boston).

As terrible as I feel, I am growing concerned about missing an entire week of training. Just walking up the stairs takes effort right now. I am bringing all my running stuff to my mom’s with me tomorrow in hopes that I will feel well enough to run on Monday. Honestly, by then it’ll have been over a full week, and I may just set out on a 4-mile walk if I have to. I have got to get these miles in soon!

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