Monday, March 18, 2013

St. Paddy's Day 17K + Sick, Sicker, and Sickest

Well, we're working on Day 6 of illness in the Average Runner household.  E. started the festivities rolling last week Wednesday when she came down with fever and a sore throat.  The next day, I took her in to the doctor's to have her diagnosed with strep throat.  Ugh!  As LG had been a bit off recently too, I had him tested as well, and he came away positive for the illness as well.  Double ugh.  So, they both were started on antibiotics, which went splendidly until Saturday when LG started throwing up.  Yesterday, although his stomach had settled, he did have fever, wasn't eating, and didn't want to do anything but sleep.  Today, no fever but as of this point still resting and not eating a lot.  To make things even more joyful, I started feeling a bit puny yesterday, which I no doubt exacerbated by running a 17K St. Paddy's Day event in minus 1 windchill yesterday morning.  After going to bed at 7:45 p.m. last night, I woke up at 6:10 a.m. feeling more rested but with a definite cold.  Tripple ugh.  So, that is the short version of my last few days.  Now on to the race recap.

I signed up for the local St. Paddy's Day 17K event at the last minute for a couple of reasons, not the least of which was that I needed to fit in a 10-mile training run anyway and I don't have nearly enough race shirts.  Add to that the fact that this event was practically in my backyard and not that expensive, and I thought why not?  What I didn't count on was that it would be damn cold.

When I woke up yesterday morning, the windchill was at -1.  I can't remember exactly what the air temperature was, because once I heard the windchill I became fixated on that.  It just goes to show how "hardcore" of a runner I have become that I just sucked it up, glossed over the worrying about the temperature part, and went straight on to deciding what I was going to wear.

What I came up with was a ridiculous amount of layering, as shown here.

I feel like the Michelin Man in this outfit, but it was as close to warm as I could become without over dressing.  What I ended up with was insulated tights, running skirt/capris, compression socks and regular socks on the bottom.  On top I had arm warmers, SmartWool shirt, shell jacket, long-sleeve technical shirt and short sleeve technical shirt.  Finishing touches were a green fleece scarf, Breath Right gloves under Saucony's wind breaker glove/mitts, and - because I couldn't find any of my wicking or Breath Thermo lids - a cotton hat.  For the most part, I feel I was dressed as well as could be expected.  I was still miserably cold, but at least I was in a position to survive this debacle.  The hat was a bit of a fail only in that by the end of the race it had frozen solid and was causing some discomfort to my ears which were pressed up against the ice.

Hat frozen solid.
The race itself was fine.  In nicer weather, I might have even been able to enjoy it.  The venue - Tanners Bar and Grill - was a great place to stage pre- and post-race activities.  There was plenty of room and it appeared that they had all sorts of games going on.  The course was perhaps not the most scenic, but a lot of that might have been due to the weather.  The 17K wound through familiar neighborhoods and incorporated several out-and-backs to get the mileage in.  The best part of the run was being on the CE trail - a paved recreational trail - for about four miles.  The trail, which is not maintained in the winter, extends quite a bit further, and in nicer weather - with no snow on the ground - could potentially make up the bulk of the 17K's distance.  Unfortunately, though, unless the race directors wanted to take on the clearing of an entire winter's buildup of snow over many more miles, it's not possible to do that.  As it was, the race management did make sure the shorter section of trail that we utilized was cleared and salted.  There were plenty of water stations serving water and Gatorade and volunteers (some dressed as leprechauns!) pointing the way at every corner.

As for my race, I definitely wasn't at my best, but probably not my worst either.  I woke up already feeling a bit of a scratchy throat but not really drained of energy, so the decision to do the run was easy.  I didn't wear a watch at all, as I had half a thought to join a couple of friends for the run.  As it was, though, I didn't find them at the start so ended up running alone.  Without the watch, I am sure I started out too fast, but - as usual - I made up for it by slowing down in the second half, which was punctuated by several nice hills.  I walked the uphills and raced down the downs to the best of my ability and took occasional other walk breaks as I got tired.  In the end, even though I felt I had done terrible during the run, my 10:25 average pace was really right at what I have been doing for the past couple months of training.  In fact, it's on the speedier side of my long run paces, so I guess I can't be too disappointed or surprised.  After all, it's unreasonable to expect that I will actually get faster until I start adding some speedwork to the mix.

So, I guess in hindsight I am happy with my efforts.  At the time, not so much.  Finishing yesterday's race, I was pretty much done.  I was tired, cold, and all I wanted was to get home, take a hot shower, and finally have my first cup of coffee for the day.  So, uncharacteristic for me, I crossed the finish line, entered the backdoor of Tanners, walked through the venue, walked out the front door, got in my car and went home.  I didn't look for anyone to talk to, I didn't grab any post-race goodies, I just left.  In fact, I was so out of it that I was halfway home before I even realized I hadn't even disconnected my key from my water bottle before driving.

Ah well, next race is the Trailbreaker Half Marathon in the Milwaukee area.  With any luck, I won't be coming down with a cold for that one and will be able to enjoy the day with some lovely running friends.  Until then, the training continues.

FRIDAY ROUNDUP - several days late

Synopsis:  I think last week I started feeling the effects of piling on higher mileage.  I definitely was a bit tired and even took Monday off of running, even though I should have run.  I feel a bit guilty about that, but not much.  By Friday, things were perking up a bit again, but that was just in time to start feeling a bit under the weather.  With sick kids, two runs were on the treadmill....In fact, I didn't get out at all last week, really.  Hmpf.  Winter should be over by now, shouldn't it?
Saturday: All of 10 minutes on the rowing machine.  I just wasn't feeling it.
Sunday: Half hour (3 miles) running outside, followed by THREE HOURS running on a track at the Y.  I am hoping that all equaled about 20 miles, but no way to know for sure.  Not beating myself up about it though.
Monday: 40 Minutes elliptical + 1 hour power yoga class. (Was supposed to run six miles but was too sore from the day before, or maybe running in circles for three hours just turned me off of running for a day.)
Tuesday: Attempted walk of Miss Dog, but too icy, so nothing....
Wednesday: 4-Mile run on treadmill
Thursday: Rest
Friday: 8-Mile run on treadmill (with walking hill climbs interspersed throughout) 
Total Mileage: 32 Miles 


  1. The kids have been sick at least 8 times each this winter. I've never seen anything like it. I've avoided all of it until I caught a cold at the end of last week- I'm finally starting to kick it today. I think you did amazingly well. I would have bailed in that weather, so I think you're pretty dang tough! Nice work.

    1. Thanks but I don't feel too tough right now (she says as she sneezes). I am just glad to have gotten it done. Sorry to hear about your season of illnesses. Seems to be the year for it. Most folks I know have had multiple down-and-outs this winter. Here's to a better and healthier spring!