Running While Sick- To Do or Not To Do

Disclaimer: If you are ill, please consult your doctor for medical advice. I am not a doctor and I am writing from my own experience and research.

Runners are creatures of habit. We LOVE routines. This mostly works in our favor (determination, consistency, etc.), but there are situations when it can be our worst enemy. Running while sick can fall into that category.

Yesterday I had a very minor surgery where the doctors removed some cysts from my head. Fun times right? Like any seasoned runner, the first thing I asked the doctor post-OP was if I could run the following day. I imagine the doctor doesn’t hear that question very often.  He advised me to see how I felt and go from there.  Sounds reasonable right? But how do you determine the difference between an excuse or a legit concern?

Women’s Running posted an article in 2013 with a handy dandy flow chart that makes it easy to figure out if you should run or not.

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Link to the full article here: http://womensrunning.competitor.com/2013/06/training-tips/too-sick-to-run_13620#wTVZ04cS2ujIKeQD.97

I always ask my clients this, “does the illness pass the neck test?” If you are congested and that’s really it, go for a run!  It can actually help clear you out and temporarily alleviate the discomfort. On the other hand, if you have been vomiting, have stomach issues, and/or muscle fatigue, skip it. Running while experiencing these issues could only make matters worse.

You might be thinking, “well there goes my training and I won’t meet my goal!” Well not so fast.  There are other ways to train for running without actually running. Yeah…I am about to blow your mind people. Training encompasses so much than the physical aspect.  There is mental training, nutrition, education, fashion…okay I threw that last one in there 😛

Here are some other “cross-training” ideas:

-Read an inspirational book. Two of my all time favorites are Born to Run by Christopher McDougall and Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek.

-Watch a movie about sports.  I have to say, Rocky gets me every time.

-Research new healthy recipes to try out. Don’t worry I already did the heavy lifting for you with Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/hollym604/healthy-food/

-Treat yourself to some new gear via online shopping.  Don’t spread your illness at the store 😛

 

Take the rest day and give your body a chance to do its job. You’ll be back at it soon enough.

Happy running my friends!

Marine Corps Marathon Race Recap

On October 30th, I completed the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C.  My 10th marathon! Because why stop at 9? 😉 Marine Corps Marathon is one of my FAVORITE races.  You cannot beat the level of patriotism and support at this race.  I went into this race with a goal of finishing, no time goal.  I signed up for the race spontaneously, after I received an email from the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) stating that RRCA certified coaches can sign up for $40. I couldn’t even spell “no” to that offer! So I signed up with about 2 months to train, about half the time needed to properly train. But my base mileage had been pretty consistent for a while.

On race morning, I drove to D.C. (about a 30 minute drive) and parked at the Crystal City parking garage (for free!) at around 5 a.m.  Yes, it is an early start but I will always tell a fellow runner to get to the start area early to avoid long port-a-potty and security lines.  The last thing you want is to be rushing around panicking before you run a marathon. So I got through all the lines early and gave myself plenty of time to line up properly at the starting line. A lot of people do not realize that the start area is a good walk away from the actual start line. Maybe about a half a mile away? The race starts at 8 a.m. but I left the start area around 7:10 so I can see the fly over, which is just prior to the start.  I was able to catch some of the fly over on video.  So cool to watch it again even after the race!

And here is my happy face after that fly over!  Mission focused!

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Yes I am wearing a crappy old hoodie so I can stay warm haha. Another tip for Marine Corps Marathon, wear a hat or sunglasses!  The course does not have a lot of shade so the sun will definitely be in your eyes at several points on the course.

When 8 a.m. came, we were off!  Miles 1 through 3 are incredibly congested and it will be hard to run your planned pace.  Be flexible and do not panic.  You can definitely make up the time later in the race. Mile 4 is when you can really start hitting your pace even though the course is packed. Miles 1 through 4 are through Rosslyn and heading into Georgetown. Both neighborhoods are filled with spectators and you will definitely see some crazy costumes and funny signs!  My favorite signs were “This is a sign (but what does it mean?!)” and “Pain is temporary. The Internet is forever.”

Miles 5 through 9 are smooth sailing. All the spectators are still lining the streets and the energy is high. At mile 10 though, you are entering Hains Point. I have to be honest guys, it gets lonely here until about mile 13.  There are not a lot of spectators and the scenery leaves something to be desired. One special aspect of Hains Point is the blue mile.  This year it was between miles 10.5 and 11.5. Every few feet there was a sign with the picture of a marine who was killed in action.  It is a VERY emotional part of the course and allows you to silently thank those who have served our country.

Don’t worry though, miles 13 through 18 are back to the cheering crowds and help you get your mind back in the race.  But at mile 18, you will start your journey to “the bridge”. Yes, everyone just calls it “the bridge”. It’s just a long, boring bridge until mile 20.  At mile 18 someone was giving out watermelon Jolly Ranchers. I grabbed one and prayed that I’d make it over that bridge! My pace started to drop a bit here, but I expected that due to my tight training schedule. I made it to mile 20, which at that point you run around the Pentagon parking lot and into Crystal City. There is a TON of spectators lined up with food for the runners.  I have seen animal crackers, oranges, soda, donuts, Swedish Fish.  You name it and it’s probably there. I have to admit, Crystal City is always rough for me.  I hit the wall and as much as I want to get into the spirit, I am focused on just putting one foot in front of the other.

You leave Crystal City at about mile 24 and it’s gut check time! Again, it’s pretty lonely until about mile 25.5. At this point in the race, I have not stopped to walk.  For me, if I can run an entire marathon and stay mentally strong, I consider that a good day. I crossed the finish line in 4 hours and 12 minutes.  My slowest marathon time yet. But you know what?  I am not any less proud of the effort I put forward that day.

If you are looking for a well supported race course, with a ton of camaraderie and patriotism, this marathon is it. I recommend this race to everyone as a must do! I am so thankful to all our men and women who serve our country. A country where I am free to run and achieve my goals!

Oorah!

 

 

 

Army Ten Miler Recap

Disclaimer: I was not compensated by any of the companies mentioned in this post.  These are my opinions and mine alone. 

Last Sunday, October 9th, I had the great honor of running the 32nd Army Ten Miler in Washington D.C.  If you live in the area, heck even if you don’t, you NEED to race this race.

The day before the race, my running buddy and I headed to the expo at the DC Armory for packet pickup.  I love the fact that it’s at the DC Armory because there is plenty of free parking and it’s located just outside of D.C., making getting in and out of the city a cinch.

TIP: Go to the expo about 2 or 3 hours prior to closing.  Race gear (shirts, hoodies, mugs, etc.) will be steeply discounted.  I bought a hoodie, a tech shirt, and Tervis travel mug all for $40.  Score!

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After the expo, my running buddy and I drove to our hotel, the Hyatt in Rosslyn, to get settled in before dinner. Any time we are running a big city race, we like to stay in a hotel the night before.  It just makes race morning logistics a breeze instead of worrying waking up wwaayyyy too early and hitting gnarly traffic. And check out this blow dryer that was in the hotel room.  Way to step it up Hyatt!

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After unpacking, we were ready for dinner. Panera Bread is always a safe bet.  Not too heavy but still filling.  For me personally, I do not find it necessary to carb-load for a ten miler. I stick with a broth-based soup and sandwich. Another perk to eating Panera the night before a race?  You can get your morning bagel too!

So fun story, the forecast for race morning was sunny with heavy winds and temps around 70 degrees F. We woke up at 5:30 am to 50 degrees F and rain.  Whhattt?! So what did I wear for the race? A tank top and shorts of course.

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Luckily, we always bring “throw-aways” (aka old, stained hoodies) to our races. We swear by it!  Why waste energy shivering before the race actually starts? Luckily by race start at 8 am, the sun was out and it was starting to warm up.  I absolutely love the start of this race.  Normally the Golden Knights Parachute Team will jump with the American flag and land dead center on target, but this year because of the winds they were unable to do so. Total bummer! But at least there was the flyover of four UH-60 Army helicopters to kick off the race.  I did catch a picture of one right before the start.

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My game plan going into this race was just to have fun, but after the first mile I was feeling really good. Plus, I knew my boyfriend was waiting for me at mile 6. So that was definitely another reason I was feeling quite speedy!

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After finishing and showering, my boyfriend and I headed to Union Market for a post-race treat. A napoleon and a latte. A nice way to celebrate another successful race. 🙂

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A quick summary of the Army Ten Miler

Pros:

  • Well-organized
  • Great race gear
  • Tons of military pride
  • Fast, flat course

Cons: This is kind of a given since it is D.C., traffic trying to leave the race can be a nightmare. Roads are closed and it is very congested.

See you next year Army Ten Miler!!