Monday, March 24, 2008

I'm becoming an expert...

I'm rapidly becoming an expert in an area that I never thought I'd have experience with, and definitely did NOT want to get any better at.

That's right, ladies and gentlemen...I am becoming an expert at not running marathons...

The week of my 20 mile run I had the flu, so I only got in about 5 miles. I figured I'd be strong enough based on the rest of my training to do at least a run/walk.

Flip forward to last Tuesday. Hm, chest feels a little congested and I'm coughing. Almost like an asthma attack.


So I went to the doctor Saturday, and again today, and the short story is I have pneumonia. That pretty much means I can kiss goodbye both this weekend's Shamrock Shuffle 8K downtown in Chicago, but also next weekend's St. Louis Marathon looks to be almost an impossibility.

Turns out the STL Marathon organizers will allow you to switch from the full to the half marathon, so there's a chance there--but that depends on me getting a LOT better in between now and then. Right now that's the only hope, but it's very slim indeed.

Let's review my training/not running marathoning history:

- 2006: Trained for the Chicago marathon, but dropped out after week 11 because of plantar fasciitis.
- 2007: Trained for and started the Chicago marathon, but couldn't finish because of the course being closed after 4 hours.
- 2008: See above.

Am I disappointed? Yes, absolutely. But I know that skipping it is the right thing to do...there's no point in causing more damage to myself, taking longer to recover, etc.

I'm signed up for Chicago this fall, and training should start around the June timeframe, so we'll see how this goes.

I'm trying to look on the bright side, though--not running marathons opens up a whole new world of possibilities! I thought that someday I could run the world majors (Chicago, Boston, New York, London, and Berlin)...then, I looked at the qualifying times for Boston and New York. Yeesh! But with little to no effort at all, I can not run all of those marathons! Think of the money and time I'll save!

I kid, I joke. Laughter has always been a defense mechanism for me, and I'm deflecting the upset and the negative emotions I feel. The good news--I ran 90% of the miles in my original plan, I ran faster than I ever have (in fact, completed 5 miles just last Monday at a 9:15 pace), and after a little rest and recouperation there's nothing that says I can't try again.

So Sara, from the excellent Running From The Law blog, I know you're running St. Louis--do well, finish strong, and make me proud! (C:

I'll be checking back in now and then, and this is an excellent time for me to catch up on posts that are more than just running reports...but for now, back to bed to let the medicines do their thing.

Run strong, y'all...


Rick said...

Sorry to read this news, Jim. It is a huge disappointment and I was so fearful that I would have to drop out of my race the following week back in February when I began having issues with my right leg. I can understand your disappointment.

You are right, you will be saving a lot of time and money on the pursuit of the majors. When I saw our qualifying time for Boston, I just thought, NEVVA! Not gonna happen. I think even if I wanted to try and qualify that I couldn't. My body just couldn't handle that kind of training I don't think, plus I simply just don't have the time for it.

I am sincerely sorry for this setback Jim. Do look ahead and forward to Chicago though. It will be much nicer training in no snow!

jtj3 said...

Thanks for the words of encouragement Rick. I had a bad afternoon--I had my little "pity party", as my wife calls it. But then I looked back on all the good I'd gotten out of my training, which gave me encouragement. I was also encouraged by the fact that this illness was not caused by anything I did--it just happened. I did all I could to be ready, but maybe God had (has?) other plans.

I'm taking some time off but you can bet I'll be good and ready when Chicago rolls around this year... (C:

Rick said...

I'll be lookin' in. ;-)

Sara said...

No! That's just not fair! I'm so sorry to hear that you won't be running St. Louis with me. That completely breaks my heart. How devastated you must be to have worked so hard. You should be so proud of your accomplishments and your consistent training. You're completely right, this was nothing caused by you and "Someone" has other plans for you. Just think how much stronger and more determined you'll be for the next race.

Why don't you pick one in May or June? There are all kinds of marathons coming up in the next few months. I've heard great things about Grandma's Marathon and San Diego R&R, both in June. That should give you plenty of time to recover from this illness and jump back into your training schedule.

But no matter what you do, rest up. Pneumonia is very serious. Take care of yourself. I'll be thinking of you!

jtj3 said...

Hey Sara, thanks! I'm touched...thanks for your concern and for your kind words. Devestated...yeah, you could say that. Then again, it's not like my training went to complete waste, and I believe that things happen for a reason--you're absolutely right that "Someone" has a bigger plan for me.

I may not start running again for another few weeks, so I think I'll do some middle-distance races (10 milers, maybe a half) over the summer. I'm targeting Chicago again this year, so we'll see how that works out. Speaking of which--you should consider coming up for it! I know your last trip to Chicago was'll be better in October, trust me. (C:

Thanks again for your kind words and support. I look forward to your post-race report, and will be thinking about you next week!!!