Thursday, October 29, 2009

I'm No Superman

I've never thought myself as delusional. I've always considered myself to be fairly rational with a realistic outlook on life. So it's come as a devastating shock to find out the truth - I'm not Superman (or woman if we want to be gender-anal) I am aging whether I like it or not.

Forty-six isn't exactly old but neither is it young. Forty-six is middle-aged and middle-aged means that your body doesn't function quite as efficiently as it used to. I've been running for years but only training seriously, with a squad and a coach, for two years. And I've been training hard. Speed on Tuesday, a tempo or interval run Wednesday, hills on Thursday and a long, slow run Saturday (which was never that slow) I'm really diligent with my program - rarely missing a day - plus I like to fit in as many races during the racing season as I can. I ran every run as hard as I could and neglected the very thing that's fundamental to training - Rest!

Overtraining Syndrome should be re-named Under-recovery Syndrome. It's subtle. Creeping up on you disguised as other minor annoyances that can be explained away. The reason I ran so poorly at the Brisbane Marathon Festival was because I was coming down with a stomach virus and I was slow in the Sydney Half because of the hills and everyone knows that I'm not great at hills. The fact that I felt crap every day, even when I hadn't trained, was incidental. But when people started to ask what was wrong, why wasn't I running so well, I had to assess the situation.

I went and had blood tests which showed that I was remarkably healthy for someone who was always exhausted. Not anaemic. Thyroid working well. Not going through menopause and great cholesterol levels. My heart rate was under 70, which to most people is good, but to me was high. The only thing it could be was Overtraining Syndrome.

Being the self-appointed 'Google Queen', I spent a lot of time researching OTS and apart from the physical side of things there is a large component of emotional in the mix. The situation that my family has been through this year (that I may or may not elaborate on at a later date) would definitely have been compounding things. It was a 'Perfect Storm' of factors that has brought me to this point. And yesterday I got the news that I wasn't to run two events that I'd been looking forward to. Crap, crap, crap, crap, crap!

I did know in my heart-of-hearts that it probably was a good idea to scrap them but I still didn't want to hear it. The good news is that Canberra Marathon is still a strong possibilty. And I had an okay run yesterday - almost 7k with a walk up the hill and not feeling like I needed a nap in the afternoon.

Actually, I could still be Superman - Superman who's been exposed to Kryptonite.

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