Thursday, October 17, 2013


Today's post was going to be all about how well I was recovering from Sunday's marathon. About how good I was feeling. About how my legs were improving incrementally from one day to the next.

But things have changed in the last 24 hours and I'm posting this from my bed.

Yes, I've become a perfect example of how marathon running can reduce the efficacy of the immune system.

Apparently running for longer than 90 minutes can cause the immune system to become weaker. And there's no way in hell that I'm ever going to run a half marathon in that time, let alone a full one. Add in a bit of shivering after the race due to being soaked to the skin with rain, hanging around in big crowds at the race, sitting in a plane with recycled air (ie recycled viruses) for over two hours) and then  spending quality time in doctors' waiting rooms and pharmacies with my crippled husband and I guess that a cold was probably inevitable. I'm just grateful that it didn't happen before the race.

So while I'm lying here I've had plenty of time to analyse my race and share two tips on 'what not to do' if you want to run a PB.

Firstly, DO NOT WORK YOURSELF UP INTO SUCH A STATE THAT YOU CAN'T EAT BEFORE THE RACE. The few days before a marathon are probably the only time in your life that you get to eat carbs without guilt and pretty much without limit. This is an important part of race preparation. No fuel = no energy to run with.

That goes for fluids as well. I certainly didn't drink much the day before because I was worried about throwing everything up so when I got into the race I found I was a lot thirstier than I usually would be - particularly as the weather wasn't that warm and I wasn't sweating much. As little as 2% dehydration can lead to a 6% reduction in running performance - not so vital in a 5k race but very important in a marathon.

These two things were the only things that were actually in my control that impacted my run. The timing of my period, getting a migraine aura and all the stress I had before the race wasn't something I could have managed any differently but I know that if I'd managed to fuel decently I would have lasted a lot longer before feeling tired. And because I need to know the answer to how much better I could have run, I've already picked my next marathon.

No, I won't be running another in a few weeks. I've had too many run-ins with overtraining syndrome to even contemplate that. I'm planning on recovering properly by just taking it easy for the rest of this month and then building back up.

My next marathon will be in April next year in Canberra. All things going well and fingers crossed.

And this time I'm not so scared about what's ahead of me - those stupid long runs and setting the alarm for 3:15am. I'm actually looking forward to it.

And just a quick update on the two patients that I had to leave behind over the weekend. Iven's only made a slight improvement. I have to admit to being a negligent wife who was a little preoccupied with other stuff and I didn't insist on getting him to the physio. But he hadn't wanted to do the physio thing until he was feeling a bit better. It all came to a head on Wednesday when he was in awful pain again and wanted to go back to the hospital. Luckily a local physio managed to fit him in at very short notice and already (after just two visits) Iven's feeling more comfortable. He's still walking like a crooked man and can't sit or stand for any length of time but we're hopeful that he's on the road back.

And Toby is also doing a lot better. I don't think I mentioned this last week but poor old Toby had had an allergic reaction to something that had touched his belly last week. He'd come out in itchy welts and had licked them until his scrotum was red and oozing. Of course I didn't realise this until Friday night and then I was trying to work out the best way to get him up to the vet the next morning after I'd flown out. Thank goodness Luke could fit it in (despite having a huge load of assignments to finish off). So when I arrived home I was greeted by a much happier and less itchy puppy.


  1. Whew! Sorry you're feeling under the weather, but like you said, better after your race than before. And you must not be feeling too bad if you've already picked out your next one!
    Hope you all feel much better very soon - and have a good, relaxing weekend!

  2. First that photo of Toby is so adorable!

    Sorry to hear you are sick but I always try to look at the bright sight: at least it happened after the marathon. Take your time to recover.

    I have read a couple of times that 2 marathons a year are all a human body should handle. I know there are many people who run at least 1 marathon a month but in my opinion, that can't be good for the body unless you are a top athlete and even then ... So good for you you picked your next one in 6 months and I bet you'll be great at it. Look forward to following your training for this one.

    Speedy recovery for you, Iven and Toby.

  3. Oh dear, doesn't it always happen at once? You must have been so tired and stressed! I am glad you are able to take it easier now, and that Iven and Toby are on the mend too. Toby looks so cute clutching his toy with his collar on. Get well soon!

  4. Nice :) good advice and plan, hope you're all feeling better soon!

  5. Hope you are feeling better already. Studies show that up to 70% of Comrades runners get a cold or flu after the race. That is a high number so I am not surprised. Rest well and relax. You'll be super for April.

  6. Take care of yourself. I used to always get a cold after a marathon. But nothing too bad. Love the picture of Toby.
    Be up and baking soon!

  7. I don't think it's the Marathon that has reduced the immune system, I would say it's the stress...

  8. A relaxing weekend may help you. Feel better soon!

  9. I wondered how you were getting along this week - sorry to hear you are sick. I hope that you can take it easy all weekend (even with poor Iven and his back!). And poor Iven - I hope he gets some relief soon!!
    WooHoo - glad to hear you already have a new race picked!!!

  10. Man, I've missed a lot. I just did some catch up reading on your last three posts. Sounds like you need a vacation! I don't even know how to put into words what I'm feeling after reading all of that, other than you have a remarkable way of finding a bit a sunshine in everything and then spinning it together perfectly in your writings. Sorry your marathon didn't go as planned, but your outlook toward the end really made me smile. Hope everyone gets better, and take care of yourself as well. I was just warning Michael yesterday about loading up on Vitamin C for the next few days for that very reason. Have a good weekend and everyone continue to get some much needed rest.

  11. With all the stress you had before even running, how could you not be sick? Rest up and feel better. Hopefully your poor boys will be better soon too.

  12. Just catching up on your blog. Wow, so much going on! I'm sorry you are sick. I have been taking Emergent-C since post race trying to keep sickness away, especially since I was sick going in to the race. Hope you are feeling better soon and things get a lot less crazy.

  13. Oh, take care and rest up! A little break is surely your reward for that hard training and the stressful lead-up to the marathon.

    Take care!

  14. You've well and truly earnt some bed rest time. Enjoy it, and take it easy. Fingers crossed that every family member (2 legged and 4 legged) are up to full speed soon xx

  15. Take some time to chill and enjoy some of your yummy cupcakes!!!

    Poor Toby..... those cones make them look so frail..... not so much when they've got a stuffed animal in their mouth! hee hee so cute!

  16. Hey, but you finished the Melbourne Marathon! Congrats! Wonderful news. It's hard to R&R, I feel we runners have an awful time accepting that. And as we get older (not that I am calling us "old") it is even more important. Were you able to get the TPTherapy foam roller or body kit? I hope so, I really believe in the product for recovery (it's > popular overseas & in Asia, than even here in the states)

  17. oh no! sorry to hear you're sick but glad that it came AFTER the run. take care and rest up!!

  18. Congrats to you on the marathon. My body shuts down at the thought of running let alone 90 mins of it!!


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