So my body is finally dropping me a hint so unsubtle that even I can't fail to notice.
I've been feeling a bit under the weather. Time was that I would go from year-to-year with barely so much as a sniffle. I used to think that this was down to my general levels of fitness and my superhuman intake of fruit and veg.... it turns out that it was more likely due to my overactive immune system. Now that I inject immuno-suppressants every week, my resistance to colds has predictably been somewhat less impressive. I still don't get all that many, but every couple of years I now seem to get a stinker that I can't shake. I was pole-axed through November/December and some of January by a cold so persistent that I actually managed to crack a rib with coughing and wasn't really able to run properly for more than a month. The rib has barely healed, and already I seem to be on the edges of another cold... the scratchy throat, the catarrh, the ominous burning feeling at the top of your lungs.... uh oh.
Coupled with this (and perhaps not unrelated) are the problems I've started having with my legs: the stiffness in my muscles that sees me staggering around like an old man in the morning and that seems to have taken some of the spring out of my muscles when I'm running.
I've been going to interval sessions at the track to try and shake my training up a bit and to accustom my heart, my lungs and my muscle to running a bit faster. I'm one of the slowest people there, but it's been good to push my comfort zones and to work myself hard. I idly dread the sessions all day, but feel great at the end... so I've kept going.
I ran 11.5 miles on Sunday. I've got a half marathon coming up in a couple of weeks, and although I'll be running with a friend who is looking at running about 2.5 hours, I want to make sure that my body knows what's coming. The hip on my weaker side gave me some bother in the last couple of miles, and I wasn't as fast as I'd like to be, but I was faster than the last time I ran that route, and it was all good.
Then I went to run 4.5 miles on Monday and just found that the well was dry and that I was totally gubbed. I ran the same route in the first week of March and I was 8 minutes faster.... in practical terms, that means that I was a mile behind where I was merely three weeks ago. My legs felt dead, my feet were completely numb and I just had nothing at all in the tank.
I felt terrible.
Alright! Alright! Enough already! I can take a hint!
I'm giving myself the rest of the week off (not including my cycle commute to work, of course... I don't count that as exercise any more). I already feel bad about missing the track session tomorrow night, but I"m off skiing next week and I don't want to make myself any worse.
The last 12 months have shown me how strong my body is (London Marathon, Thunder Run 24 hours, 1200+ miles in the year), but also how fragile.