Monday, March 28, 2011

What's My Problem?

Something isn't right, and the most frustrating thing is that I do not know what.

Until two weeks ago, I was training for my second marathon. I'd been on a great path with solid long runs and several workouts designed to increase my pace. I was feeling great and seeing real progress. My wife even suggested that the training was helping me lose a pound or two. That's never a bad thing!

Enter a sinus infection. Since we moved to Alabama many years ago, sinus infections have become a regular nuisance. I take allergy meds daily, which decreased their frequency from six or more a year to two-three a year. When I do get them now, they're almost like having the flu in terms of what they do to me physically. And they seem to wait until the end of the week to strike so they get a couple days jump on phoning or seeing a doctor to get the usual treatment started.

Anyway, this last one carried out the usual butt-kicking for about five days. Although frustrating, I didn't expect to lose that much of my recent running gains. I've missed that many days before and bounced back with minimal loss. But this time, something is different.

Although I feel fine otherwise, when I set out to run, I'm getting fatigued far too soon. I've tinkered with my diet, both timing and food, with no change. It is a miserable time for allergies here, but the infection cleared, and I've been able to train through the spring in years past.

I don't think it's mental. I'm going into my workouts with my usual determination and do not sense my mind abandoning me. If anything, I want to run more than I seem able to do right now.

I'm smart about water and sodium levels, and have tinkered with both with no difference in results.

I'm at the end of what I know to try to overcome this funk. Today I looked realistically at the state of training and decided to abandon the planned second marathon. It will have to wait until early summer or fall. In the meantime, I'll continue trying to determine why my progress has suddenly been stopped in its tracks.

Ever faced such frustration with a student? I know I have. Sometimes it seems like no matter what you do as a teacher, you cannot enlighten a certain student's mind. I've noticed that when I face such a challenge, my other students are often my greatest help. I can't tell you how many times another student has turned to a struggling classmate and explained something in such a way that the classmate's face lights up with the dawn of understanding. Sometimes it's what the helpful student said. Sometimes it's how the helpful student said it. Sometimes it's just a matter of timing. Nonetheless, I've seen many a student step in and accomplish what the guy with the education degrees could not.

So, my fellow runners, I'm struggling. Any insights, suggestions, armchair diagnoses, or wisdom will be appreciated!