I feel like I’m a hypochondriac lately. It went from having a sinus infection for the first time in my life to a broken rib and now a 3 day fever. When’s it gonna give? Could they all be related? Am I pushing too hard by having a giant mid-life career change, major move and training for 26.2 miles?
I like to think I’ve handled leaving my career as a physical therapist in the states and moving to France quite well over the past 2 months. I have become quite familiar with my surroundings and environment, which I contribute to running, and feel confident enough to do basic errands as needed without fear of my communication barrier. I’ve been food prepping for a majority of the weeknights and following my marathon and cross-training program without pushing too extreme, which is something my body has been used too since 2006. I take rest days and meditate with yoga.
All I can guess and relate my symptoms too are possibly the weather, seasonal affective disorder and increase in alcohol (my friend, Dorothy, did come to visit this weekend and we made the most of it), and stress.
I’m just gonna put this out there…NORTHEAST FRANCE WEATHER SUCKS. I mean North East US weather isn’t particularly phenomenal either. I’ve trained for 3 Boston Marathons in Boston from Thanksgiving to April. If you want to learn how not to get hit by a car or snowplow while peering around a snowbank in 10F weather with a negative windchill while testing your balance on untreated icy sidewalks, this is it. But Boston can have blue sky’s and sunny days in winter, amidst all the aforementioned descriptions. Days may be shorter but those winter sunny days were something I appreciated. Plus, while winter may seem to be the longest season, Boston gets all 4 glorious changes in the seasons which makes living there great for several reasons that I’ll let you decide.
Now, living in North East France (to be fair I’ve only lived here since December) while at times has been mild (40-50F) is to put it simply gray and raw. I would estimate it has been sunny 4-5 total days since living here. And when the sun does pop out, expect that rain is probably only an hour or two behind. It’s unpredictable. And although the weather is not frigid, the wind blows at least 10-22mph daily bringing the windchill down sometimes 20 degrees. Rain, it always freaking rains. I mean it’s not always a torrential downpour but it’s usually a mist. So raw, damp, gray and wind make for just about as miserable Boston weather training. With having experience in this matter, I really think this year’s training, weather, and sickness wise, has been worst.
In regards to cutting back on my training, I’ve taken advice from Runner’s World, who did an interview with Dr. Nieman in 2005 about running with a fever. At the time he headed the Appalachian State University Human Performance Laboratory and had also run 58 marathons and ultras. He used the “neck rule”. Symptoms below the neck (chest cold, bronchial infection, body ache) require time off, while symptoms above the neck (runny nose, stuffiness, sneezing) don’t pose a risk to runners continuing exercise. So, this week my focus is trying to stay optimistic and being smart about my recovery.