Odd Year Blues?
It's early but I might be off to a rough start with the running season. My shoulder-neck (trapezius) seized up the other week, leaving me in abject pain for a couple of days. I went to an acupuncturist, for the first time ever, and lo! it did work. I felt immediately better and went from barely being able to move or get up and down to for an amazing glacier ski (probably 20K of skiing) the very next day. And then I did fun ski relay (2 X 1K) on the day after the glacier ski. A follow-up acupuncture treatment a few days later cleared up most of the remaining pain and stiffness.
Then last week, after a week or of some very promising workouts in preparation for the Chena River Run and other events, I came down with some sort of stomach flu--dizziness, nausea, and puking--and was out of it for two and a half days. Skipped the racing part, but did run it with my wife Tamara, so that was a good thing anyway.
Now allergies have kicked in. And at this point, I'm wondering if a cold hasn't taken over. I hadn't been sick in more than two years and have had only minimal problems with allergies.
While trying to get back to sleep the other night, in a Zyrtec induced stupor, I kind of realized that bad things have often happened running-wise in odd years going back all the way to 1993. So I created a little table, actually quite long, to see if there was a pattern (click on the table for too much information).
In the odd years from 1993 through 2007 I've been knocked out of running (either completely or limited to 20 miles a week or less) for approximately 101 weeks. Even years, it's been 70 weeks; but if you consider that 52 of those weeks were during the dark year of 2002 when I was injured for the entire year due to patellar tendonitis that started in 2001, the reality is more like 18.
Note to self: Be afraid, be very afraid. That's a 5:1 ratio (or 1.5:1 if you go by the real numbers).
The other thing I did is chart my best races at 5 and 10K for each year after college, going back all the way to 1981. Age 35 was when things really started to slow down. At the time I was into my second year of field work for my dissertation, and I purposely decided to cut back on running that spring and focus on my work. I promptly gained about 8-10 lbs, which I've never been able to shake and by August that year got injured with shin splints and compartment syndrome.
Fought back like hell for years and things were going great from age 40 to 42, when, again, I decided to curtail the running to focus more on work and family. I got injured within 6 months, and then spent years trying to recover.
Lesson learned: like Tom Petty says, Don't Back Down