Rest days

The other day I was supposed to run 13 K, or eight miles.

I didn’t.

The week before, I had one of my biggest mileage weeks, nearly 38.5 miles, with a 17-mile long run – my largest yet. My legs were really tired, but I planned to do a bigger week, a deviation from my five-on, four-on base plan.

On Monday I did six and had to stop twice at a lodge near my house because of stomach issues. Tuesday, I did another six with 10 two-minute intervals of speed. I had to push myself through it. Wednesday was a scheduled off day, which I took but was up at 4:30 a.m. and had to walk 3 K to Maseru for work.

I haven’t slept well the last couple of weeks. I am fairly certain I have bed bugs, a common thing when living where I do, and I up for hours at a time itching. I tried spraying my mattress and setting it out in the sun, but that only made it worse. I have barely slept the last couple of nights and today it was evident.

At school, the students are taking final exams and it was my day to supervise, but we were done at noon. I came home right away and fell into my bed. I watched a movie and shut it off at half way and took an hour and half nap. When I woke up, knowing I should run, I heard the howling of the wind and didn’t want to fight it.

I am finally getting to a point where I truly love running. It is not about fitting in skinny jeans or punishment for pizza. It is something I truly enjoy doing and it makes me feel strong and beautiful and I don’t want to lose that. If I am constantly forcing myself to run on the days that it is hard, it will become a chore. I have five months till the race and hopefully a lifetime of this sport; it can’t be a chore.

Yes, I know I need to push myself to achieve this goal, but if I go to hard I could get hurt and, worse, lose the fun. So when my body needs rest, I need to do it.

This is the first true rest day in some time. After my 17 miler last week, I was all over the place visiting friends and pools, that I never gave my legs any actual rest time. Most of my rest days fall on when I have to go to town and I am still walking 6 K because of my village’s distance to the main road. What my legs need is rest. I may not even do yoga today.

I refuse to feel guilty about this rest because come February, when I am racking up really long runs and high mileage, I need strong legs. Not ones that are damaged from too much wear and tear at the beginning. I am determined to train smart and rest is smart.

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