My training was spot-on. I ran 20.5 miles in 3 hours and 20 minutes, including a jaunt up Temescal and up and down the hills of the Pacific Palisades. I've been doing my track workouts, strength training, cross training, listening to my coach, staying on my program. If it's 5:15 am on a weekday, odds are I'm up and getting ready to workout before a long day at work.
Then, I spent 8 days in Israel during my two-week "taper" before the Santa Clarita Marathon. In spite of a few evening indulgences of alcohol, I had some amazing runs -- 6.25 miles, and 8 miles, as morning runs along the Mediterranean coast in Tel Aviv just after sunrise. I ran ten miles one morning in Jerusalem, where even in warm weather and on a hilly course I was able to keep a 9:30 per mile pace. I even "ran" Masada -- up to the top, turned around and came halfway down, then back to the top, in 80-90 degree heat.
At the top of MasadaMy taper running in Israel couldn't have been better.
Then, I flew back home on Monday night. The flight was about 15 hours, and I sat next to an older man who kept sniffling. Maybe he got me sick, I don't know. I had a heck of a time adjusting to the time change -- the first few nights home, I found myself falling asleep by 8 pm and waking up at 3 am. Then I developed a cold.
I thought this cold would pass, but it hasn't, and I feel lousy. I don't get sick very often, but during the last race I ran, the Long Beach Half Marathon on October 9, I was getting over a viral gastroenteritis. I finished with what most would consider a good finishing time (2:09), but it wasn't up to what I should have done. After the race, I landed in the med tent for half an hour, unable to stand up for fear of vomiting or passing out, and it took an hour to walk the mile from the finish line to my car. Long story short, I should not have run that race.
And I'm taking that lesson to heart -- Santa Clarita is an important race for me, and I want to have my best marathon finisher time yet. If I try to run tomorrow, I will feel lousy and be disappointed with my performance.
So, I'm completely bummed out, but I am skipping tomorrow's marathon.
However, I will not let my base training go to waste. I am contemplating three different options:
--Santa Barbara Marathon -- Saturday, November 12, next weekend. Rolling hills, similar to Santa Clarita, a point-to-point race that isn't all too scenic until the end.
--Malibu Marathon -- Sunday, November 13, next weekend. Very hilly, especially over the last 8 miles. Not a race where I will post a very fast time, but at least it's local and I might be able to talk my family into cheering me on at the end.
--California International Marathon -- December 4, a month from now. It's relatively fast, with great crowd support, and a few rolling hills. But it's in Sacramento, it's cold (28 degrees at the start line when I did the race 2 years ago!) and would require flying to the race. And I don't feel like waiting another month to run.
I am leaning toward doing Santa Barbara. In the meantime, I'll be resting (which I'm not very good at) and hoping this cold passes.