I'm super human and I can run marathons and bounce right back with little or no rest between races, etc. etc. Well, I am eating my words now.
Persistent fatigue (physical and mental exhaustion), increased resting heart rate, chronic nagging joint pain (my ankles hurt, they never hurt), lack of motivation, loss of appetite, restless sleep, increased stress, increase RPE, decreased performance (race results getting progressively worse not better), and weight gain (despite healthy diet and exercise routine) = OVERTRAINING!!!!!
The week started off pretty good, I went to the gym Monday and did some upper body strength training and intervals on the elliptical. Tuesday, the sun came out and it was a beautiful day and after work I was thinking of actually getting on my bike for a few miles before the Good Times 5K, but when I got home all I wanted to do was sleep. I had zero motivation and I even thought about skipping the race. I probably should have listened to that little voice in my head and skipped the race, but I didn't.
I went to the race even though I really didn't want to. It was hot and humid and I was feeling sluggish and slow. And to make things worse, I made the mistake of downing an entire bottle of Poland Spring sparkling water before I left the house. I learned in the first mile that carbonated water in your tummy gets shaken up while you run and causes a lot of painful bloating and kinda gross burping. Not fun. I ran the first mile in 8:30, not awful, but not as fast as I know I can run. Then it just went downhill from there, my splits, not the course. I felt like someone tied cinder blocks to my feet and the force of gravity was increasing with every step. A little after the 2 mile marker it started to sprinkle rain drops, at first it felt great because it was so hot out, then the sky really opened up and suddenly we were caught in a monsoon. Thunder and lightning and rain coming down so hard it kinda stung when it hit you. I finished the race in a little over 27 minutes which isn't horrible, but considering my PR for the course is 24:24 and I can run closer to 25 minutes under normal circumstances it was pretty disappointing. It was the metaphorical drop of water that broke the dam.
The next day at work I could barely hold my head up and I was so exhausted I couldn't focus, not to mention I had a headache for the past 2 days that still hadn't gone away even after taking 4 Advil. I haven't been sleeping well and I think it's a combo of work stress and not enough rest between races. I left at 9:00am and went home sick hoping a little rest would help. I slept from 9:30-11:30 and then from 12:00 to 4:30. I can't remember the last time I felt so completely drained.
Time for a break, perhaps a few days of, gasp, rest. Ugghhh, I hate rest. I have a half marathon this weekend, a tri next weekend and the following weekend, and pretty much a race every weekend for the next 8 weeks. Plus, training for Chicago and Goofy will start in June and ramp up over the summer. So, that leaves limited time for rest. It's now or never. I figure I need to listen to my body and give in to the need for some recovery before I get really sick or worse injured. So, the plan for the next few days is to do NOTHING. No running, no cross training, no biking, no strength training. Just rest and relaxing - sounds great to most people, it's torture for me! I'll get through it though and be better off and hopefully stronger after a few days off.