Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Since my last post, my health has improved a bit, but not enough.  I have been back to the doctor's and am waiting for results from a chest x-ray and bloodtests.  I won't bore you with the details or the symptoms but as much as I hope to wake up every morning feeling ready for the world and fully recovered, it has not happened yet.  Whatever is going on, I clearly have to take it easy for the time being.

Which means my tri training did not start yesterday. I tried 10 minutes of yoga on Sunday and collapsed in a coughing fit, so I know that getting out on the bike / run / in the pool would be madness.  Which leaves me - well - reassessing?

I'm not making any major decisions yet re the tri in July - I either will or I won't be able to train for it, so I either will or won't do it.  I am definitely heading out to Oregon for the relay in August, however - I've swallowed my pride and Jen and Zach are allocating me some of the shorter legs.  No PRs but plenty of fun - I am ready for that. As for longer term - a few weeks ago I was batting around the idea of a November marathon.  But I've pulled out of my London-Paris bikeride, I've pulled out of a 100K bikeride I was due to do in 10 days, I may be pulling out of my tri - right now I'm not committing to anything until I actually feel better.

Prudence (a voice I seldom listen to but she has a way of being right) tells me that when I do eventually feel better - and I'm officially off exercise for another 2 weeks - I will have lost a lot of fitness and need to build things back up slowly.  My osteopath has advised me to find some shorter races to run - perhaps to run 2 or 3 half marathons in October and November and to use those to get my speed and endurance back before starting London marathon training again in December.  I will have to see.

What this episode has made me realise, more than anything else though, is just how much I take my health for granted. I have been sidelined from training through injury before, but never this long due to illness.  Cross-training is not an option - there is no form of physical exercise I can take part in right now, other than walking - and as you might expect, I am struggling with this. I know in my head that running has been a big part of how I identify myself and feel good about myself - now I can feel it in my heart, because I don't feel the same.  This is no earth-shattering insight - I imagine that two good runinng blogging buddies of mine, Miss Zippy and Jill, who have both been sidelined from running for a long time, can relate to this. 

What it's also allowed me to see, and this is a somewhat more disturbing insight, is that I have for some time being using running and training as a way not to focus on much else.  I have been a stay-at-home mother on and off now for years - there was a 2 year period where I worked out of the home and I've taken on various freelance jobs when they've come along - but all in all I have not taken my career - such as it is - very seriously in the last 11 years.  And while that was fine for a while, and running was enough of a focus for me to be able to handle being a stay-at-home mother, my situation is changing now and I want to find a fulfilling and flexible career for myself.  It's a scary situation to face up to but I'm trying to muster the confidence and courage that running has given me and apply it to the rest of my life.

All of this will, I'm sure, be easier once I'm able to run again to take the pressure off...  In the meantime, I'm going to be brave and face the future and my fear of failure.  Stay with me, my friends!
In the absence of a decent current photo - who wants to see me looking pale and pasty?  This is me with my Big 5 marathon medals - London, Boston, New York, Chicago (x2) and Berlin.  No, I did not get the prize money as well...


misszippy said...

Wow Petra. Clearly I've missed some posts. So sorry to hear you dealing with this. I totally get how hard the mental aspect is. Right now your body is telling you to rest. Be good to it and it will return the favor. Take care!

Meg said...

You always give me so much to think about...
First, you've been sick for a while, you need to get healthy and your fitness will snap back quickly, I know it! Take it easy on the goals until you're 100%!!
Next, I totally relate with not missing something until it's taken away. Health to be exact! I think I've learned to be more appreciative of the good days, the great days and the awesome days...I really don't want to take my healthy for granted anymore.
Finally, since I've backed off in a big way from long mileage, I've noticed how much I enjoy my gardening, how much more energy I have to do work related things and how much more my World has opened up lately. That's not to say that I'm giving up running or marathon training but I feel like it's healthy to take a break or at least at breath!!
Thanks for your thoughts, hugs!!

Lindsay and James Cotter said...


this post is so genuine. I cannot thank you enough for expressing such deep emotion. You know why? Because its VALUABLE! your real job as a mom is inspirational and to find your true passion through your career is encouraging! When you do come back, you'll be stronger...physically and mentally!

Running and living said...

Yes, health! Nothing is more important, nothing! I am glad that you are resting up. Your fitness will come back quickly. Every mile you've ever ran is in you, a building block for your next training cycle. Tri-s, rides, races, they will all be there.

How exciting and scary to think of the possibility of a job, so important, I think. I am a true believer in stay at home moms having some type of a job, even one that does not bring much income in. That gives one a sense of independence and fulfillment that is so important. And yes, it is so easy to get lost in running, and I always have to check in with myself and assess my priorities.

Feel better!!!

Amanda@runninghood said...

Petra, once again, your reflections make me think and reflect on my own life. What I love about you. Sounds like you're processing some big things right now. i agree that you need to take care of yourself before you can focus on training for anything. You've definitely got me thinking about the idea of getting lost in running or running being "enough" to get through the stay-at-home mom gig.. part of me thinks that I might be throwing too much of myself to running /training and missing out on too much as a mom...trying to find things to get through it that I might be missing out on it.
What an exciting time in life to be thinking about a career shift and fulfilling that side of your life that you've put on hold for so long. Scary and challenging but also charging and exciting!
I'm looking forward to your next layer in life Petra! love to you!

Jill said...

*waving hand high in the air* - um, yes, I can relate. I feel like a freaking rockstar when I can run 8 whole miles at an ungodly 11 min/mile....it sucks, it's not fun, it's frustrating most of the time - but I'm running - and that's what's important. Acceptance is not easy, you are doing a way better job than I ever did in those months and months off and I so admire you for all your strength and determination. You will get back out there when God says it's time....he wants you to get healthy and look at the things in your life you've been missing, I think...the job, the different races, your personal life...

I love you tons, girl. And I owe you an email (and I'd love the help on the website...you could put it on your resume as you enter the working world :)) - I will get a note off to you very soon. Promise!!

Happy Feet 26.2 said...

so sorry to hear the health related news. I can relate to needing something else.... As much as I LOVE running, in the past 6 months, I just want something new in my life. A new hobby or something, but I'm only passionate about running. Hmmmm??? what to do??

Please keep us up to date.

Exploration can be a great thing.

MarathonChris said...

it has been awhile since I have lurked online as well. Working the same kind of thing you are - balance - balance with training, life, job, family, etc. I think I have come to the conclusion that we never get it perfect, but need to keep working on it - like our running :-)

You are the whole package my friend! Keep listening for that still small voice and take care of you!

Karen said...

I am normally one for lots of words - often too many! But on this occasion I'm not sure I need to say very much - you know I understand everything that you have said.

I know how hard it is to be patient and to rest. I am so impressed by your lack of activity at this time.

Take care of yourself sweetie. Thinking of you and sending lots of love...xxx

Kate said...

Petra! I can relate to this post on so many levels. From the realization that we take our health and our bodies for granted to the questioning of our careers and future. While I was bedridden a few weeks ago, I lay in state of inner madness. I realized, just like you said, that running becomes so much of a focus that I forget about things like my CAREER PATH and what I am actually doing with my life *besides constantly running*. I have come to some conclusions (thanks to journaling) and have done a lot of processing while I've been out of the game. I hope you're able to do some as well.

I finally had a good 9 mile run on Monday. I was thrilled! Now, it's your turn.

I hope ithis is a good time of reflection for you. How is it that your writing ALWAYS resonates with me? You're just plain awesome.

lizzie lee said...

lovely Petra.... I hope you recover well and soon.

CewTwo said...

Careful with all of those well-earned medals! Don't hurt your neck or back?

Emz said...

You are so amazing.
I love your posts.
So raw.
So honest.
I. Love. Them.
I wish I could send you a rx to get you better like....today.

Please let us readers [ me me me ]
know where those 2/3 half marathons turn out to be [locations].

I. Love. That. Photo.
You. Are. A. Rock. Star.