A few months ago I went to see Dr. Arnie Baker speak and he spoke about over-training. Basically, he said your family would know long before you did, because you'd be irritable, injury-prone and slow to recover.
Hmmm. Check, check and check.
In the 3 weeks between the San Diego race and the Seattle race it became undeniable that I needed some serious downtime. I've been running/hobbling in pain for months. When I went to the doctor he basically said that we'd already tried everything - anti-inflammatories, stretching, braces, PT. The only thing left to do is rest. I'd been endurance training for over 2 and half years without a recovery period. He was shocked that it took that long for it to catch up with me in the form of a chronic injury. I'd heard that you need take recovery time - and I've certainly preached it to others - I just never did it. After 28 races in 24 months, it was just too much.
Going into Seattle, I knew it should be my only run for the next month. (Still up in the air, if I could actually give up running for a month.) Surprisingly I didn't feel any need to push. I actually ran very little in the three weeks before the race and it paid off in a relatively pain free run. It was fun...I'd forgotten that I used to do marathons for fun and not for medals or other validation. That's what bums me the most. I hadn't noticed that I'd started to dread training/running and even races themselves.
It convinced me to take July off to recover mentally and physically. Overall, this month is about taking better care of me and of Steve, getting to bed earlier, cooking healthier dinners, basic stuff. I'm lifting weights to rebuild my upper body strength, doing some yoga, swimming. It's been weird, but good.
Of course, I can't wait for the Chicago race in early August. I won't be perfectly trained, but I'll run happy.