If you missed it, (catch up HERE) I was unable to run the Amsterdam marathon because I tested positive for Covid two days before the race, the day of my flight from London to Amsterdam.
I had trained (and recapped my training on this blog) for 15 weeks and was excited and ready to race. I was disappointed in the timing of catching Covid.
I avoided it for the whole pandemic, so it was bound to catch me eventually and it did. The timing wasn’t great, but I suppose it never is, is it?
I recognize that I was very fortunate in how mild it was for me and how quickly I was able to get back to running. I credit that to having been vaccinated (Pfizer x 2), and twice boosted (Pfizer + Moderna, with the 2nd booster just 3 weeks before I had Covid.) I have read about other runners’ experiences getting back to running; I know it isn’t always this easy.
Here’s a quick summary of the two weeks following my positive Covid test.
Friday, 10/14: 5 mile run, then took a Covid test. Positive. No Amsterdam marathon. Last minute change of plans; Dustin was healthy and tested negative (he never ended up getting sick), so he still went to Amsterdam solo and ran a 3:01. Considering his PR is 2:54, he was pretty happy overall with that time, especially since he did a lot of long runs with me as we settled into life in London! Maybe that slower long run pace really did work!
Saturday, 10/15 through Tuesday, 10/18: 4 days of no running, just walking the dogs and some light strength training. I slept a lot. A LOT. There were probably two days where I had a bad cough, but the worst symptoms were probably before I tested positive, when I was still testing negative.
Wednesday, 10/19: First run back; felt a little clunky and tired, but no coughing or chest issues. Ran 5 miles at a 9:45 min/mile average, so slower than normal but felt okay once I loosened up after being so inactive for 4 days.
Thursday, 10/20: 7 miles, felt more normal though still a bit slower than usual for the same effort, but pace didn’t matter, I was running again and feeling healthy.
Friday, 10/21: 5 trail miles with Ruth, felt pretty good.
Saturday, 10/22: 10.2 miles. Not bad! Happy to be back at it.
Sunday, 10/23: 5 miles with Dustin, first run with a pace back under 9 min/miles.
At this point, I had decided to do a back-up marathon, the Porto Marathon (in Porto, Portugal.) I had trained for 15 weeks for Amsterdam and didn’t want all that work to go to completely to waste and honestly I was excited to complete marathon #40 still this year.
I felt like I was recovered well enough to complete my 40th marathon. It wouldn’t be a PR, but I could do it and I didn’t think it would hurt my overall health.
Monday, 10/24: 7 morning miles, pretty much 100% normal.
Tuesday, 10/25: 5 miles easy.
Wednesday, 10/26: Run commute, 5.75 miles, then 3 miles with some colleagues. Running is my kind of networking!
Thursday, 10/27: Last “big” workout to see where my fitness was for Porto: 3 miles easy, 4 x (1 mile at marathon effort, 1/2 mile faster, 1/2 mile easy jog) for 11 miles total.
Based on this workout, my coach thought I could run a sub-3:50 at Porto. Sub-3:50 is a nice time goal as it gives me a “good-for-age” time to get into the London marathon as a resident here (only if you’re a resident though, otherwise you have to do the regular lottery.) I actually have a good-for-age for 2023 from the Baton Rouge marathon (I ran a 3:44), but Dustin and I are looking to do the Vienna marathon, which is the same day as London in 2023. Since I ran London in 2016, I don’t have a strong need to do it again right away, though I would eventually like to do it as a resident. It is hard not to be influenced by the locals’ love of the London marathon! It feels like their “Boston.” And I think it would be a different experience running it as a local vs. when I did it in 2016 (recap here.)
But for now, as much as I loved running London in 2016, I would rather experience a new city and marathon while we are living in Europe. If I never get a good-for-age while we’re here, I won’t be heartbroken.
Friday, 10/28: My sister Erin arrived the day before and we ran 10 miles together as a sight-seeing tour at her pace. Such a fun way to see London!
I hope to recap her visit to London; we had SO much fun! We did different activities than when my younger sister was here two weeks prior.
Saturday, 10/29: My first parkrun! Dustin, my sister, and Ruth all did their first parkrun too.
1 mile jog to the start, a 5k trail run, 1 mile walk/jog home.
Sunday, 10/30: 4 mile Heath trail run with Dustin and Ruth
Monday, 10/31: 6 solo trail miles in the Heath.
Tuesday, 11/1: 7.8 miles with some marathon pace in there, just 3×1 mile. 8:35-8:40 felt doable/ the right effort for Porto.
Wednesday, 11/2: 5 miles with Ruth before work
Thursday, 11/3: 5 miles solo with some strides
Friday, 11/4: Rest from running. Travel to Porto, Portugal.
Stopped by the expo after arrival!
Saturday, 11/5: Shakeout in Porto! 4.5 miles with strides.
Sunday, 11/6: My 40th marathon! Woo-hoo! Full recap to come. Just as I had sort of predicted, I was able to complete the marathon. It wasn’t a PR, but I kept it under 4 hours and had a blast.
I was so glad that my experience with Covid didn’t hold me back from doing what I love. And since Dustin had just raced Amsterdam, he was a rockstar spectator, scootering around on a Lime scooter to see me every couple of miles. What a treat!
So, based on that summary, you can see that I was fortunate in that I didn’t have many lasting issues with Covid. I was able to bounce back into running and a back-up marathon quite quickly. I did wait to run again until I was symptom-free. For me, that meant 4 days completely off, full of rest and recovery.
I believe that being fully vaccinated and boosted (just 3 weeks prior) helped keep my experience with Covid mild. I will continue to get boosted as it becomes available.
Stop by this week for a recap of the Porto Marathon and more on our long weekend visiting this beautiful city in Portugal!