I hate being a whiner and giving in to being sick, but sometimes I just have to admit that I'm too sick to keep pushing myself. Often, it takes running myself completely into the ground to wake up and realize I'm up against powers stronger than I am able to overcome by sheer will. This is why I'm often reluctant to register for a race. Once I have paid money, I get so focused on my goal, that I stop listening to my body and just keep pushing.
Last year I registered for my first half marathon. I was already up to running 7 miles and had 6 months to add 6 more to my long run. However, one month after I registered I found out I needed 2 surgeries, which meant months off of my RA medication, which meant months of steroids and illness. I pushed hard even after my surgery, determined to at least walk the course, but it quickly became apparent that that wasn't going to be a possibility either. The day that 4,999 people ran that race without me was a real low point in my life.
Recently I registered for the Jingle Bell run and will be running it with lots of people I know, so I really was set on my goal of running it sub 30. Not at all fast by most people's reckoning, but a significant improvement over my previous times. The speed bump in my training is not quite as dramatic this time; simply, the crud hit. It started as an RA flare up, but a bug has taken advantage of my distracted immune system so now I have a head cold too.
Now comes the hard part; deciding when to return to exercising. If I start back too soon, I will end up worse off with an even longer delay. If I wait too long, I start to really loose the progress I have made with strength and endurance. I walk a very fine line with one side being not enough exercise to make progress and the other side being pushing myself beyond my physical limits. Once I loose my grip on that line, it is very hard to regain my footing.
Running seems to be the only shining point in my life right now, when that is taken away, it messes with my head.