Countdown to 5K, Real and Raw: Weeks 5 & 6

Oh, the places you’ll go. Going, going, gone. My last 2 weeks of training didn’t go as planned.

While my kids were off with their dad for a final week of summer vacation, I headed to my aunt and uncle’s house in western Massachusetts for several days of rest and relaxation. Almost as soon as I arrived, my body gave way to the pressure it had been feeling from three weeks in a row of packing my schedule to the gills: I came down with a cold. It was the kind of cold that made me want to stay in bed for days. It was the kind of cold that made me cough so hard that my side hurt. It was the kind of cold that made sure I did exactly what I went on that trip to do; I napped, caught up with the Kardashians on Netflix, and meditated. In between, my aunt and uncle kindly provided me with toast and sympathy. The cold was a well-timed, thoughtful gift, from the Universe to me.

Perhaps it’s obvious to you that I was in no shape to train for my 5K. Me – I wasn’t so sure. On the first day of my illness, I texted my close friend Stefanie, an inspired and inspiring triathlete, who has been coaching me through my training since it started. “I have a cold. Stuffed up and runny nose. Do I run in the morning if I feel the same?”

With Stef in Nevada

Stef responded with confidence, “Take tomorrow off.”

Then I confided, “I’m scared to mess up my record of following my training program perfectly three weeks in a row.”

She came back with “Adjust and accept with joy and ease.”  Yes, I see the irony of her saying that to me.

As it turns out, I was not ready to work out again for 10 days.

The following week (this past week) I returned to my workout schedule on Wednesday and Friday. Excerpts from my log:

Day 1: On treadmill because of rain. 2.2 miles, max speed 4.6. Needed multiple 20-30 second breaks to cough and catch my breath. Definitely couldn’t have run while sick. Wondering if I should run 3 days in a row this week to get all 3 workouts in.

Day 2: Frustrating running on treadmill indoors without air conditioning. Max speed 4.6. Total 2.14 miles but took breaks again. Disappointed.

Stef, responding to texts of my training logs, advised me to do 2 workouts on alternate days rather than 3 in a row. She said, “Let the disappointment go. You completed it. That’s what matters.”

I’m now applying that same philosophy to my training blog. Yes, I skipped a week of that too and have now written 2 posts sans videos, despite my initial commitment.  I’m choosing to adjust and accept with joy and ease.

Next week, I’ll be back with a video. Promise.


  1. brynjohnson

    Baby steps. Baby steps. And look at how your thinking has changed. You would have been so excited about a cold in the past so you wouldn't "have to work out" and now you are eager to get back out there. so proud!

    • Debra Woog

      Ha – you are so right that I would have been psyched to have a valid excuse to get out of a workout. Probably would have made myself do it any way, though! I am a work in progress.
      My recent post Countdown to 5K, Real and Raw: Weeks 5 & 6

  2. dawn

    Remember "Eyes on the Prize"? It's not the 5k. That's your short-term goal. Your 'Prize" is continued health over the long haul. Keep your log and at the end of the year you will see that those few days off were just a blip. You are one of the toughest, most determined people I have ever met, but sometimes you push yourself too hard! 2-3 exercise sessions a week 85% of the time–THAT'S the goal.

    P.S. I really think you should try to do one Zumba every week or every other. You always loved dancing and it could be amazing for you! with love, Dawn

    • Debra Woog

      Yes, continued health is the long term goal. You are so right that I have a history of pushing myself too hard. Trying to address that: just turned down an offer to speak at a conference because it would have made that week too packed. And you're right that I love to dance, but I'm terrible at following organized choreography. Would I be able to do Zumba?

      • dawn

        Good for you on knowing what your priorities are! Re: Zumba–Depends on the teacher. My teacher and I do the same routines for several weeks so everyone grows into it. Maybe just dance at home by yourself or with the kids!

  3. Josh

    Inspiring as usual!!

    • Debra Woog

      And this, from France! Thanks, Josh!

    • Stef

      Josh I agree! Hope you're having fun in Paris!

  4. Devra

    Give yourself credit for taking care of yourself 10 days in a row, rather than focusing on the impact on your perfect training record! And echo the comments above from other brilliant women.

    • Debra Woog

      Yes, now I'm better able to do that. It was only my initial fear. Thank goodness for Stef who showed me the light.

      • Stef

        I had to learn that as well. The perfect training record doesn't matter. Not not in the least. 🙂

        • Debra Woog

          So relieved to know that now, thanks to you!

  5. Paula Gregorowicz

    It is all good. You need to adjust in the moment and day to day. My personal experience of forcing things usually means they break (that includes my body as I write about in "The Myth of Pushing it Too Far". You already know you are a committed woman who does what she says, so the training isn't about THAT.

    Good enough is good enough…and some days that looks like letting it go, or resting to save it for another day.

    I have learned the hard way (sometimes still learning) of forcing myself to do something because I said I would. I ride my bike FAR better and enjoy it more when I'm actually rested vs shoving one more workout in. Ride the ebb and flow, listen to your body and heart, and know if you need a kick in the pants or a gentle reminder to chill, your friends are here for you!

    My recent post Goodbye Manic, Hello Calm Goal Achievement (No Apologies Video)

    • Debra Woog

      Ah, good enough IS good enough. And thank goodness for my friends, especially you.

  6. Shelly

    It's all good! I don't know what Stef would say, but I find that when I work out when I have sinus issues or a cold, it actually helps get rid of the schnutz.

    I get worried when I have to skip work outs, but it is true that things always turn out OK. Accept with joy and ease!

    Having disappointing workouts happens to all of us. Just like we give less-than-perfect lectures or lead less-than-stellar meetings. But Stef is right in saying that the important part is that they are completed. Something has been achieved! We are far from perfect. All we can ask is for our best at any given time, whatever that may be.

    Also, know that there are days when you think you're going to have a crappy work out, and you amaze yourself by going faster or further than you would have imagined. And you were thinking of remaining on the couch? The point is that you just never know. So, it's always better to try. And to accept whatever comes out of the experience.

    Did you complete the run and have some great thoughts while you were out there? Does your body feel better?

    It's all good.

    • Debra Woog

      Thanks, Shell. It IS all good.