How a Bug Bite Ruined #SophSub4

I guess it wasn’t just a bug bite, but the bite was definitely the beginning of the end.

I haven’t given an update in a while, and I’ll be honest and admit that it’s because I’ve been burying my head in the sand about it. I have a bad habit of doing that when things go wrong.

The short of it is that the sub-4 attempt is off for Berlin. Potentially forever, but I’ll come back to that! The long story started about six weeks ago, during that mini heatwave we had in June. We slept with our skylight open and I woke up one morning with a huge bite on my knee.

It hurt like hell; my whole knee was swollen and pain shot through my knee whenever I put weight on that leg. It was also disastrously itchy and, while I was very well behaved during the day, I woke up one morning having scratched it in my sleep and it ended up getting infected.

The potentially TMI bit…

I had big hives start popping up all over my leg, which I initially thought was an allergic reaction to the bite, but it turns out I had a bacterial infection in my entire leg. I was given a penicillin based antibiotic to clear it up, but it made me feel awful. I persevered, appreciating that antibiotics are often unkind in a cruel to be kind sort of way, but I ended up going back to my doctor when I broke out in a huge rash on my back and the inside of my elbows. Turns out I’m allergic to penicillin! So I came off the antibiotics. And the infection returned. I ended up having to treat them one by one with an antibiotic cream, and it took three more weeks to actually clear the infection properly.

OK, TMI bit over.

I tried to keep up my training but, to be honest, I felt absolutely awful. The infection sapped all of my energy and my leg was, at times, just downright painful. The worst part was the reaction to the penicillin though, it was horrible. All in all I ended up missing the majority of three weeks of my programme, which has meant that I’ve had to re-evaluate my goals.

I don’t want to put gross photos of my leg infection on the internet, so here’s some running photos from the past few weeks!

I’ve tried to get straight back in to the training plan but I felt weak and definitely lost some fitness. Going for sub-4 was a big challenge for me already given my form this year, and with three weeks out it’s nigh on impossible I think.

I’ve felt a bit lost since getting better. I’ve been half heartedly following the training plan but I just don’t have the motivation to follow such a full-on plan knowing I won’t be able to make my goal. There is, however, nothing I can do.

So, what’s the plan?! The plan is to still run in Berlin. This is actually my third time round attempting the Berlin marathon and, at the moment, it feels like it’s a cursed race for me! I’ve had to defer my place twice now due to injury and I can’t stand the idea of having to head back a fourth time, so I will be running the marathon no matter what. I’ve scaled back my training plan to running just 3/4 days a week, and making sure I fit in plenty of strength and yoga sessions to protect against injuries.

As for #SophSub4, I’m taking a rain check for now. I make no secret of the fact that I hate marathon training, and I don’t want to go straight back in to it after Berlin for a spring marathon. I’m really really busy, juggling planning a wedding, renovating a flat, ridiculous working hours, and social and family time, and I just don’t think I’ll have the time to commit to it realistically until 2018. In the meantime, I’m just aiming to keep a smile on my face whenever I train!