Not only does the fatigue monster reek havoc with being a runner, it reeks havoc with the mind. The frustration at times is overwhelming and the body really misses those wonderful endorphin fixes that were readily available from a healthy body.
The other issue is that of how other people perceive you. You look fit and healthy and you can go out for a jog, so surely you must be making up this whole fatigue thing?! There is a definite feeling that people view unexplained chronic fatigue conditions with a lot of skepticism. Indeed there are still those that believe the fatigue is 'all in the mind' and that you really just need to 'snap out of it'! It's hard enough dealing with your own doubts, let alone having to deal with those of others! It is very easy to see why long term sufferers of CFS can become quite depressed. Their body won't cooperate AND people just don't believe them! Yep, at least when you have an injury you can show it to people or explain it and its deemed a more believable/acceptable scenario. As runners we are often guilty of letting our injured/fatigued friends down when they can't join in. It can be a lonely time when you can't run!
I did follow the plan and take two days off before the handicap. It felt like it had paid off for the first 4 km and then the wheels really fell off! I suspect that a major factor there was just old fashioned lack of suitable training. The typical fatigue signs weren't really evident except maybe for the last 1 km or so. For those 8 km I averaged 5:35 min/km with an average HR of 160 bpm. Looking at the data, it was something like 5 min/km for the first 4 km and then 6+ min/km for the 2nd half. The HR data confirm a decent effort, but still nothing like what I've been able to do previously.
Today was an 'easy' run day in lovely sunny conditions around the lake. I bumped into Roger and Mr B also out enjoying the conditions. Not a great run, but I did manage to cover 11 km at 6 min/km pace with an average HR around 140 bpm.
So now another day off and then I will see if a bit of tempo is tolerable. If not, then just more of the same .... sigh .... Just remember that if you have sick or injured running friends, check in on them and let them know you are thinking of them. They can still drink coffee and likely really need the company.