Both physical and psychological/emotional. That's the tune of my life right now.
Now, there is no need to be concerned. All of this stress is expected. It is all a result of my own choices.
The physical stress is, of course, from marathon training. That's what training is all about. You stress your body. It recovers and improves (as in, it can cover the 26.2 miles faster). That formula seems very simple. And, in theory, it is: Stress (as in, run more and/or run faster/harder), Recover, Improve.
But it's a tricky dance.
The more you stress your body, not only do you get more fit and faster, but you are also getting closer to injury. My dad has always told me--the faster you are, and the better you're racing...the closer you are to being hurt. And he's right. I've had a lot of injuries, and three of them have been major (plantar fasciitis that ended with a ruptured fascia, bilateral compartment syndrome, and an obturator strain). When each of those major injuries occurred, I was fast (for me, at least). I was super fast, fit...and injured.
So runners are always playing this game--seeing how far they can push the envelope. If we could all run 100 miles a week, with 60 of them fast, our race performances would drastically improve. But only a very small percentage of us would make us to the starting line.
I'm getting into the meat of my Chicago training. My body is stressed. It's tired. My legs are often very fatigued. I have several niggles that pop up now and again--my left ankle, my right hip. I have to undergo painful deep tissue massage. I have to stretch and take ice baths.
But all of this stress and fatigue is by design. This is what I had to keep telling myself during my early morning 14 miler this morning. Not only was I really tired (it was 5:30 a.m.), but my legs were incredibly fatigued. They did not hurt. They just didn't feel like running. This run was tough.
Tough runs are some of the best for you, though. This is when the stress is happening.
So, what about the recovery? Well, for me...it happens three days a week. I am (so far) only able to run four days a week and prevent injury. Let's hope I can hold off injury and gain fitness until I get to taper...when the REAL recovery starts.
Now, as for the psychological/emotional stress. That's called graduate school. No, wait...that's called full-time graduate school while marathon training and raising two kids. Again, this is totally self-induced. I have not been afflicted with this situation, and I'd not have it any other way.
But it's stressful. I have been in school pretty much since I was 5. I'll have my PhD in hand at age 29 (which is really young in the nursing field). I'm in the very final stage of the process: the dissertation. And I am very passionate about my dissertation. I absolutely LOVED doing the study. Meeting with the participants, poring over their experiences. But I'm stressed about getting all the writing done on time. I will do it. But it's stressful.
So, I've got a double whammy of stressors going on. But it's all worth it. Short-term sacrifice for long-term gain.