I'm in a similar place as you - I've run for 9 years and recently ran 3:48 in Amsterdam in October. I started training for Copenhagen in January, but then came down with the worst case of shingles anyone had ever seen, which took me off running for 8-10 weeks (and I barely remember February due to the SIX painkillers I was on).
It was frustrating at the time, but due to possible complications between two meds, I was only allowed to run slow and long for about a month when I came back, then could finally do tempo and hill sessions once I came off one of the drugs. I've been able to train properly for a few weeks now and it remains to be seen how well I'll fare on Sunday, but I think the few weeks of ONLY taking it slow were actually really beneficial to me, as I've been able to go up to a faster group at my running crew now that I'm back in training.
So that's my long-winded way of saying to really take it easy for your first few weeks back. Things will feel harder as your body readjusts, but you've still got plenty of fitness in your legs and your body will readjust.
a a small group of under 40 women who have to get 5 mins faster than the over 40's now....
You've missed the point of the problem - it's not that they've changed the GFA times, it's that they've changed them without enough notice for anyone who's now missed out to re-qualify. GFA applications are due in July, and the bulk of the spring marathons are over. Even if you are lucky enough to have a marathon booked between now and then, there's no real time to change your training and go for the new, faster time. And if conditions happen to be unfavourable (like Ediburgh's 30+ degree freak heatwave last year) then you're SOL, even though up until last week VLM's own staff were telling people who rang up that the 2013 GFA times were definitely NOT changing.
No one is saying they should've change their GFA qualifications - they're saying they need to be done with ample notice.
I am absolutely crushed. I ran 3:48 in Amsterdam in October and have spent the last 6 months thinking (and telling everyone I know) that I've qualified for GFA, only for them to move the goals far too late for me to do anything about it.
This is completely unprofessional of the organisers to change it this late, and I've half a mind to apply anyway in July with an attached cover letter and see what comes of it.
I cannot believe they just did this to me. I ran 3:48 in Amsterdam in October and have thought for the past 6 months that I've run a GFA time, only for them to change it on me now. My next marathon is in 3 weeks and I've lost 10 weeks of training due to a serious illness so it's actually dangerous for me to push it and try for sub 3:45 now. I"m not too proud to say that I just sobbed into my cornflakes this morning.
This is a cruel, cruel thing for the organisers to do to its runners.
Like Tom & Eli, I try to prevent transmission in the first place, through liberal use of hand santizer (I prefer Quash to the alcohol gels), not touching any public surfaces with my fingers (no hand rails on the bus/tube - hit lift and road crossing buttons with my knuckles), and wash my hands multiple times a day.
I flew to the States recently and it was the first flight in years where I didn't get sick afterwards, and I owe it to acting like a crazy woman and wiping every conceivable hard surface at our seats with antibacterial wipes the second we sat down.
That being said, despite my running, I have a severely depleted immune system because I had a bone marrow transplant 3.5yrs ago which means I started from scratch with my body's "cold memory" in 2009. When I get ill, I'm down for at least 2 weeks (at least!) so prevention is key for me. I asked one of my haematologists if there was ANYTHING I could take to boost my immune system and he said the only things with even a pinch of science behind them are vitamin c and zinc, so I try to take those daily.