Outrunning A Cold

2 May

I am participating in the 2012 Wordcount Blogathon, which means one post every day for the month of May.

A lovely view of the lake eases the pain of a 23km run

Two weeks ago, I started to feel a cold coming on. The timing was dreadful: I had a 10K race coming up and I was aiming to break my best time. As the race approached I suddenly got obsessive about eating healthily and taking vitamins. Anyone who knows me will know that this is not usually the case. I can get up at five on a Sunday morning to go for a 20km run, but I am oddly undisciplined when it comes to my diet.

Race day came and went and apart from a little bit of nasal congestion, I was fine. I found my zone and ran the best race of any distance that I have ever run. I left my previous 10K best time in the dust and had lots of energy left in the tank when I crossed the finish line.

At some point during the half-hour drive home from the race, the cold that had been waiting in the wings finally struck. As I basked in the glow of a race well run, I stayed home from work for the next two days, with my head feeling as if it had been run over by a herd of stampeding bulls.

Although I managed to drag myself into the office on the Wednesday after the race, I was still not well enough to run. Technically, I could have: running lore holds that as long as all symptoms are above the neck, it is safe to run. I knew better than to try, though. When I’m sick, I need to rest. If I don’t, I just get sicker and prolong my recovery. I decided to save myself for the long training run I had scheduled for Sunday.

By the time Sunday rolled around, I was feeling a lot better but by no means recovered. Looking at the calendar and seeing that my next half-marathon was just a month away, I decided to head out for my run anyway. I had the foresight to shove a few tissues into the pocket on my fuel belt – I knew I would need them.

The thing that really got me going that day was the sunshine. It was such a perfect day for running, and if I hadn’t gone out I would have wasted my time staring wistfully out the window. Instead, I put on my hat and a light running jacket that would end up being removed after the first kilometre, and I hit the road.

Two and a half hours later, I limped back into my driveway, hot and exhausted. My legs were feeling every step of the 23km I had just run, and I was ready for three things: a hefty dose of carbs, some coffee, and a long afternoon of lying on the couch.

Every time I had to move for the rest of the day, I grimaced in pain. But I felt good about the miles I had put in, and the fact that two and half hours in the sun had given me a touch of colour.

And my cold? Well, it’s still trying to linger. And I’m trying to bully it into submission, so it slinks away, never to return.

(Photo credit: Kirsten Doyle)

8 Responses to “Outrunning A Cold”

  1. spiritsguidingway at 12:25 PM #

    Kirsten, you are so dedicated to running, I’m in awe! I can’t even get my oomph to get on my treadmill most days. LOL I hope you start to feel better soon!

    • runningforautism at 9:40 PM #

      Thanks! Since I wrote this I have been continuing to get better. I’ve come to rely on running for my sanity – go a little nuts when I’m forced to take a break!

  2. Ronda at 2:23 PM #

    Oh goodness, I am sooo lazy sometimes! I’m trying to retrain my body to run after a series of colds and some pain-management issues have reared their ugly heads. I could definitely use a dose of whatever it is that motivates you!

    • runningforautism at 10:03 PM #

      I had a layoff from running for about six years and getting back into it was so damned hard. I think that’s one reason I never want to stop for too long. I’m afraid of losing my motivation. Thanks for commenting!

  3. katiemorell at 3:42 PM #

    Ooh, I know how you feel. My recommendation: take a week off (gasp!). Yes, I know, it sounds extreme, but you will feel so much better after seven days of rest and lots of water. Good luck!

    • runningforautism at 10:04 PM #

      It’s just such lousy timing. I have a half-marathon coming up on May 27th so every run counts. Having said that, I have definitely cut back on my training. I’m convinced that resting for the week prior to my 10K race helped me towards that personal best time. Thanks for reading!

  4. barbfreda at 9:28 PM #

    So subjective, right? I remember going ahead w a workout in spite of feeling a little under the weather. The workout was okay, but about 2 hours later, my fever spiked and all I was able to do was to crawl under covers and wait it out. These days, if I’m feeling iffy (especially even low-grade ferverish), I don’t do it… but the twisted ankle I got (and to this day, that I thinkreally was a hairline fracture?)–I figured my schedule out so I could have 4 days off in a row as my rest days and went right back to my running. HIndsight says: stoooopit. But I couldn’t NOT run by then.

    • runningforautism at 10:06 PM #

      Oh yeah, I’ve been there! I once stepped on an uneven paving stone and twisted my ankle midway through a ten-mile run. Did I call the husband to come and pick me up? Nooooooooo! I finished the run without even cutting it short. My sports massage therapist says that runners are the worst athlete to try and rehab, because we never rest for as long as we’re supposed to!

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