Sick Of Myself

I’ve had a bit of a cold for the past couple days, which normally means I don’t run. I’ve been trying over the past year to be cautious and rest whenever I’m sick, rather than running through an illness and prolonging it. But that’s resulted in quite a few long breaks, and I only ran twice last week, so clearly time off from running didn’t help me stave off this latest cold.

Tuesday, I was attempting to do a tempo run, kind of like last week’s: 1 mile at 11:36 pace, that went ok, and then I was trying to do 1.1 miles at ~10:30 pace followed by 1.2 miles at ~9:30 pace, but during the second interval, I realized it wasn’t going to happen. I had no energy and was struggling to keep the pace, so I knew there was no way I could run the third interval. I decided to slow down and make the rest of the run an easy run. I cut it a little short, too, since I was attending my friend’s first game on the Marshall JV hockey team.

The next day I woke up sneezing and with a bit of a cough, plus a generally foggy head. Surprise, surprise. But I’m running this dumb 5K this weekend, I’d taken a gorillion days off in November (I didn’t even run 100 miles!), and I’m still reading Racing Weight, which is making me feel badly about myself, so I decided to run.

And I didn’t die! And I didn’t wake up yesterday feeling worse! (I felt the same.) And then I ran yesterday, too! Amazing.

So, I made a calculated decision and it paid off. I could have just as easily woken up feeling like donkey crap, and screwed myself over for this 5K that I don’t even want to run but I couldn’t drag my sorry butt out of bed on Thanksgiving so now I must. I’m glad that it worked out but I was really tempting fate.

I’m sick a lot. I’m not 100% sure why, but I have a few hypotheses:

  1. I eat like crap. Ok, trying to fix that. Entirely my own fault
  2. I don’t always get the best sleep. Sometimes this is my fault, like if I stay up too late reading. Sometimes it isn’t, like when I’m stressed or my stomach’s upset or I’m in an uncomfortable bed (like a pull-out couch, or a cot).
  3. When my allergies are triggered (by dust, pollen, cat dander, or some other unknown substance), they tend to open the door for a cold. I try to take an antihistamine but sometimes it’s too late. I take a preventative one when cleaning!
  4. I have had pneumonia and a couple of cases of bronchitis that seem to have done some lasting damage. I didn’t get sick nearly as often before my first bout of pneumonia about 10 years ago, nor did I get sick in the same way. I used to get a sore throat and a stuffy nose but was able to power through. Now I get a foggy head, labored breathing, and break out into a sweat when I have to walk more than ten feet. I was lucky this last little illness didn’t turn into that (it could have easily!), and I would not be running if that was the case, I’m not an idiot.

I ordered this list according to how much control I have over each potential cause for the frequency with which I get ill. Since I’m planning on improving my diet, and I guess now I should be planning on improving my sleep, I will have to see if that makes enough of a difference that I can stave off or minimize my next encounter with a yucky bacteria or virus.

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