Why Does this Always Happen?

I was so excited last week to get started on my return-to-running-post-hiatus plan, which obviously needs a catchier name. I got three runs in and I was feeling well on my way to settling back into the saddle. And then this week, I got sick. It feels like déjà vu.

Medicine

Medicine (Photo credit: DonnaGrayson)

I was fine on Monday. By Tuesday I was too tired to get up when my alarm went off, and felt like I could have slept through the whole day. When my sinuses started to feel funny in the late afternoon, it didn’t come as a surprise so much as it did a disappointment. Yesterday entailed a trip to the drug store before work to stock up on tissues, cough drops, and OJ, and today I worked from home in order to avoid spreading contagion and wearing myself out unnecessarily. I’m (fortunately) starting to feel better, but I’m salty about the fact that a mere week into my comeback, I had to take a break. Talk about derailed.

There’s a special kind of slugginess (it’s a word now, okay? And no, I didn’t mean to write sluggishness. That’s different.) that accompanies catching a cold: you feel exhausted but still functional, and everything is just slightly off. Your body kind of aches, breathing is kind of difficult, your nose is kind of leaking viscous fluid…For whatever reason, I always feel like I should be able to shake it off and go running anyway. It doesn’t help that almost every time I read one of those “Should I still run if I’m sick?” guides, the consensus seems to be that as long as you’re not hacking up a lung, you can run all you want. Personally, when I catch a cold, I feel too run down to walk from my bedroom to my kitchen–a pretty clear indication that I probably have no business lacing up running shoes and heading out the door to pound some pavement. But somehow the idea that I could be running still weighs on me. If it’s physically possible according to an article I read online that was written by someone who isn’t capable of evaluating my symptoms, then I have no excuse not to be doing it.

All this while I’m supposed to be giving myself a break, easing back into running, and resisting the urge to beat myself up. I guess this is a pretty effective reminder of the fact that I can’t control everything that happens, that I inevitably have to slow down, and that there are times when I have to ramp up the self-care and focus on what’s best for me rather than some crazy idea about what I should be doing.

So this week, as hard as it will be, I’ll give myself a break. There’s no reason for me to exert myself, and I’ll get better faster if I give my body the rest it needs. I’ll even try to like it, but I’m not sure how successful I’ll be. Hopefully next week, I’ll be able to start the post-hiatus plan again and have it go off without a hitch this time.

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