Down With the Sickness

Posted: March 10, 2013 in Injuries and Owies
Tags: ,

I knew it was bound to happen sooner or later.  Perhaps it was combination of the recent stress I’ve been under and the resulting fatigue, or perhaps the lack of a consistent healthy diet and recent bad training decisions, whatever, it’s happened:  I’m finally down with the sickness.  Yup, the illness train has finally come around the corner, final destination – my face.  I haven’t felt this disgusting since the broadcast season premiere of Duck Dynasty.

All in all, it was a good run as I’ve been pretty lucky for the past year or so but, as of today, I am officially sick as a dog.  Actually, even if you were to shoot the dog he’d probably still feel better than I do.  There’s simply no denying it any longer; I’m as useless as tits on a bull.  And I’m not talking about being merely under the weather here either; I’m talking about the real deal: the sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, taking a sledgehammer to your stuffy head so you can sleep kind of sickness.  I’m dripping like a diuretic gerbil, my throat feels like sandpaper and I sound like a cross between Fozzy Bear and Louis Armstrong, and my glands have swelled large enough to land a helicopter.  It totally sucks.

It all started a little over a week ago with the nigglings of a sore throat but nothing ever really transpired from it so I just brushed it off and carried on business as usual.  I even ran the Chili Half Marathon this past Sunday in a respectable time of 1:46:01  (click HERE for results) which isn’t bad given that I am still approximately two months behind in my run training from where I was at this point in time last year.  Not bad though, right?  I even gave myself two days off afterwards for recovery given that it was easily the hardest run I’ve done so far in 2013.  The tickle in the back of throat was still there, but it hadn’t really developed into anything significant…yet.  I thought I was good to go.

Then on Wednesday I made my first attempts to work out again.  I managed a short, lack-luster swim session in the morning and found it difficult to breathe, but nothing traumatic; certainly nothing that I haven’t dealt with and overcome in the past.  But then I tried an easy 5k  run around the neighborhood later in the evening.

Big mistake.

The first 5-8 minutes presented no real problem, but then my heart rate began to spike despite running at a fairly easy pace (6:00 min/km).  The fuck?  My dead grandmother could run faster than that and nary break a sweat.  But over the years I’ve had it drilled into me that the first indication that something may not be right will be your heart rate.  It’s like your body’s early warning system in that regard and here is was already soaring like a jack rabbit on crack only 10 minutes into the run.  Something was definitely rotten in the streets of Crystal Beach.

So for the next 10 minutes or so I really labored along in complete disbelief as my body bitched, griped and complained over what I was asking it to do; something that should have otherwise been very simple.  By the 3.5k  mark I’d had enough and was reduced to walking in total defeat.  My chest hurt, my legs ached, my breathing was labored and, furthermore, my left big toe had begun to ache.  Total shit show.

Now here is, four days later, and I’m full blown ill (and not in the hip, cool vernacular either).  My voice is all but gone and I haven’t had the energy to so much as make it up and down the stairs without stopping for a rest.  You’d think I was scaling Everest or something; some Ironman, eh?  So now what?

Everyone thinks that they have the perfect remedy to cure naturally occurring illnesses and viruses.  Kelly has initiated the healing process in true nurse fashion:  throwing fistfuls of drugs at me.  But surely medication isn’t the only thing I should be doing is it?  There has to be some sort of balm, rub, or special herbal tea made by remote Tibetan monks on a mountainside somewhere that will exorcise these flu demons from body.  Hell, by this point I’m even down with smearing myself with peanut butter and walking around backwards in concentric circles by the light of full moon if somebody says it will make me feel better.  What have I got to lose when I feel this shitty?

When I was a boy, getting sick always meant being force fed cough medicine on the kitchen floor.  I didn’t even have to have a cough necessarily, but being sick meant taking your Triaminicol DM.  End of story.  As a kid I associated the old school mono-colored stick figure on the Triaminicol packaging like others might associate the skull and crossbones with poison, or pirates.  I hated the stuff, hence my mom needing to sit on my chest to pin me down and pour this foul concoction down my throat.  Other times my mother would apply mustard rubs.  I hated these rubs just as much as they burned and were like enduring some sort of medieval torture.  I’d rather be placed in an Iron Maiden and left to die, thank you very much.  Later, I was given Royal Jelly which was the next big thing for cold treatment and prevention in the 1990’s.  Really?  Something secreted out of a bee’s ass was somehow going to magically heal me?  Ridiculous!  It’s no wonder why everyone hates getting sick.  The treatments are worse than the actual ailments themselves.

So training is definitely off this week (and maybe next) while I recover – that message was received loud and clear, after this past Wednesday’s craptacular run.  I’m not even going to venture far from the couch as a matter of fact and just use the next few days to stay hydrated, devour my vitamins and catch up on all the skanky ho’s on Jerry Springer.  But that begs the other question:  when is it safe to resume training?

The rule of thumb tends to be ‘two days for every day you were sick’.  Holy shit!  Really?  That sounds like a pretty long time given I’ve been sick for the better part of a week, do I really need to take another two weeks additionally?  Here’s what the “experts” say:

1.  I may have been over training anyway – If my immune system was up to par I probably would not have been this sick in the first place and given everything else going on in my life, trying to keep up with a rigid training schedule may have been too much.

2.  If I happened to just be very sick and weren’t simply over trained – that is still pretty damn hard on my body. My immune system just ran its own Ironman event and it needs time to recover from its own sort of workout.  Just like an injury, I want to come back stronger than before so I need to be patient and let my body heal.

3.  I am not going to lose that much fitness… Really, it will be OK.  If I don’t follow my advice and start training anyway, I may suffer an inevitable decrease in performance and fitness. It is expected and normal but, guess what? I should slowly pick it up and be back to normal in about…oh, right around two weeks. Probably the same place as if I just took the time off to begin with, but with the disadvantages mentioned above.

More likely is that my worry is just feeding an incessant and addictive need to train anyway.  Over the past four year Ironman journey, I’ve become fixated on the psychological and physical effects of regular workouts and being sick and not able to participate in this habitual routine of daily exercise is just driving me bat shit crazy.  Likewise, I don’t have any pending Ironman competition coming up so I can relax a bit if I really wanted to.  It’s only March after all; I have lots of time to get Sprint-distance ready for June.

I’m scheduled for a short business trip this next week and Kelly is coming along for the ride, so I’m going to use that period to continue to relax and maybe just do some light exercise together like walking in a local park or, heaven’s forbid, attempt another light, short jog.  Nothing serious; nothing strenuous.  When I return, I’ll make another bid at returning to something more structured and regular – albeit easy and light.  I will relax.  I will recover.

Peace be the journey.

  1. Jan says:

    I was reading your article to Dan, Jodi and Annika and we were really HOWLING! By a hair, this next sentence was our favourite….. “Royal Jelly which was the next big thing for cold treatment and prevention in the 1990’s. Really? Something secreted out of a bee’s ass was somehow , going to magically heal me? ” Our sympathy for your sickness disappeared with laughter. We decided that since your sense of humour is still very much intact, you aren’t that sick!

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