Runner's are not always the smartest when it comes to illness and injury. I believe the common phrase is: "Runners, ignoring doctors since forever". Goodness knows I have 100% been that runner. BUT I am trying to improve in this area... and in the last 7 days I have got a chance to practice being a smart runner.
Last week I got the beginnings of a cold. I was smart and took my runs down to a lower level and didn't push myself too hard, took a day off from work to rest and heal and low and behold I started to get better. Then shit hit the fan at work, like hardcore hit the fan. And so I went out on what my coach calls A frustration run. This is the type of run where I run much faster than I should, and push myself do to distances and/or paces that I know better than to do. Then I follow that up with less than stellar nutritious decisions (ie: I have beer/wine). Which of course combined with the emotional stress and overall exhaustion from dealing with the day, makes the cold much much worse.
Then comes long run day, I had 15 scheduled with 7 at marathon pace. Last big long run of the training season. I wake up with a huge knot in my chest, barely able to breathe. So like the Smart Runner that I am, I went out for the run. Because, ya, that is what us runners do. Smart decision?? Nope, not so much. However I realized by mile 4 that pushing for marathon pace was NOT going to be a good idea. So I did, and you gotta give me some credit here, made the decision to not the pace miles. I broke off from my training partners and ran with a friend and completed 15 miles at my easy long run pace. By time I was done I was coughing so hard I couldn't breathe.. to use of my favorite phrases. It was NO BUENO!
So I was SMART and rested the rest of the day, and then went to good ole Target the next morning to buy yet another round of OTC meds. I thought about going to the dr, but ... nah... meds will take care of it. So I tried that. Talked to my Coach. He said "No more frustration runs, eat well, and get sleep". Okay.. Aye Aye Captain.. You are the boss. You got it! I rested the rest of the weekend. Laid back, hung out with friends, ate healthy, slept, all that good jazz.
Monday morning... ya, definitely need to go to a Dr. This is seriously awful. So So So Sick! And that shit hitting the fan from the week before got even frickin worse. So, that means.... there went that healthy eating thing. Breakfast, good, Lunch.. what lunch? Aint got time for no lunch. That also means, getting to the Dr. got a lot harder. Finally get to the med express.. see a Dr (a real jerk by the way) and get some heavy duty meds to kick what has turned into bronchitis.
Did I want to run? OH MY GOD YES! I needed to deal with the stress of my day. Could I have pushed through a run even though I was sick, yeah.. I could have been a STUBBORN asshat runner and pushed through. BUT I WAS SMART! I went home, hung out with my main man (my black lab Waylon), watched some TV and rested.
Tuesday: Every Tuesday morning I meet a buddy of mine for a morning run. I WAS SMART and cancelled. "Slept In". I am growing here, getting smarter. AND then I really got to exercise self-control. Tuesday is also my gym day. I did go to the gym... but since I still was having trouble breathing, I kept my ass out of the pool and weight room and just used the hot tub to relax.
And Now here I lay, relaxing. Not running, not eating junk food, just resting. Following doctors orders. Being Smart
So I guess the moral of this story is: be smart! Am I itching to run? More than I can describe. But I also know I have a marathon in 10 days and I push through this now, then there is a good chance I will be sick still in 10 days and won't get the time I want.
So, ya it sucks to be sick. It sucks to not be able to deal with the stress and hardships in the best way you know how, ya it sucks to see all your friends out running and you can't. BUT it will be worth it to rest!
So let's change the phrase to "Runners, making smart medical decisions, always".