So I survived the 5k and hoped I would be on the mend…
Well, I’ve started to get better but I am frustratingly still far from my normal self. Here’s a summary of my week thus far.
Although I would normally have been kicking butt for 11 miles (as was the plan this week and every week), Saturday’s race was a clear indication that I needed some time off. We laid low, went out to lunch with my family, and didn’t do a whole lot.
Charles watched the Super Bowl while I caught up on work and Downton Abbey. I will usually watch the Super Bowl but I honestly really don’t know what’s going on during a football game (much to my husband’s chagrin) and it really doesn’t hold my interest unless there is some social element to the whole thing. Even the ads don’t hold that much interest to me. It seems the ads are, on the whole, getting less and less impressive every year. Plus, you see news coverage of the best ones for days anyway. It’s a lot like my feelings about any and all awards shows – I just can’t get into them!
It was making me crazy to do absolutely nothing so I decided to do some yoga as a compromise – still value as an exercise but not cardio component to bother my lungs. I propped the laptop up with a DVD in the living room and got to it. I really enjoy yoga but it’s tough stuff! I definitely felt the burn afterwards.
Anyway, there was lots of rest, lots of coughing, a little bit extra sleep (but probably not enough).
I normally don’t travel this much for work but I had yet another business trip Monday & Tuesday of this week. This represents my 3rd trip in 3 weeks between Tinker Bell, my trip to New Jersey last week, and this trip to Chicago.
Since my flight wasn’t till around 8 pm, I worked almost the whole normal day, came home and threw my clothes in a carryon in 10 minutes and headed to the airport. The flight was uneventful and productive (thanks to having wifi on the plane) and I had a quiet night in the hotel.
Although traveling when sick isn’t exactly ideal, I decided that I would take these two travel days as lung recovery time and would just resume running at the end of the trip.
Tuesday was meetings and then to the airport. By this point, I was still coughing some (still productive) but not nearly as much as over the weekend. I’ve continued to take the Mucinex D.
I got home around 8 pm totally exhausted and fell into bed. I feel like I got incredibly dehydrated on this trip and started to have cramping in my calves and thighs monday night all the way till I went to bed last night. I drank lots of water before bed and threw my Zensah sleeves hoping to get myself recovered for my *hopefully* triumphant return to running in the morning.
Today was the day – the day I return to running! I am still a bit congested and continue to battle with this productive cough. I know all about the “rule of the neck” in running – if it’s above the neck (like a runny nose), it’s fine to run; if it’s below the neck (like a chest cold with cough or chills, etc.), DON’T RUN. Ok, that’s fine. I get it…but I have no idea how long this stupid cough is going to linger on! I can’t – physically or psychologically – just stop running for some indefinite amount of time. The Princess Half Marathon is roughly 2 weeks away so there’s no time to get out of shape now. Plus, I have this crazy idea about possibly seeking redemption at another Track Shack 5k on 2/16 and I want to be in tip top shape for that too (if I sign up – jury is still out).
So, I started out on my tempo run like nothing was wrong. My first mile was strong till just towards the end. 7:18 average pace. Perfect! Right on track. As I neared my 1.5 miles turnaround point, I started to deteriorate quickly. Great, my lungs are definitely still not nearly functioning properly. I stopped my watch and let myself catch my breath. When I was off again, I still wanted to keep a good pace but let myself relax a little bit. There is a challenging grade for about a quarter of a mile leading up to the 2 mile mark and I knew this would be tough. I decided I would let myself have another quick break when I reached the top. Mile 2, 7:58 pace. Pace is slipping below where it should be. Stop watch. Breath. Go.
I kept going down the last really long stretch of the route and negotiated that I would give myself another break at the end of this stretch, about half a mile. Stopped my watch for another quick break. I really made myself push far beyond when my body wanted me to stop before I got to each of these stop point so I knew I was not going easy on myself. My lungs and oxygen-deprived muscles needed these breaks to get through it.
I knew I needed to push to the end and I did. I worked hard. It shouldn’t be this hard but my lungs are clearly not working like they should be still. It’s so frustrating. I want to be better but I clearly have more healing up to do. My last mile was 8:27 pace, even slower. Not counting my stops, my time was 24:36. Not bad, if it weren’t for the stops.
So where do I go from here?
I don’t quite know what to do. Doctors are never sensitive to runners and our training needs so I really don’t feel like it would be worthwhile to seek medical advice at this point. They would just tell you to rest until you feel 100%. That’s not an option.
My current plan? Get extra rest when I can, cut some of my cross training to spare my lungs when I’m not running, and try to take an easy pace for the next few runs. No more tempo nonsense or speed work that is meant to tax your lungs until I feel better. My body feels fine overall but this productive cough is the problem. I need to closely monitor this and get antibiotics well in advance of Princess if this continues to linger beyond what is reasonable. I will join the group run tomorrow but I need to remind myself to just take it easy!
What is your running or workout game plan when you have a chest cold? Do you run through it while it lingers? Have you ever gotten helpful medical advice on this?