I very rarely get sick. If I do it tends to be a stomach bug that lasts less than a day. Once in a blue moon I’ll develop some very mild seasonal allergies for a few days. Even headaches are a rarity for me as I can normally attribute them to hunger, dehydration or hormones. Prior to last week I can’t even recall the last true cold that I had.
The first week of January I woke up with a slight sore throat every morning. It typically went away after breakfast so I chalked it up to the dry air. Then on Sunday it stuck around all day. And the next day. And the day after that. As it seemed like it was finally beginning to improve (and I had polished off half a bag of doTERRA’s OnGuard cough drops) I developed full cold symptoms of head and nasal congestion.
Despite my increasingly stuffy head and depletion of energy I decided to go running with my usual group Wed. evening. I am a firm believer in the “symptoms from the neck up it’s ok to exercise and symptoms from the neck down don’t exercise”. Not to mention I had a race scheduled for Sat. morning and I had only ran the previous Wed. I was still doing regular DailyBurn workouts but to me they don’t equate to logging the miles needed to be racing. With temperatures listed in the 40s I thought I could get away with wearing running tights and a long sleeved t, but upon arriving at the meeting spot I realized it felt a lot colder so I added my hoodie, gloves and headband.
Maybe I was actually slower than usual or maybe my group was truly running faster than me, but by the time we started crossing the Columbia-Wrightsville bridge I was falling behind. The bridge still had some snow/slush spots that made me leery to run over so I baby stepped some of them which slowed me down. My group waited for me at the end of the bridge, and my dad asked me if I was going to continue on or run back. My response was “Well my head’s going to keep feeling like shit no matter what I do so I might as well keep going”. My legs actually felt really good which is a reason I decided to continue. My mental state left something to be desired though as I was feeling discouraged being so far behind the others. Fortunately my dad dropped back to run with me realizing I had never ran their usual route through Columbia. It boosted my spirits and talking with him distracted me from my pounding head. We completed around 6 miles, bringing my 2 week total to 11 miles going into Saturday’s race.
Around 1am on Thursday morning Jason kept nudging me to the point that I got irritated and asked why he was doing that. Apparently I was snoring. Loudly. I grabbed my pillow and some blankets and relocated to the couch where I slept better than I expected.
That evening I went to Rite Aid, finally resorting to taking cold medicine. I hate medicine and tend to let most ailments run their course if possible. Another reason I hate medicine, particularly for colds, is the endless array of choices. I think I spent close to 10 minutes comparing descriptions of symptoms and ingredients before settling on Rite Aid’s brand of daytime cold/flu medicine. I find the daytime vs nighttime medicine thing to be a bit of a joke. I’m guessing the nighttime version (because it does have slightly increased dosages of two of the medicines) helps people sleep, but given I sleep without issue most nights I figured the daytime version would be most practical.
After my trip to Rite Aid I went to my massage therapy appointment. I was long overdue for one as the last one was in September and I try to go about every three months. My usual therapist had left or been let go a week before my half marathon (I had plans to get a post run massage two days after) so I saw a new therapist. While the appointment definitely loosened up my tightened back, neck and legs, it probably wasn’t the smartest idea to fill my body with more toxins as it was already battling a cold.
To me the true annoyance of head colds is that I never feel sick enough to stop going about my regular routine, but I still feel crummy in general. I wasn’t looking forward to the Indian Rock 10k scheduled for Saturday morning but planned on running as best as I could. When the forecast began to show snow and ice accumulations overnight Friday into Saturday though I began slightly hoping for the race to be canceled so I could get out of running it without having any guilt. My parents visited that evening, and my dad said that he and Todd already decided they weren’t going to run the race as the temps were predicted to be in the 20s with 20-30 mph winds. I said given my still sick status I might as well skip it as well, feeling a twinge of guilt and a bit of relief.
The race was actually held, but I was glad I didn’t go. Jason and I ran a lot of errands including finding a new couch with chaise to replace our peeling love seat (I guess if you don’t get genuine leather that’s common) and we tried a new diner for lunch. The entire day I felt head congestion right between my eyes despite taking the cold medicine every few hours. Sunday the congestion moved to the right side of my head and yesterday it finally seemed to be gone.
I had been sleeping on an air mattress in our spare room/my office so that Jason could get some sleep. Apparently he could even hear me snoring through the wall sometimes because the nasal congestion was that bad. This morning he said he didn’t hear anything, so I’ll be happily returning to the bed tonight.
Anyone else battle illness so far this winter? Do you take medicine right away or try to hold off until it’s unbearable? Do you continue workouts while sick?