This week I took my second sick day of the year, and the third of my lifetime. Yes, I consider myself to be indestructible, and when I do get sick I go to work anyway.
Last Saturday I woke up with burning lungs, like the feeling you get after you’ve inhaled caustic cleaner (been there, done that). “No!” I said, “I can’t be sick. I have a 5K.” Cue browsing articles on ‘should you run while sick,’ of which there was no unanimous conclusion. So, I said ‘to heck with it,’ went to the drugstore and bought the highest-powered lozenges I could find. Back in the car, I popped one in my mouth.
My tongue went numb.
“What the heck is in these things?” I flipped over the box. Hmm, Benzocaine. Isn’t that what they use to freeze your mouth at the dentist?
Well, you don’t need to feel your tongue to run. So off I went to the race.
I almost burned out in the last mile. My lungs hurt so bad, and I had to force my oxygen-deprived muscles to keep firing. My time was lackluster, but I made it.
Monday, I went running again. Tuesday I was still sick, and on Wednesday I was dragging myself around work like a zombie. I decided to call it a day and go to the walk-in clinic. Chest X-rays and EKG’s and blood work couldn’t tell the doctor what was wrong with me. “You have a virus,” he said.
I could have told myself that. At least I wasn’t dying. I’d already been imagining the end of my running ‘career’ because I had scarring of the lungs, or a hole in my heart, or something (just making up stuff, here).
So this week has been one of extra sleep, extra writing, and extra Harry Potter watching. After much self-lecturing, I’ve decided I’m sick. No speed-work midweek. No long run on the weekend. I’m getting antsy. Based on the way my chest feels right now, I might collapse midway. But it’s autumn in Manitoba, and that means six months of winter are almost here, and if I don’t enjoy the snow-free roads now, I won’t get to!
Someone tie me down, or hide my sneakers.