Most experienced runners are pretty dialed into the messages their body sends them. This helps you manage your level of effort, pacing, and gives you an idea of when you can make a move on race day. But, sometimes your body sends you messages you really don't want to hear.
I received a few such messages from my body. An inexplicable fatigue washed over me. A tickle in the back of my throat appeared. I have been compromised.
An unwelcome visitor has taken up residence. I could blame my compromised immune system, but it's likely that I am the one who compromised it. I am the one to blame.
Running bolsters your immune system. But, that doesn't make you invincible. You can't burn the candle at both ends (and the middle) in perpetuity.
It's something I know, but sometimes I forget. Fortunately, the body is all too willing to remind me that it's time to dial it down. It's time to give it a rest.
Getting off the bed feels like a chore. Lucid thoughts are a bit more challenging than usual. I just want some coffee, but the steps required to make it suddenly seem complex and daunting.
The unwelcome visitor is making himself far too comfortable. I recognize there's little I can do to get rid of him aside from just riding this out. But, there are things I can do to encourage an abbreviated visit.
I seek out whatever I can to bolster my now feeble immune system. Chicken soup, ginger ale, vitamin C, and Nyquil are but a few items on the list. But, it's not enough.
I still feel like crap. I still feel like death warmed over. It's time to do the one thing that will make me feel vaguely human.
It's an act that is completely counter intuitive. It's an act that most would balk at given the circumstances. I go for a run.
I recognize this will temporarily compromise my already enfeebled immune system, but I don't care. The first few miles feel hellacious.
But, then something miraculous happens. The rhinovirus induced fog lifts a bit. The blanket of fatigue I was covered in grows threadbare.
I visualize my unwelcome visitor writhing in pain and agony. He's not staying in the Four Seasons. He's checked into Motel Hell.
His host is hot, sweaty, and uncomfortable. No one in their right mind would want to linger long. So, I keep running.
It's a short jaunt, but the fresh air, sweat, and elevated heart rate has served as a tonic of sorts. I don't have illusions I am now healthy, but I feel at least vaguely human again.
The unwelcome visitor hasn't left, but a message has been fired across his bow. You can slow me down. You can contain me. But, you can't stop me.
I run because I feel like death warmed over....