Crazy Coincidence

I like to think I’m a pretty rational human being, but I’ve been called crazy more times this week than Amanda Bynes on a good day. Case in point:

  • When I told my boyfriend I ran 41 miles last week, he said I was insane.
  • When I told a friend I’ll be busing nine hours for a Third Eye Blind concert this Saturday, she said I was a lunatic.
  • When my brother skimmed my iPhone during my recent stopover in Baltimore, he said the copious still frames of his goldendoodle reminded him of Jack Torrance’s “all work and no play” manuscript in The Shining.

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Touché, Thomas. Touché.

Normally, at the utterance of the word “crazy,” I launch into a spiel about the word’s blatantly sexist connotation and try to pass off well-constructed arguments about the “nasty tradition of pathologizing female emotion” from this wonderful Jezebel article as my own. But today, that won’t be happening because – to be honest – I am behaving crazily, at least if you’re going by Einstein’s designation.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Let me explain. On Sunday, I concluded my eleventh week of marathon training with an 18-mile run. It was tough, but the weather was gorgeous, the trail was practically vacant and I returned home prepared to recover on the hammock all afternoon long with my very best friend.


Fast forward to the next morning, and I’m all-but-bedridden with the worst cold I’ve had all year. Stuffy nose, sore throat, sinus pain, anchovies: the works. On a side note, never order that on a pizza.

As I nursed a cup of soup during my lunch break, I started thinking about the blog post I would write tonight. Something along the lines of: “No matter how good running is for your overall health, run for three hours straight and your immune system starts to break down.” At least, that’s what I thought I was going to write tonight … until I happened to look up the blog post I published on the same date last year, in which I wrote EXACTLY that. Let me read you an excerpt. (Actually, you’re going to have to read it yourself, but feel free to imagine it in my voice.)

“I spent this week all-but-bedridden with a crippling sinus infection. It hit the day after I completed an 18-miler, my longest … workout to date.”

Apparently, “all-but-bedridden” is my favorite phrase two years running. More importantly, apparently my body is absolutely fine with 15 or 16 or 17 miles, but hit that magical No. 18 and suddenly, I’m spreading rhinovirus all over Manhattan for a second year in a row.

Normally, I’ll end a blog post with a plea for advice from the more seasoned runners who kindly read my ramblings and set me straight. Should I take off training until my nose stops running? –  I might ask. – Is it true you can still work out if your disease is above the neck? How many grilled cheeses a day can a sick woman really justify? But really though. Four?

But this time, I can just refer to my September 16, 2012 self for the answers. If I trust my year-ago post, I discover that, in fact, three days off during recovery isn’t going to flat-line my fitness.

That is, assuming history continues to repeat itself. But hey, crazier things have happened.

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I lied, fellow runners: I’m totally still going to ask for your input. Do you power through a cold or let your training take a breather until you’re well?


3 thoughts on “Crazy Coincidence

  1. The general rule I have heard is that if its a head cold work out at less intensity, but if you have a fever hold off. Personally I power through long runs at less intensity and cut down on mid-week workouts.

  2. Generally I power through a cold but not the flu (mainly because when I got the flu I could barely stand up, let alone run). I feel like I get better faster when I continue with my running… it’s probably all in my head, but whatever works!

  3. Hey, A. — you’re far too young to remember Granny’s all-purpose cold cure/rheumatiz medicine from “The Beverly Hillbillies” (Uncle Jed’s rapturous Rx: “Just take one tablespoon, drink lots of water, plenty of bedrest, and in a week, ten days you’ll be good as new!”), and I’m not sure I trust the efficacy of that treatment in any case. But since we seem to be at about the same training phase (17.5 long/44 weekly here, though your miles are surely quicker than mine), and I’ve had some rhino issues of my own from off-the-charts San Antonio pollen counts the past couple of weeks, here’s my two cents for these last few weeks before taper time. If there’s no fever, get one extra day of Nyquil-assisted rest (or Actifed if you prefer), then back on the road with a little less intensity the first day. If there’s fever, bomb it with aspirin, orange juice and water and WAIT TILL IT’S GONE before you get back out there — don’t flirt with something more serious this close to race day. There — good for what ails ye. Get well! — Vaughan

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