Make the hard but healthy choice

I'm supposed to be running a 10k right now.  I should be out on Roosevelt Island with Alec and Jen, running 6.2 miles for the New York City 10k.  I should be feeling simultaneously fatigued and energized, on the brink of glory, as I was one month ago at my first 10k.

Instead, I'm lying in bed, drinking tea, considering what type of soup I want, and coughing up a storm.

I've been sick since precisely September 24, when I first felt the itch in my throat.  Over the following weeks, my upper respiratory infection got worse, and then better, and worse again.  Even after I felt well again, my cough persisted, and I was continuously short of breath.  As a result, I did not continue training for my next 10k, and I didn't hit the gym at all.  Walking wore me out, and talking exhausted me. After too long, I finally admitted that this was more than a cold and went to the doctor.  He first tried to knock it out of me with some strong meds (which worked for only the one day after taking it), and then started me on antibiotics. I'm currently on day four of seven.

As today's 10k approached, I kept trying to convince myself that I would be okay.  One evening last week, I went out for a test run to see how I'd do.  I made it one mile--a distance that hasn't challenged me for years--before I had to stop and catch my breath.  Then, I turned around and walked/jogged back home, saddened at what this likely meant for my race.

Yesterday, I found myself walking for just 20 minutes (for transportation purposes), and this, too, I felt in my chest.  By the time I got home, I was coughing heavily again for an hour straight.  The coughing gave me a headache.  Enough is enough--I'm sick. 

While I and the friends I asked had been on the fence, saying sure, I could go and just walk when I need to... my trusty friend Dr. Jordan told it to me straight: "Don't do it."  

He was right!  My poor lungs!  Why was I pushing myself, only to make myself worse?  I should be resting and recovering, letting my meds run their course and hopefully pump me back to life sooner rather than later.  I'd surely already delayed my recovery by continuing to go to work every day; by forcing myself to travel 6.2 miles on foot, I'd undoubtedly further set back any progress toward health I'd made up to that point.  And for what, to get a medal and run with friends?  I know my friends will run with me a different day, and I'll cross those 6.2 miles when my body is up for the challenge.

So, I did not set my alarm for this morning.  I spent yesterday afternoon trying to pawn off my race bib.  I went to bed at 10 last night, and slept exactly until the 8-am start time, at which point I woke up, as though my body knew where I wanted to be.  I thought of my friends running the race and hoped they'd meet their goals (they did!).  I rested.  I took my medicine. I'm continuing to rest.

Doing what I've got to do.

It turned out to be a very cold morning, and I woke up feeling sickly... but my cough sounds better, and I'm glad I'm not overdoing it today.


Dare you to make the hard but healthy choice, when you're in a similar position.  

Sometimes "healthy" means not pushing yourself, not running/moving/lifting.  

Sometimes, you have to give up something you want, looked forward to, even paid for, when your health calls for it.

Then, when you're well and feeling great, shoot for the stars :) 

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