Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Keep Walking

I spent most of January sick as could be with a short reprieve towards the end of the month - only to have it come roaring back.  By Thursday of last week I was so sick I decided to stay home on Friday.  My job offers the call-in doctor service Teladoc so at 5:30 a.m. on Friday I called.  The doctor I spoke with said he would call in a prescription for me but told me if I felt any worse at all I should go to my primary care physician.  I went back to bed with the intention of getting up later to pick up said prescription, but when I woke up, I felt like my chest was compressing my lungs and as if I was going to choke. So I called my regular doctor and they told me to come in at 1:30 and they'd fit me in. The verdict was mycoplasma infection aka walking pneumonia.  So, I did get antibiotics after all, just not the ones the Teladoc doctor prescribed.  I'm still pretty bronchial but feeling a bit better every day.

By Monday, my brain was in full on rebellion because it had been7 days since I did any sort of exercise.  It was 40 degrees and sunny when I got out of work so I went for a walk; just an easy walk, to see how my breathing would go.  It felt beyond good to move and I slept like a log that night. This morning, I decided to get up and go back out as the temp was still 37 and the forecast for Wednesday and Thursday was showing rain and snow.  I walked as fast as I could and threw in some jogging, which immediately brought on coughing spasms.  So yeah, not quite ready to run it out but again it felt good to get out there.

What was fascinating about both those outings were the Garmin stats.  VO2 Max is a measure of your maximum oxygen intake and output.  The higher it is, generally the faster you are and the more endurance you have as a runner - elite runners have VO2 Max levels that other runners dream of. Mine is usually just average.  Sometimes if I have to use my inhaler because I'm worried about the cold causing some asthma, it goes to the higher end of average but it never goes high.

On both those outings my VO2 Max was below normal - not surprised - but my heart rate actually got as high as when I run.  So, even though I was much slower, I was actually working just as hard as running.  This explain why coaches will often tell someone who is in recovery to work at a "perceived exertion" rate:  depending on what is going on with your body, a walk can be just as hard as a run.

This week, I should be starting my 8-week training plan for the quarter marathon I'm running April 2nd but I haven't run since last Tuesday.  Too sick to run is pretty sick for me but I do know when to say when.  

Of course the timing of all this also reminded me exactly why I prefer not to train in winter for races - even though it's hot and humid, I'm rarely sick in the summer.  Besides, the cold conditions and all the clothing I have to put on in winter just make it feel cumbersome.

Thankfully as an experienced runner I know I can modify said plan and honestly, if push comes to shove, I could probably walk the thing in about 1:40 or so and looking at past race results, it seems there may be plenty of folks who have done just that.  


  1. Maybe you should get into that race walking. It might be fun to work with a coach and see how far you can take it.

    Glad you are on the mend. Don't overdo it (don't eye roll here) LOL!

  2. So glad to hear from you, but sorry you've been so sick! I'm glad you got the right medicine.

  3. You totally have that race distance in the bag right here, right now. Don't worry about not starting your training on time for it...just work at getting well.

  4. I hope you're feeling better! Do what you can.

  5. I did the same thing at the end of last week - tried to walk fast on my lunch, and the coughing fits started all over.

    As much as I am feeling better, I know better than to push it and have a relapse, and will wait until next week to start exercising again. So my food has been on point!

    Sending healing vibes! :D

  6. For te average person winter is not a good time for sports.One easily catches a cold and that dangerously robs one of one's energy.
    Be well soon!

  7. Take care of yourself...your health is the first priority!!!!!!!!

    Winter is the pits for running outside....it's dark late...dark early....cold...icy...snowy. Just the pits! But summer will be here soon!

  8. Sorry for the late response but I'm here now. Hopefully by now you feel a whole lot better. And you will be ready for your race in time. You run all year round and you pick it up soon enough once you feel good enough to run again.