Recovery from anything requires baby steps. A slow, cautious pace. The body is resilient but there are a lot of physiological processes that must be retrained, or reintroduced after prolonged time away from an activity, any activity.
Last night I went for a very slow jog with my running group. I am still struggling to feel energized, and still fighting an obnoxious cough, so I wasn’t even sure I should be running. But I figured there’s only one way to find out. I didn’t want to commit to a 3-mile run in case I realized halfway through that 3 miles was too big of a commitment. So I joined the beginner 5k group – the group that is learning to run from ground zero. They ran 2 miles at 2 minutes walk, 2 minutes run.. I just kept a steady, very slow pace and stayed within their reach the whole time. Yes, I coughed my head off, and yes, I broke a sweat that wasn’t related to a fever, and yes, I was so happy I did it, and yes, I was exhausted when I hit the pillow last night, and yes, I made it through the night without a cough attack and yes, I think I am starting to come back to life.
But damn. Where did I put my energy? Someone told me it would find its way back.. I am hoping that person is right.
Actually, last night after my run I got home and soaked in the hot tub to warm up my body from the core. I sat with my back on the jets, like I always do, and the vibration from the jets on the middle of my back felt so incredibly good, like I was getting a massage from a 1,000 invisible Swedish trolls. I just sat there, rotating my head back and forth, listening to the cricks and cracks in my neck, stretching my back and feeling the positive energy course through my veins. The water was warm, very warm (it’s a hot tub) and the vibrations relaxed my lungs and all the muscles that have been working overtime around them.
When I climbed into bed, it was the most comfortable bed I had ever been in. I pulled the fluffy, soft, warm down comforter up to my chin and I fell into a deep sleep. I did not wake up coughing at 2 am. I did not toss and turn. I woke up feeling a little bit more human than I did the day before, and that’s the kind of progress I’m happy to see.
There’s another run tonight and I think I might be up for something a little longer, perhaps a little faster. Knowing that I have 1,000 invisible Swedish trolls waiting for me at home is incentive.. and if I keep doing this, maybe someday soon I’ll remember where I put my energy and my ‘coming back to life’ runs can morph into marathon training runs.
But in all honesty, being as sick as I was and being taken out of the marathon training game when I did does not change anything. I will still show up and I will still run my best. I am actually looking forward to running a marathon without the pressure to perform well. I can run it for the sheer enjoyment of running marathons. I get to be part of the inaugural Bend Marathon. And unlike with other marathons, this one feels like the very beginning of something really grand.