It’s progressed

I know you guys are tired of reading about the ongoing saga of my current illness, and I’m pretty exasperated to still be writing about it. Believe me, I want nothing more than to be healthy again. To be able to go to work consistently again, and also to be able to exercise regularly again would be heavenly. But I woke up this morning just as sick as I have been for the last two weeks or so. My head was still congested, my cough was as bad as ever, and I felt exhausted in spite of getting plenty of rest. That’s when I realized that this isn’t just a cold anymore. After sleeping nearly all day I went to CVS Minute Clinic again to see if there was anything else I could do to hasten the healing. Turns out that my wheezing is indicative of bronchitis, and my congestion means I also have a sinus infection. Exciting! I got some antibiotics, an inhaler, and some nose spray to help with the symptoms. Hopefully with these medications I will start feeling better soon. I really can’t afford to miss any more work, and I have got to start running again if I don’t want to lose all of my endurance. (My foot has had more than enough time to heal too.) I know that in the grand scheme of things this illness is just a minor annoyance, but I’m ready to be over it already. Not only have I watched all of the shows on my DVR, but I also already binge watched the entire first season of “The Crown.” I’m tired of being cooped up at home! Here’s hoping I wake up significantly improved tomorrow morning.

Resolved to rest

After nearly a week of being idle due to a combination of post-marathon recovery and illness I went for a run last night. It was only 4 miles, but it was rough. There was a lot of wheezing involved thanks to my lovely cold symptoms and my pace was slower than usual, but I was happy to be out doing something again. Unfortunately my foot didn’t agree. It didn’t ever start hurting like it did after the marathon, but it didn’t feel quite normal either. That was troubling. Except for the Star Wars 5K last Friday I have done almost nothing physical since my podiatrist prescribed a week of rest so I was expecting my foot to be close to healed. And maybe it is and I’m just being paranoid. I know that a lack of pain is a good sign, but I’m still not satisfied. I’ll see how it feels after this weekend. Speaking of the weekend, I’m registered for the Pasadena Half Marathon on Sunday, but after a lot of deliberation today I decided it was not in my best interest to participate. Not only is my foot a little iffy, but I’m still sick and the weather prediction for Sunday is dismal. Looks like it’s going to be raining cats and dogs that morning which will make for an unpleasant race experience. So in order to avoid the possibility of setting myself back by running 13.1 miles when I shouldn’t, I managed to find a friend who can use my bib instead. I won’t blame her if she decides to skip it too after seeing the forecast! As disappointed as I am to skip this race I have to think about the future. I’d much rather rest this weekend and be healthy later in the spring than run on Sunday and be hurt for months. The LA Marathon is in March so I have to be ready for another 26.2 miles by then. Don’t worry, I’ll keep you posted on my progress whether you want me to or not!

Still sick

Still sick, but I’m finally recovering. I have barely left the house in the last five days and I’m getting restless. I had every intention of going to work this morning, but then I woke up still exhausted even after a full night’s sleep, and with a lovely hacking cough that sounded disgusting. I couldn’t see myself being around my co-workers with a cough like that so I stayed home instead. I’m getting pretty sick of this routine, though, which is how I know I’m almost over this illness. Not only do I need to get back to work tomorrow, but I also need to get back to exercising. At this point I’m going to have a tough time getting back to the shape I was in when I ran my marathon, but at least I can get started. I have way too many races coming up this spring I need to be ready for. That includes the Pasadena Half Marathon on Sunday morning which is going to be difficult at best after being sidelined for so long due to this cold/flu. And it might be raining too so that won’t make it any easier. I’m really looking forward to getting back on my feet, though. Plus, I still have a weight loss goal that I want to meet in the near future. My diet while stuck at home has been less than optimal for progress on that front. Getting back to normal can’t happen soon enough.

Ailments

I have a confession to make. January is just about halfway over and my house is still fully decorated for Christmas. I justified leaving my Christmas tree up until after I got back from Orlando due to the fact that I didn’t finish putting it up until December 18th. I figured this weekend I would put on a movie, take down all of the holiday decor, and put it away for another year. But then I got sick. After a couple of days of denial I realized I had a cold on Thursday. The symptoms were pretty mild at that point so I hoped I would avoid a serious illness. Unfortunately I wasn’t that lucky. When I ran the Star Wars 5K at Disneyland on Friday morning my lungs were burning during the race, but it didn’t seems to negatively impact my performance. More on that in another post. However, by the time I left work that afternoon I knew I was deteriorating. Yesterday my cold symptoms were in full swing so I spent all day either in bed or on the couch watching TV, dosing myself with DayQuil and NyQuil. So much for the productive weekend I’d planned on. And then instead of the hoped for overnight improvement I actually felt worse when I woke up this morning. Unfortunately I had flu symptoms. My diagnosis was confirmed at the CVS Minute Clinic where I got a prescription for Tamiflu from the doctor. Fantastic. Another day of zero productivity. So my Christmas tree is going to stay up for a little longer, it seems.

Being sick does have one tiny upside, though. It’s forced me to rest which has been helpful at healing a running-based injury. During the marathon last Sunday I hurt my right foot. It didn’t bother while I was running for five and a half hours, but it was pretty painful afterwards. I was having some problems with my knee during the race and I think I subconsciously adjusted my gait to try and protect it. That is probably how I hurt my foot. I did a lot of walking around Disney World the three days after the race even with the pain because nothing was going to keep me from park time while I was in Orlando. To be cautious I went to see my podiatrist the day after I returned to Los Angeles and he told me my foot was probably in a pre-stress fracture state. He likened it to a hanger that’s been bent several times so that the metal is hot, but not yet broken. Fun, huh? My instructions were to take it easy for a week or so to prevent a fracture from happening in my bone’s current weakened state. Funny enough, I didn’t have any foot pain after I got back from Orlando so I figured I was on the mend. Being a rebel, I wasn’t really intending to follow my doctor’s instructions. Case in point, running the Star Wars 5K the morning after my podiatrist appointment was probably not the best idea, but luckily my foot felt perfectly fine over those 3.1 miles. After that positive outing I thought I’d be able to resume my workout regimen over the weekend, but then I was struck down by illness. This cold/flu has brought on a period of forced rest over the last two days, and that will continue at least through tomorrow while the Tamiflu hopefully takes effect. Fingers crossed that I feel better tomorrow!

Sexual harassment

I live in a quiet little beach city in Orange County. Believe it or not, places like that do exist in the sprawling metropolis of Los Angeles! It’s a lovely place with a small town atmosphere. I’ve been running around here regularly for over three years now and I’ve gotten very comfortable with my usual 3-mile loop. There aren’t a lot of cars to watch out for, other pedestrians are generally very polite, and running by the Pacific Ocean never ceases to amaze me. My running apparel is pretty typical for a woman – tight-fitting shorts or pants and fairly close-fitting shirts. Comfortable, but nothing crazy. I don’t wear short shorts (I’ve got a thigh situation going on that could start a fire if I did), I don’t show any cleavage (I’m paranoid about getting sunburned), and I don’t bare my midriff (believe me, no one wants to see that). But for some reason this year I’ve gotten a lot of catcalls while I’m out running. It’s not that I’m some great beauty or anything. I think men mostly use catcalling as a power play to assert their perceived dominance. But even so, it seriously pisses me off.

One evening this summer I ran past a group of three young men, either in their late teens or early twenties, and one of them yelled at me. I can’t remember exactly what he said, but it was something like, “Yeah baby!” I was so shocked that I almost kept going, but then my temper flared and I stopped. I just couldn’t let something like that go. It doesn’t matter what a woman looks like or what she’s wearing. Nothing makes that kind of behavior OK. If the boys had been older, larger, or more intimidating I might have just kept going and hoped they didn’t escalate to something worse than catcalls, but knowing my audience gave me a little confidence. I wanted to have words with these young men who decided to yell at a stranger who just happened to cross their path. I suspected that the guy who shouted at me was trying to impress his friends, but that made me think I could have some influence on the situation and perhaps change his behavior in the future. I turned around and said to him very firmly, “No! You do not say that to women, do you understand me? That is not OK.” The looks on their faces were priceless. Their eyes were wide, their mouths hung open, and I’m sure they were thinking, “Oh shit! What have we done?” They obviously expected me to take their abuse and let the disgusting behavior slide, but they chose the wrong victim that day. I was older, fiercer, and more ticked off than they anticipated! The boys didn’t say anything as I resumed my run. I sincerely hope I made a difference, and that they reconsider catcalling a woman again.

There’s another perhaps more sinister side of this story, though. A few days later I was chatting with a some co-workers, both males and females, all of whom are at least five years younger than I am. I told them this story and got a reaction I didn’t expect. One of the men simply said, “Bitch.” He laughed afterwards like it was a joke, but it still made me feel as if someone had punched me in the gut. Do those boys and men who catcall me think the same thing? I’m certainly no bitch for not appreciating unsolicited sexual comments, but somehow society has convinced men that they deserve a woman’s attention no matter how badly they behave. My male co-worker’s explanation was that I should have taken the catcall as a compliment. I didn’t even know how to respond to that kind of ignorance. As if men should be able to say whatever they want about a woman’s body or appearance and we should simply blush and be thankful? Wrong! Luckily one of my female co-workers interjected with, “But catcalls aren’t compliments. That guy could have just said, ‘Hello,’ or something. There are better ways to talk to a woman.” Exactly right. So to any man who says ridiculous things to me when I’m out running, don’t be surprised when I flip you off. I’m simply returning some of the disrespect that you gave me. And if you shout, “Fuck you!” after I refuse to be flattered my your misogynistic attention then my initial negative assessment of your character will be confirmed. You’re the one who should be ashamed, not me.

Still struggling

Unfortunately I missed the Coaster Run on Sunday morning. I was so disappointed that I still felt terrible due to my cold/flu when my alarm went off early that morning. It didn’t help that it was pouring outside either. We don’t get much rain here in Southern California so it was beneficial for our drought-stricken little corner of the country, but not so great for outdoor activities. Still, if I’d been healthy I would have ventured out to Knott’s Berry Farm to earn my medal anyway. This stupid illness has caused me to miss two races now and I’m getting pretty fed up. My improvement seems far too slow for my liking. After nearly two weeks my head and chest are still really congested and simply walking around the grocery store makes me light headed. It’s so frustrating. Not that being sick is the only hurdle in my path right now. The pulled muscle or whatever in my leg doesn’t seem to be healed yet either. I haven’t run since the Princess 10K (and that was less than a half mile of running before I was in too much pain to keep going), but I can still feel some tightness in the affected area and it concerns me. I made an appointment to see on orthopedist on Thursday to make sure I don’t have a more serious problem. Probably not, but it doesn’t hurt to get a professional opinion. I’m planning to go for a short run tomorrow night to see what sort of state my body is in. One way or another, it will be a good data point to give the doctor on Thursday. Also, I’m registered for the San Diego Half Marathon on Sunday and I’d like to know what my chances are of participating. I’m still planning to go this weekend even if I have to switch to the 5K because I refuse to miss another event that I’ve paid for. But if I’m not in pain I think I’ll do my best on the half marathon. Fingers crossed that my test run tomorrow goes well!

More recent difficulties

Forgive me, but I’m going to whine a little bit more. As much as I loved my trip to Orlando and the Bahamas (which I will elaborate on in another post), there were a few snags. Most notably, I’m stuck at home right now with the flu, a really bad cold, or some combination of the two. It sucks big time. It all started on Thursday afternoon when my mom and I watched “The Force Awakens” on our Disney Cruise. Between then and dinnertime I developed a sore throat. I could have caught something from anyone on that ship (despite the borderline obsession with cleanliness on the cruise), but my money’s on the girl sitting next to me in the theater who was coughing up a lung. When the sore throat hadn’t gone away by the next morning when we docked in Port Canaveral I knew I was sick. Assuming I just had a cold I got some Zicam at the first available CVS and took it regularly for the next three days. I didn’t feel too terrible the next couple of days so I thought I was going to get off easy with this illness. Then on Sunday it took a turn. I went to work for a few hours to sort through all of my emails that I’d piled up while I was on vacation and get some boring administrative work done while no one else was around. I felt surprisingly good so I was contemplating going to spin class the next day to get some much needed exercise, but at 2 PM my sore throat got exponentially worse. I headed home earlier than I originally planned in order to rest. But as I was lying on the couch watching the Oscars I started feeling achy and shivering like crazy – all signs that I had a fever. And the thermometer confirmed it. Now my “cold” was looking more like the flu. So instead of going to work on Monday morning I went to urgent care and got a prescription for Tamiflu. The doctor wasn’t optimistic that it would help me very much (he said it was more effective last year than it has been so far this year), but he said I could try it anyway. So this was a long-winded way of saying that the most memorable souvenir from my trip was a nasty cold/flu that’s kept me home sick for two days. The only benefit is that I’ve been forced to rest my pulled muscle that I sustained nearly three weeks ago.

Speaking of which, that pulled muscle I first wrote about before I left for Orlando caused me a lot of problems while I was on vacation. When the Princess 10K rolled around that Saturday morning I hadn’t run at all in over a week in an attempt to let my body heal. I had no idea how I was going to fare during the race. I started out the 10K running slowly, and I felt pretty good at first. Unfortunately before I reached even 0.5 miles my leg was hurting so much I had to switch to walking instead. Limping is more like it. It took me nearly the rest of the 6.2 miles to feel somewhat normal again. Obviously I wasn’t quite healed yet. I was really happy to be wearing arm warmers with my short-sleeve shirt because walking didn’t keep me very comfortable on a chilly Florida morning! I crossed the finish line knowing that running the half marathon the next day was out of the question. Neither was skipping the race. I wasn’t going to risk further injuring myself by running, but I also wasn’t going to throw away the opportunity to complete the Glass Slipper Challenge (and earn my pink Coast to Coast medal after the Tinkerbell Half Marathon in May). So I walked it. The entire 13.1 miles. And it was so boring! It took me nearly 4 hours to complete the Princess Half Marathon, but I did it and collected all of my medals afterwards. The last race of my trip was the Castaway Cay 5K on Disney’s private island in the Bahamas. I knew I wasn’t ready to run yet so I walked the 3.1 miles with my mom on Castaway Cay. It wasn’t exactly the most exciting course, and it was really hot and humid that morning, but we finished the race (not dead last either!) and earned our medals. And then we bought Castaway Cay 5K shirts! Those are my two favorite souvenirs from the Disney Cruise. So over the course of my nine-day vacation I completed 22.4 miles of races, walking almost that entire distance. I’m proud that I did it, but I hope I never have to repeat it! Once I recover from this cold/flu/whatever I’ll give running a try again. I have to be ready for all of the spring races I’m already registered for!

Recent difficulties

Last Thursday I pulled a muscle in my leg while going for a routine weeknight run. I felt some weird pains after the first two miles, but by mile three I knew something was really wrong. After four miles I limped home, cursing under my breath. An injury was problematic for a couple of reasons – 1) The Mermaid 10K I was registered for that Saturday, and 2) My trip to Orlando for the Princess Half Marathon a week later. Being hurt at a time like this was just not acceptable. I almost never regret going for a run, but this time I wished I’d been lazy and stayed home on my couch watching television. I went to bed that night hoping that I’d be miraculously healed by the next morning. I wasn’t. That night I was supposed to drive down to San Diego and stay in a hotel before the Mermaid 10K. But since I was still hurting when I woke up I tried to cancel my reservation. It was too late to do that without getting charged for the room anyway so I had to find another solution. I emailed the race company and asked if there was any way I could switch from the 10K to the 5K so that I could walk it in a reasonable amount of time but still participate in the event. Luckily they responded that it wouldn’t be a problem. It’s a good thing too because I really wanted that shirt and medal! So I packed warmer clothes to wear for the race (walking does not keep you nearly as toasty as running) and made my way to San Diego on Friday night. Walking the 5K was a bit boring, but I’m glad I did it. My leg was stiff and sore, but not too bad. Running that day would have aggravated it, I’m sure, so at least I was smart enough to avoid that. My main goal was to be healthy for the Princess 10K and half marathon at Disney World this weekend!

And speaking of my trip to Orlando, it hasn’t exactly started off smoothly today. I woke up at 6 AM and checked my email. Nothing interesting there. Then I finished packing my bags, loaded up my car, and headed to McDonald’s at 7:30 AM for a quick breakfast on my way to the airport. When I was halfway through my Egg McMuffin I checked my email again and found out that the first leg of my flight had been cancelled. The new itinerary that the airline sent me had me arriving in Orlando not at 8 PM as originally planned, but at 5 AM tomorrow morning. Not cool. The good news was I was only a few blocks from home so I could drive back and investigate rearranging my travel plans. The bad news was that JetBlue had no better options than my effective redeye that arrived in Orlando before the crack of dawn tomorrow. I had bought a ticket on a flight leaving from Long Beach due to the convenience, but if I’d had the inclination to drive up to LAX I could have gotten to Orlando a bit sooner. But only about 4 hours sooner, which wasn’t much help. I reluctantly accepted my fate to depart this afternoon and get to Florida in the wee hours. Then I spent the rest of my morning watching TV shows from this week on my DVR. Gotta make space for all the shows that are going to get recorded while I’m gone! Right now I’m sitting at the Long Beach airport waiting to board my plane to Salt Lake City. I’m going to need to buy a neck pillow when I get there (I have about a four hour layover) because sleeping on the flight to Orlando is my best option to avoid a vampire schedule. Luckily the only thing I absolutely have to do tomorrow is go to the expo and pick up my race bib and shirts. I’ll get some sleep eventually!

Love Actually

It’s no secret that I love Christmas movies. While putting up my Christmas tree (and all of the rest of my holiday decorations – more on that another time) after Thanksgiving I watched “Miracle on 34th Street,” “Meet Me in St. Louis” (a movie for all seasons, but works for Christmas), and “White Christmas.” All excellent choices. Along with all of the old classics, there’s a slightly more contemporary movie that everyone seems to love this time of year – “Love Actually.” It shows up on my list of recommended movies every time I open up Netflix to binge watch old episodes of “Once Upon A Time,” “X-Files,” or “Call the Midwife.” (Eclectic, right? I’m nothing if not multi-faceted!) “Love Actually” used to be one of my favorites too, but due to certain parallels with my own life I just can’t watch it any more. Back in 2010 my ex-husband had an affair. Back then I alluded to difficult times in my webpage posts, but I never said anything concrete about it to avoid completely publicizing my personal struggles. Even now I won’t go into details because it wouldn’t be constructive, but it was an event that changed me forever. More than five years have passed since then, but I still can’t handle the cheating storyline in “Love Actually.” Watching Emma Thompson cry silently to the tune of “Both Sides Now” makes my heart ache like it did back in 2010 when I was hurting more than I ever though possible. Even as the memories are getting dimmer with time, I still don’t like reliving those miserable days. So for the sake of my own sanity I stick to happier holiday fare like “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “Muppet’s Christmas Carol,” and “A Christmas Story.” Revisiting the past usually isn’t beneficial, but sometimes it helps to look back and see how far I’ve come since that dark time. These days life is good, and this year Christmas is going to be amazing!

“I have to consider how to best make myself happy and also give myself the best chance of a positive outcome in the future. So bear with me because one way or another my life is going to completely change in 2010. It’s hard to imagine now, but the thought of laughing and smiling sincerely is what’s keeping me going. I have to believe that something better is waiting for me out there. What it is I have no idea, but just knowing about it existence is comforting. I know I’ll get there eventually and that’s a good thought.”
05/01/10 webpage post