Of Detours and Starting Lines
Somehow I got it in my head at the beginning of this month that it would be a good idea to sign up for the “You vs. the Year” challenge hosted by Map My Run and Under Armor. Yes, a challenge in which the goal is to run 1000 km total over the course of the calendar year. I signed up for it. Willingly. Now a bit of “derring-do” may have been behind it – sometimes taking on something “big” can be just the thing to motivate me to do, well, something big (like National Novel Writing Month, for example). I had also been thinking about how inconsistent I had been with my running last year. The littlest things would stop me from lacing up my running shoes and pounding out a mile or two. It was easier to not make the time for it. But the results of not making the time for it were not ones I wanted to continue producing.
Basically, this challenge was/is the kick in the butt I needed to get running again. Particularly on the days I don’t want to do so. Only two weeks in and I have already put in 2 or 3 more runs than I would have without this extra bit of accountability. Which is how I found myself doing a Google search yesterday to see if I could continue to run with a chest cold.
No, I wasn’t looking into this out of mere curiosity or because someone posted something on Facebook from a questionable Web site I felt I now needed to clarify. I managed to pick up a chest cold over the weekend that kept me home and sleeping for most of Monday. So no run on Monday (obviously) and, for good measure, I decided to not run on Tuesday either. When I was still coughing and feeling slightly wheezy at work yesterday afternoon, I thought I’d better look into this whole “running with a cold” thing. After all, I still had the time to get my trio of running sessions in for the week to stay on course for the aforementioned challenge without having to run three days in a row. If I could get back on course Wednesday, I’d be set!
Annnnd then I read this “handy” rule of thumb on more than one Web site (three, in fact – dig deep, right?): Keep running if the cold symptoms are from the neck up. So sore throat, sneezing, some sniffles – keep going. But for cold symptoms below the neck – chest congestion, body aches, etc. – then don’t run until the symptoms are gone. So I find myself frustrated by the fact for a not fully determined period of time I am unable to run. Me, who would use the excuse of “I got up too late to put in ‘x’ km on the treadmill, so no use running at all”, is now frustrated that I can’t run for possibly at least this week.
I was stewing about it a bit last night, when I was reminded of a couple of things. Namely:
- A delay does not mean the whole thing is over – it’s just delayed. Course adjustments can be made in order to get back on track. In this case, I can add in extra running sessions and/or extra time to make up for what won’t be getting done while I let my body properly heal.
- A delay or detour means other things can be worked on in the interim. For instance I haven’t been reading as much as I’d like to recently. With some free time currently in the morning, I can dig into a book or two from my To Be Read pile in the time I’d normally spend on the treadmill. (For the record, I do best if I run first thing in the morning which means running on the treadmill as I’d rather not run on icy sidewalks in the dark.)
It’s still the pits to have this chest cold, mind you. I’m praying I’m over it sooner rather than later. (Apparently my faith is smaller than a mustard seed, because, well, see this post. And mustard seeds are small, y’all.) But, again, a detour or a delay is not an automatic ending point. Sometimes it’s the opportunity to work on something else for a time.