Sunday, July 31, 2011

12 days of Christmas, The Fires of Hell, Relapse, and Hope: 7/27-7/31

Wednesday morning began well with another run to the gym and 12 Days of Christmas workout.
  1. Lap around the indoor track (1/15 of a mile)
  2. Step up (each leg)
  3. Fire Hydrant (each leg with a leg extension)
  4. Dips
  5. Push ups
  6. Bicycles
  7. Prisoner Squats (with an elbow to knee leg raise on each side)
  8. Russian Twists w/ 6lb weighted ball
  9. Side oblique crunches (each side)
  10. Standard Crunch
  11. Crossover Crunch (each side)
  12. Bird Dogs

 I still had some of the tightness in my chest that had lingered from my bout with the flu, but I felt that progress was being made overall.  However, as the day went on, my voice began to get hoarse and around noon my student worker asked me if I was feeling well.  I wasn't.  I took some Dayquil that I had in the office, my voice was getting rough and sinuses were beginning to clog up.  That night I took some NiQuil and headed to bed early.  However, we had to run the AC all night because the Fires Of Hell have engulfed Raleigh this summer: According the the Daily Beast Raleigh is the third hottest city in America this summer.  When, I woke my throat was worse and my sinuses were a total mess.  I was feeling bad and should have stayed home from work, but having missed so much time earlier with the flu, I chose to go to work.  I made it through the day but progressively got worse.  My whole left side of my face was stuffed up.  I continued with the over the counters and made plans to take Friday off, which was a very good thing because Thursday night was wretched.

With my sinuses clogged, I was forced to breathe in through my mouth, which caused my cough to return with a vengeance.  The night was pure hell and even though I didn't tell Hiroko, I contemplated going to the ER because the pain in my ribs from coughing was so bad.  After three hours of coughing, I was at last able to go to sleep.  Friday morning, I went to the doctor, who after running several respiratory tests prescribed a steroid inhaler, another round of antibiotics (10 days this time), told me to go back to taking the codeine cough medicine I had been taking with my first flu bout, and sent me for some chest x-rays, which were negative. 
Currently, I am still waiting for my sinuses to completely clear, my breathing is improved but still not anywhere near normal, but the best thing is that my coughing has gone away.  However, the most disconcerting thing is the soreness in my ribs and back.  I am not really sure what to make of it and I know that there several reasons why it could be so prevalent, most of which are nothing to be concerned about, but with the way things have gone over the last six weeks . . . . ?????????

Honestly, I am trying to be hopeful that these new medications will have me sorted out and back on the road to recovery, but there is part of me that is more than a little worried that something might really be amiss.  It has been a long times since, I have been this sick foe such an extended period of time, which has me more than a little unnerved.  However, whenever I start to feel sorry for myself and feel like throwing myself a pity party I think about the way Red handled the ordeal with her stress fracture and it has steeled my resolve not to wallow in self pity. At least not yet anyway! ;)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tuesday 12 Days of Christmas -- 7/26

I haven't been working out as hard as I would like, and I wanted to get back into a good workout groove, so I decided to feel a little festive and bring back the 12 Days of Christmas Workout.  I ran the 1.6 miles to the gym as a warm up and then went right into the 12 days . . . total sweat fest!  Day 8 was the worst one . . . honestly thought I might rupture my some internal organ!  Ugh! 
  1. Lap around the indoor track (1/15 of a mile)
  2. Burpees
  3. Fire Hydrant (each leg with a leg extension)
  4. Dips
  5. Push ups
  6. Bicycles
  7. Prisoner Squats (with an elbow to knee leg raise on each side)
  8. Russian Twists w/ 6lb weighted ball
  9. Side oblique crunches  (each side)
  10. Standard Crunch
  11. Crossover Crunch (each side)
  12. Bird Dogs
I was able to get through this, but it did cause some coughing and shortness of breath, but I held up well overall.  I plan on doing more of these workouts because I really gotten bored with the class selection at the Y, and I would rather do my own workouts than go through a boring class.  Or worse a class that is poorly run and makes you wonder if you are risking injury.  Luckily there are only two instructors at the Y that I question, and I avoid their classes like the plague.  I am hoping to get in a good run this weekend, but for now, I am just happy to have done a workout that I feel was kind of tough.

Post Harry Potter Dreadmill Run --7/24

Sunday, I watched  the afternoon matinee of Harry Potter  VII part 2 and was pretty disappointed.  Overall, the movies have been disappointing to me because I just love the richness and depth of the books.  Most of the films have seemed like highlight reels to me.  It isn't that I hated the movie or thought that it was bad, it is just that there isn't really anyway for the films to adequately represent the books.  


After the film I went to the gym and ran for 20 mins. on the dreadmill before I started to feel my chest constricting.  I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to cast the Anapneo spell with no success. 


Pronunciation: /əˈnæpniː.oʊ/ ə-nap-nee-oh
Description: Clears the target's airway, if blocked.
Seen/mentioned: Shown in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Horace Slughorn casts this spell on Marcus Belby when the latter begins to choke.[HBP Ch.7]
Suggested etymology: The Greek word anapneo which means "to draw breath or to revive".[

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mad Season -- Sat: 7/23

I wouldn't say that this is at all how I thought my July would be going because I was having a hell of a June before the wheels came off.  I am attempting to get back into the flow of working out, but I have not been as successful as I would like.  Part of this is to do with my own mental funk as well as the atrocious weather we have been having: several days of 100+ degree heat, the rest in the high 90's, and humidity that make you think you're living in hell's humidor.

On Saturday, I went to the gym and was able to run 2.4 miles on the dreadmill before my lungs began to constrict.  However, there was a sign of progress in my legs, which felt good for the first time since I got the flu.  I think that in general my strength is returning.  I have gotten rather soft and I am still feeling the tightness in my lungs.  That's to be expected considering my lingering cough is still . . . well . . . lingering.  Overall, I refuse to complain at this point because it just isn't worth it.  I am making progress and if going through this now will allow me to avoid the flu for the next eight or nine months, then I am willing to make the best of this situation.  I plan to sit down and make out a very detailed training schedule in the next few days.  I am actually looking forward to it.  I have turned into a huge runerd! 

Friday, July 22, 2011

More Maintenance: 7/19

Tuesday, I went to the gym and did more maintenance work.  But had a bit less success.  The heat has just gone nuts here like it has in most of the country and by the time I got the gym my lungs were just unable to take on the dreadmill.  Instead, I did more abs, legs work, and stretching.  I felt better afterward, but decided to take Wednesday off.  I planned on going to the gym on Thursday, but I wasn't feeling up to it by the end of work.  Still I figured that the best way to get myself focused on running again was to make plans for when I can run again.  So, I picked out and registered for two races: an 8k at the end of August and a 10k at the beginning of October.  Just putting these on my calendar helped my frame of mind because it allowed my to focus on what it will be like to run and again and stop thinking about how I am currently not running.


Monday Maintenance: 7/18

I am still not up to snuff, but in an attempt to get back on track I went to the gym on Monday to do some maintenance work with my legs, which have been getting tight over the last few weeks.  I rode my bike to work and to the gym after work and could still feel my chest constricting.  I tried to run on the dread mill but could only get in a mile after the two mile bike ride.  I then did some abs and some exercises to strengthen my legs and hips.  I tried not to leave the gym discouraged, but the timing of this illness has coincided with some personal disappointments, so it has been a bit of a tough patch.  However, I am hopeful that things are getting better.


Monday, July 18, 2011

Surviving July: 7/14

I used to love July.  My birthday is July 7th, My Aunt's Birthday is July 6th, my best friend's birthday is July 8th, and July 4th is America's birthday, and the month was always filled with long summer days that seemed to stretch out like a giant lazy yawn.  But, over the last two years, I've begun to wonder if July isn't my albatross -- a burden to be suffered through as penance for my years of sloth and inactivity.
In the poem, an albatross starts to follow a ship — being followed by an albatross was generally considered an omen of good luck. However, the titular mariner shoots the albatross with a crossbow, which is regarded as an act that will curse the ship (which indeed suffers terrible mishaps). To punish him, his companions induce him to wear the dead albatross around his neck indefinitely (until they all die from the curse, as it happens).

Last July, I was dealing with plantar fasciites and was unable to run.  I had to watch other people enjoying the month with tons of out door activity while I trudged through some boring laps swims in an over chlorinated pool at the Y.  This year, the month is slipping away from me because of the after effects of a nasty bout of the flu, which leads me to wonder if the gods are not forcing me to wear July around my neck for all the July's that I needlessly wasted in the same fashion that Coleridge's Mariner was forced to wear the Albatross that he needlessly killed.  Honestly, I doubt that I am cursed, but it has been a cruel coincidence that I've been out of action for the last two July's.

Thursday's I tried to get back to running, and it was a giant shit-show.  It wasn't as bad as Sunday's run, but that isn't saying much.   I ran the same course and just felt awful.  I was able to run 2.81 miles at something akin to a snails pace, and it hurt.  My lungs weren't as constricted as on Sunday, but they still didn't feel anything close to normal.  My legs were also garbage -- tight from inactivity and sore from laying about too much.  And, most distressing was my lack of energy.  I was completely fatigued after 2 miles and was only able to go farther because it was mainly downhill.

Now, I would be lying through my teeth if I said that getting sick and being unable to run hasn't led me to suffer some minor bouts of depression, but mentally I feel like I am handling it alright.  I've had the flu before, but it that was during my sedentary life, and I wasn't effected by the lingering effects of the flu beyond the annoying lingering cough.  But, now so much of my inner well being is tied to running and being active that I am keenly aware of linger physical toll that a bout with the flu can take on the body.  I have been reading lost of articles about post flu symptoms and recovery, and everything that I am going through is normal.  Although I am still tempted to get down on myself for being lazy, I know that this is physical and not mental.  I need to give my body time to recover.  This is nothing compared to the effects of mono or my concussion, both of which took over six months to pass, so with some patience, I'll be back at it in time to start my training for the half.  But for now, July needs to be endured.

Do any of you have a bad luck month where injuries or illnesses always seem to strike?

Monday, July 11, 2011

It's a Long Way . . . : 7/10

I have for the most part shaken off the flu that laid me out From June 30th until July 9th (Bon Scott's Birthday).  The biggest issue with this flu is that it has been the coughing.  The fever, cold chills, and body pain passed after the first 24 hours, but the chest constriction and deep coughing have lasted and are still issues.  My body is also really sore from spending so much time in bed, and my energy level is very low, but I was detirmined to run on Sunday.

I knew that it was going to be a suckfest, but it had to be done.  Therefore, I chose to run the first two miles on trails, which would force me to go slow and keep me in the shade.  In total, I was going to cover 4 miles, but I doubted that I would be able to run more than halfway.  Still, I was hopeful that running would help to loosen up the crud that I am still coughing up.  The cough main comes at night, but it was certain that running would bring in out, I just didn't know if the cough would be so sever as to stop me from running out right.

I ran really . . . really slow from the start and could feel that my energy level was still off a ton from where it had been prior to the flu.  My legs were stiff and hating me for forcing them to run, but I pushed myself to keep going.  I had deliberately avoided the gym and the treadmill because I knew that this feeling would have forced me to quit before it was necessary.  Since I was running outside, I knew I would continue to run farther because I would be forced to walk back from where ever I stopped.

The first mile just sucked, but I wasn't coughing as much as I had expected, nor was I wheezing, which I had feared, but as I ran my lungs began to get tighter and tighter causing me to have difficulty catching my breath.  I didn't feel like I was choking, but it wasn't a comfortable feeling by any measure.  By the second mile my legs felt better, but I was just running out of gas across the board.  My lungs weren't burning, and the tightness didn't seem to be in my bronchial area but from my back where a doctor would put their stethoscope when they listen to you breathe.   I had been coughing up crude all through the run, sweating like a fiend, my nose was running -- I was just a disgusting mess.  My nose, throat and sinuses hadn't had any problems throughout this flu, so looking on the bright side my runny nose was just the formal runny nose that I get when running and not some flu fueled monster. 

By the end of the second mile, I had reached the end of the trail and was coming onto the utility road, and I had nothing left.  I had to stop running.  If it had just been either my lack of energy or the tightness of my lungs, I may have been able to continue, but the combination was just too . . . too much.  I walked most of the way back to the parking lot except for a time when I was being attacked by a monster Horse fly that was determined to add to my difficulties. 

I am glad to have done this first run back, but I can't deny that it was so rough that I am questioning the wisdom of it.  I had been running really well and feeling great before this flu, but I am not going to complain about it because I am just thankful that I got it at a time when it will not interfere with my Marathon training.  I know that this type of respiratory ailment will take time to recover from, but I refuse to get discouraged at this point and will just take it slowly.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

On the Shelf: 6/28 to ???

Hiroko and I went to Toning Class last Tuesday and during class I began to have a bit of a cough.  Later that night, my cough turned into a cold.  By Wednesday morning, a fever had set in and it was apparent that I had the flu.  Wednesday was crazy bad, fever, joint pain, wretched cough, delusions about ganache recipes (Random and odd).  Thursday was better, but Friday was worse and I felt very weak.  Throughout the weekend, I kept thinking that I would surely feel better the next day, only to be disappointed.  Everything has gotten better except for a persistent hacking cough that keeps me up all night.  I went to the doctors, and am now on tons of meds (the even gave me an inhaler!), but the cough is still here.  I've lost over 7 pounds since I have been sick just from the fever, night sweats, lack of appetite.  Last night, I coughed so much that I strained my next and gave myself a headache.  I won't be running or working out until I get this sorted out; however, I can't imagine it lasting much longer.  I am trying to look at this in a positive manner but being sick just sucks . . . and being sick in the summer is even worse.  Yuck!