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Running Sick: How My 6 Miles Triggered the Apocalypse

To run sick or not to run sick.

I’ve got some sort of chest infection. Whole family’s got it down to the rodents. (No Joke)

I am always getting sinus infections and respiratory infections. I have resigned to the fact that I will die of a lung related illness or pneumonia in the hospital after I go there to get a mole removed.  Shortness of breath is perhaps the second most terrifying feeling second to chest pain. It sounds a bit like Fred Sanford, but I know it’s coming.  

"This is the big one, Elizabeth! I’m coming to join you!”

I want to run, but I don’t want to get worse. What the hell to do?

Most any run I take even while sick, I feel better during the run. Once I get warmed up, it will be the best I feel all day. Relief!  I may shoot some bigger snot rockets and cough up some demon sized phlegm, but it’s the best temporary medicine for what ails me.  This continues for the rest of the day.

Ah, but the next morning it all changes. I wake up the neighbors with raspy coughs and weird things come forth. Dead mice, hair balls, lung tissue.

It seems that running pushes the infection deeper. Like my rapid breath has circulated the virus and my boiling blood was just the incubator where the evil infection is able to reproduce to a more powerful strain.  I’m worse for the wear. But hey, I’ve added to my weekly mileage.

Being sick can be more nagging than an injury, and cause an annoying delay in training. I’m already plenty behind for the New York City Marathon on November 4th.

The “neck” rule about running sick is it’s okay to do if you’re sick above the neck but not below.  From a Runner’s World article:  

 David Nieman, Ph.D., who heads the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University, and has run 58 marathons and ultras, uses the "neck rule." Symptoms below the neck (chest cold, bronchial infection, body ache) require time off, while symptoms above the neck (runny nose, stuffiness, sneezing) don't pose a risk to runners continuing workouts.
Like most rules, I tend to break them to suit my needs, so I’m sliding it down from the neck to my waist.  I don’t feel any bit of sick from my size 32’s down to my shoes, so I suspect I will be doing at least a few miles this weekend, and then dragging myself to the doctor for some antibiotics on Monday.
 Of course, by then, I will have brewed up the most powerful strain of black bubonic superflu critters in my lungs.  I suspect my coughing will infect some medical staff, who will then go home to their families with hugs and kisses.  This will lead to an apocalyptic explosion of deaths and despair from the super virus we have all been fearing.  I will be Patient Zero, first to have the infection. All because I chose to take a run.

Better make those miles worth it.


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