A First

Just when you think you have things under control, life can twist into a knot and wrap you right in the middle.

Things have been going well: I’m running again, I’m feeling strong; I’m rested. But, I’ve also been fighting a cough – nothing serious but enough for me to err on the side of caution. So, yesterday morning, in the sub-zero temperatures, I headed out for a 6K run instead of the 10K that I planned. Last night, my cough was sitting on top of my lungs, threatening to dive down deeper. Being someone who has at least one good bout of bronchitis every year, I knew this was not good.

When I got up this morning, I decided to be proactive and see my doctor. And, as luck would have it, I learned his office is closed for another week. Now I knew a week would be too long, so I headed to a walk-in clinic.

I filled the doctor in on my symptoms, my history of bronchitis (and recent history of pneumonia) and concern that this might brew into something stronger if I didn’t do something.

“Are you a smoker?” she asked.

A smoker?! I’ve been called many things and referred to in many different ways (after all, I am a teacher), but I have never, ever been thought of as a smoker. “No,” I wanted to answer, “I sound like this because I’m sick.” Or perhaps I should have told her that I was developing a sexy bar voice for New Year’s Eve. Instead, I quietly shook my head no. But if looks could kill, they would have.

That did, though, get me riled up enough that I was successfully able to convince her that I needed an antibiotic. “What do you usually take?” she asked. Now I was beginning to think that she doubted that I have ever been sick. I prescribed myself biaxcin and headed out.

One dose later, I’m already starting to feel better. In fact, I got on the bike tonight for 40 minutes of fairly strong cycling. If it warms up, I might even feel like running tomorrow.

The message of this story: If I didn’t have running goals for the next few months, I probably would have ignored the coughs and discomfort and continued on. But as a runner, I train my body for a task and, over time (and don’t ask how long), I have learned to listen to it. I just knew that if I did nothing, I would be sick, sick, sick in the next two weeks – and that would interfere with my plans. I didn’t want that; I wanted control.

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